3D print time

hey gang, I have (literally) 10 mins until the last tram leaves so i’ll be brief.

The 3D printer is WORKING LIKE A DREAM. I’ve been able to print out various trinkets, test objects, bits of junk… and now finally some real objects.

Below are some images that I’ve been taking as I print various things out. I haven’t been documenting this stuff as thoroughly as the shoemaking as 50% of the things I print are shit, or I stop them half way etc. These are some of the more successful attempts.

First prints of 1:1 heels


I have modelled up a last in 3D studio MAX (and also another better version in Rhino) and this is one of the many heel shapes that I have been working on. This shows my plans for an interlocking cantilever / wedge component that allows me to have more severe angles on the front edge of the heel and retain strength.

As I have the shoe last modelled, it’s easy to print out mini 1:2 scale shoes!

the rough textured ‘cage’ on this model is the support structure that the printer creates to hold up thin or overhanging components. It snaps off easily as it’s not actually attached to the object, just sitting 1mm away from it all over.


This is one of my ideas for a heel / wedge with a cavity. Much easier to test this way than making one from cork.

I’ve also printed out some even smaller 1:4 scale shoes. These will probably evolve into keyrings to come free with the shoes when they’re for sale.


A collection of bits and pieces on my shelf…


This pic shows a little of how the software saves materials. It prints a ‘shell’ of the object, then fills it with a set percentage of volume, in this case 10%, so the final object is more like a honeycomb filled easter egg than a solid plastic chunk. You can set it to do 100% infill, but in most cases other than a structural part that’s just a waste of time and resources.

Today I printed out a 1:1 insole shape from my 3D model to test for fit.

It looks like I need to adjust some curves across the bottom plane of the last so the insole isnt touching on the high spot at the ball of the foot, but the scale is correct. woooo. Next up is a snug fitting insole, then from there it’s pretty easy to make up a snug fitting platform… and that’s where the crazy stuff starts happening.

 


Nerdstation.


another shot of the 10% infill idea + this one has a ‘raft’ at the bottom that makes the model stick to the base more evenly.

…and lastly, some actual prototypes for a local design firm, printed out for client presentations.
I’ll be selling print time soon, at something like $50 an object, unless its massive, then that’ll be $100. The price DOESN’T include me doing any 3D modelling, it just involves me receiving your print-ready STL file, setting it up to print at the most efficient settings, and then tidying it up at the end + plastic used.

If’ you’re interested, let me know.

Next non-shoe project up is making / printing some accessories for Christina Exie’s fashion show in Sydney! We’ll be up there for fashion week, swanning around, being scenesters.

ROCK ON.

Exie! She Won! The secret is out…

Ok, after a MASSIVE few months here at D&B I have finally put aside some time to get back to what we all love around here… long winded posts about shoe making!

I’ll start with the big news in case anyone missed it – I made the shoes for Christina Exie’s collection as a finalist in Project Runway Australia and last night she was declared the winner! (I’ll stop with the exclamation marks now as they’ll get tiresome) … she wins a buttload of stuff, cash, a car, fabric and also the oppurtunity to show a collection at Sydney Fashion Week early next year, so providing she is still in Australia and not whisked away to international stardom you should all keep an eye out for that.

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/luck-lies-and-late-nights-project-runway-winner-reveals-secrets-20121218-2bkct.html

So, as promised to a few people, here’s the lowdown on how / what Dani and I did during October when we kind of dropped completely off the radar for all friends and family. This will be a long one, so get comfy.

We met Christina in our studio earlier this year when she was looking for studio space, she is friends and has exhibited with Katia who has a spot in our room. None of the spaces we had available were the right size for what she wanted to do – which turns out was to create a collection of some sorts in the hope that she would get to exhibit it after Project Runway was over… as she was eliminated towards the end and only brought back in at the last moment as a wildcard entry.We kept in touch as she seemed to have a great eye for style (and she liked my scary black shoes) so we tossed around the idea of working together in the future…

… and then at the start of November she emailed me to ask if I was interested in making her some shoes to go with her collection, even though it was the end of the year. Thus began stage one.


We discussed ideas, she wanted elastic sided boots, and this was the closest design I had to what she wanted. Luckily, being a designer herself she appreciated that I had ideas of my own and she wasn’t asking me to just make a knock off of something she saw in a shop.


This is the old prototype that we looked at and decided to work from…


So I sewed up a quick black version, glued on a heel and then started with my Photoshop skillllzzz…


et voila! As requested, a “virtual” black boot, 40mm platform, 5 inch (125mm) heel for maximum runway model awesomeness, the inclusion of a nickel buckle as per her collection and a few ideas of how we could include the red and beige that featured in her clothes. I added in the chrome front piece as it seemed to need something to break up the big fat front section.

After we had agreed on a style, she had received word that she should be putting together a collection ‘just in case’ she was needed back on the show, and that’s when things got serious.
I got cracking on production of 10 PAIRS OF SHOES that were due in 3 to 4 weeks. Ouch. Oh, and we didn’t know what sizes to make them as she wasn’t at the stage of choosing models. Grrreeeat.

I made some calls and my best fashion pal Keita at Pronto Productions (who produced the runway shows for MSFW this year) let me know that most Melbourne models are an 8 or 9, so we made the executive decision to just make 8, 8.5 and 9s and hope that the models had squishable toes or thick socks……


stage one… make up a test pair.¬† 12 October.
Realise your pattern is wrong, remake.
Repeat 5 times or more.
Vow to be more careful when designing patterns and less adventurous.
Ignore that and continue to make shoes that “look good” no matter how hard they are to sew together.


Good ol’ leather detail photos (its been a while!)


realising that zips, suede, full grain leather and linings are hard to join all in one place…


but we got there… hellllooooo black boot #1.


A quick mockup to send photos to Christina. Happy comments received, everyone is happy.
Little did i know what was in store for me over the next 3 weeks….


After getting to this stage, and making ANOTHER test pair to further resolve the pattern I had an inkling that sewing all of these myself was a bit of a recipe for disaster. I sew ok, but I’m slllloowwww, whereas Emma Greenwood is a sewing guru and loves a good challenge, so I proposed she sew them for me at a nice and rewarding hourly rate whilst I got to work on other things.


… stuff like this was doing my head in. Straps meeting zips, things turning inside out. Its a mind bender.


the chosen 3 sizes all taped up for making a full set of patterns. If i was passing the sewing on to Emma I had to do a good, clear job of all patterns, none of my usual “front bit” naming conventions and “this bit longer than the other side” random notes.


… being much smarter than me, Emma also dropped a casual “will you be cutting the leather out?” and I was all “yeah, no worries, I’ll do it tonight…”

…4 hours later I was done. Thats half a day cutting things. Jeezus.
As you can see I had to go for maximum hide yield rather than the preferred symmetry and ‘only the nice bits’ rule, hence some of these shoes being a bit old-person-wrinkly in parts.


all sewn up and delivered…


…and 3 test “first pullovers”. Happy days.


Look at that sewing! Fuck, she is good. 20 uppers sewn in one day, neat as a pin. Worth every dollar.


The uppers start to pile up. Each one of these shoes took a few hours to last, and then there was the matter of me only having ONE SET OF LASTS, so I could only make 3 pairs at a time, then I had to pull them off the lasts and start again.


… another lifesaver from Emma was the introduction of heat set toepuffs. Being a hack with no formal experience or training I just make things up and didnt really know how to get or use this stuff. She showed me how, it works perfectly and takes 30 seconds. Amazing.


Alas, by this stage my 3D printer had not yet arrived, so I had to make my platforms the old skool way.
Lots of measurements, MDF, cork and PVA = two master forms to make resin from.
Those compound curves are a BITCH to get to work, but it worked out in the end.


I love PVA. It’s so handy. Filling up gaps here…


so with a whole night’s work silicone moulding this is what I got.


… and once that pink thing is filled with Polyurethane, you get production ready bits!


Dani snuck a sneaky shot of me scowling at a shoe. All of the other photos I’m scowling even more and look like a right grumpy bastard, so this one will do.


Thanks to my wifey’s connections we got a stamp made up at the last minute of my logo.
Have I shown this off before? Dunno, if not, there it is. Courtesy of NICK LEWIS.

oh, and I have a website sort of up now too > http://www.stevenphillips.com.au/


Here’s my #1 girl working away at some stupid hour. By this stage I was a tired panicked mess, Dani stayed to help me through another 12 hour day.


… she wrapped platforms and got hiiiiiigh on glue.


heels starting to stack up on the shelf…


DIY cast resin taps for the bottom of the heels. This resulted in Dani getting a 2 week rash on her arms.
She is allergic to resin fumes. ooooops. :(


Stamped stuff… looking legit.


Hardcore resin supplies. Audrey and I lament ever getting in to resin casting.
We spend $200 a time at Barnes (casting supplies) and $300 a time at Leffler (leather) like it’s no big thing.
We have discussed opening a shop called “Leather ‘n Resin”.. it would indeed be lucrative, but mostly because the name rolls off the tongue so easily.


Outsoles pre-cut. I used Topy to make them as non-slip as possible. Leather is nice, but a bit scary when you’re walking down a gloss white runway on 5″ heels.


Making shoooooooeeeees…..


So many shoes.


Here’s a quick shot I took at midnight the day before the deadline day….


Resin workstation.


Finished models on the bench.


More to go yet… cork inserts for comfort.


more done…


Production line, the day of the deadline…


Faster! Faster!

So ONE NIGHT before the deadline (by then she knew she was back in the final 4) I was madly glueing and stamping the final shoes and had entered a total state of tired / wired delerium. I dropped them off at her house, she was just as tired and spaced out as me and we crossed our fingers that her clothes and my shoes would look good together… and nothing would break.


so at 9pm, the night before the show, here we are…. 20 pairs all ready to go.


I wanted to take more photos but honestly I was texting Christina at 10 min intervals with “almost, gimme a minute” then “yep, heading out the door” then “yep, ACTUALLY heading out the door now”…

Dani and I got to go to the filming of the Runway show which was pretty fun, but we were so tired and nervous that neither of us got to pay too much attention to the clothes, our eyes were on the shoes thinking “shoes please dont break, dont fall over girls” over and over again. The show was a success, and as we know now SHE WON THE DAMN SHOW.

Stupidly Dani and I went to the wrong venue and missed the after party (derrrrrrrrr) but all is well that ends well, and this has ended as well as it possibly could have.

So what’s next you ask? SLEEEEEP and LOTS OF IT.

Our pop up shop is still open, we’re selling stuff right up until xmas eve, so come on in and buy cool stuff.
It will make me happy.

January plans you ask?

Making lots of stuff with my new 3D printing NerdStation…

Crazy stuff like this 6″ heel. Fuck yes, that is cool.

and finally doing some more work on this bucket of bolts, that is now registered.

Plans are to lower it so it scrapes on the road, paint it matte charcoal grey instead of green and get some whitewall tyres…

kind of like this, cool huh?
oh, and get ready for Black Sabbath concert that I have tickets for. Yesssssssssss.

So, that completes another blog entry showing that I am a confusing mix of heavy metal bogan /redneck, and sexy shoe aficionado.

Keeps things interesting I guess….

Until next time – MERRY CHRISTMAS! THANKS FOR READING! COME TO OUR SHOP!!!

http://www.quickanddead.com/

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

 

Ho-leee shiiit…

A month? Already? In fact a month + a week? God damn, sorry followers!
October has been STUPID busy for Dani and I, so we have neglected our blog, our plants and our friends all in the quest for the big dream. What’s been going on you say?

- Dani has been making goodlyGOLD items in bulk with her new assistant/pal Alicia and there are a bunch of new stockists coming soon.

- She has produced a limited edition range of jewellery exclusively for LIFEwithBIRD which is pretty exciting as she loves their clothing.

- There have also been a bunch of fuck-ups with her suppliers sending the wrong thing, plating necklaces in the wrong stuff… that sort of thing… the stuff that makes everything just a little bit more painful than it needs to be.

- I have taken on the challenge of making 10 PAIRS of crazy high heels for a high profile runway show that is coming in 2 weeks. I’m not allowed to say any more than that, but when it’s done and shown dont you worry, I’ll be talking about it as much as possible.

- This has also involved me getting the most awesome Emma Greenwood on board to sew the 20 uppers I need. The decision was made that my nerves are a bit shaky and my stress levels a bit high for me to pull of 2 days of sewing and expect good results. Emma knocked them up in an afternoon and they’re perfect. She rulez.

- I am now knee deep in resin molds, leather uppers and nails trying to get them all made. Looks achievable, so lets keep our fingers crossed.

* if you want to see update pics of the shoe stuff as I do it, follow us on Instagram DEADANDBURIED – that would also explain the crap photos this month, no time for good cameras.
or just spy on us here if you (understandably) don’t use instagram > http://web.stagram.com/n/deadandburied/

- I am also working 3 days a week AND doing extra 3d stuff at night to pay for…..

….wait for it…..

…yep…

MY NEW 3D PRINTER THAT I HAVE BOUGHT THAT ARRIVES NEXT WEEK!!!!

A top of the line Replicator2 is coming my way (as seen on the cover of Wired magazine this month) which will mean I can finally print out crrrrraaazzzzyyyyy 3d parts and get my ideas realised. I have had to sell some musical gear but hell, who cares when you have a black bad assed printer on the desk?

This is part of a bigger push to restructure my shoe brand idea from ‘hobby’ to a Jimmy Choo level business, so 2013 is shaping up to be fucking busy.

Oh, and extra thanks goes to my dad who, as you do, just finished the restoration of my vw and got it registered for me last week (mainly so I get it the hell out of his driveway). So, when I get a free hour one day I’ll go pick it up and be crusing the streets in this rocket.

Apologies to anyone we’ve forgotten to call back / have dinner with / answer your emails. We’re busy, it sucks, but it’s what it takes to make it alllll happen.

We are having another Quick and the Dead pop up shop too this year, so keep an eye out for info on that in the next week or so. If you make things and want to sell stuff that is in the gift-buying price bracket ($50 – $100) then get in touch with us!

ps. if you’re reading this Madeline, that’s why I haven’t been in touch again, oops, I’ll email you soon!

Steve

Audrey Thomas-Hayes – Luxe: “Live”

Hey gang, I just wanted to post some photos up here of Audrey’s work before I forget to do so…

As you may remember, she has been dropping by the studio every now and then for advice and encouragement as she works on her final year collection at RMIT Fashion. She previously was interning with Roberts & Hassett, but the guys there noted that she was probably a bit too “avante garde” in her ideas to be learning from their hand-sewn ultra-traditional ways.

James introduced us, and I have been giving her tips on resin casting, machining, power tool safety… all the old man / dad sort of things that come out in me when someone asks for help.

She has been a bit of a powerhouse of productivity thought, as she just exhibited her own preview collection of shoes, made shoes for another student’s exhibition AND worked on shoes for a runway outfit. Thumbs up to that.

These first lot are her own shoes, exhibited under the Luxe: “Live” moniker, if you go over to her site > http://cargocollective.com/audreythomashayes < you can read the explanation of the name and ideas.


rather than paint the buckles, I encouraged her to make a silicone mould and cast her own… too easy.


These started as “sneakers” and gradually morphed over many design changes into fur lined boots with clear heels…


… which have mini diamond shapes in them to hide any obvious means of attaching them.


Diamonds on the soles of your feet anyone?


Oh… and why not throw some GLOW IN THE DARK powder in when casting resin parts? Awesome.


On display as part of MSFW with live modelling.


Under UV light…


… which makes elastic glow like crazy.

She also put these together for Bernadette Francis, they’re part of a collection that is inspired by sound, and these shoes will have a Theremin integrated into the sole / pant leg so that you buzz and whirrrr as you walk around.


The boot is part of the pant, which is part of the jumpsuit… hence the entire outfit in a bag.


unpicked and re-sewn rand.


as-much-glitter-as-possible resin heels.

… I will also add a shout out to Katia from our studio who made the jewellery+ some ornamentation for Bern’s show


Bits like this…


…sewn on on to this dress, and attached to headpieces. Beautiful work.

So, that’s the sort of thing that has been coming out of our studio lately. Dani and I are very happy to see that we’re helping Melbourne fashion be a bit more awesome. So much more to come over the next year!

*image above from Meagan Harding Photography

MSFW week – New Shoes and Runway shows

 

Well it’s Friday again, another week gone, but for once I have new work to show rather than just excuses and moaning about time wasting.

I will pop up a post next week about Audrey’s shoes and exhibition that I gave her some help with here and there, but if you’re interested here the link to the website : http://luxelive.tumblr.com/
The shoes she produced are great, and they made me realise I need to making more stuff instead of just talking about it and assisting others.

So on that note, here’s this week’s story…..

Tuesday : Get complimentary tickets to the RMIT fashion show at MSFW. Woo.

Wednesday : Have a lacklustre day, Dani and I both were tired, mid-week slump. Not much work done. We leave the studio to walk home (we live close enough to walk home now! yesssss) and Dani notes that she has nothing “fashionable” to wear the the runway show, and we have no money for new clothes. I drop the old “well, I could make you new shoes tomorrow?”

Thursday : Arrive at 10am and IMMEDIATELY get to work on making a complete pair of heels for Dani to wear THAT NIGHT TO A FASHION EVENT. Seems I only work when there is an impossible deadline.

Here are the pics, with time stamps so you can see how intense yesterday was.


10.12am – Insoles prepared (not using my resin ones, no time to cast new parts today)


10.19am – Breaking out a new pack of suede…


10.20am – taking photos of leather for no reason.


10.34am – measurements and patterns from prototype shoe


12.50pm – 2 hours have passed… patterns cut, edges skived and rolled, insoles semi-wrapped


1.10pm – Top of the list of “things I didnt think i’d be doing at 32 years old” = hand beading sequins on to shoe pieces.


1.49pm – Uppers assembled, sequins attached


3pm – sewing almost done + lining attached. One hour lost due to having to pull apart older prototype shoes for heels to recycle.


4.13pm – Lasting begins. Panic starts.


4.14 – Questioning why I am taking photos at this point when I have deadlines to meet.

4.20pm – Nick Lewis comes to visit. I pretty much ignore him. I apologise for that Nick.


5.41pm – lasted, heels and platforms attached. Gold details added


5.51 – heels screwed on, fingers crossed they hold.


6.10pm – First try on. Good fit, panic has subsided.


6.11 – Dani swans around. I take photos.


6.19pm – Proof. 10 minutes to be at MSFW for runway show.


6.45pm – Show time!!

… so that was exhausting, but a nice way to convince myself that this is all possible.

Today we’re off to look at some static MSFW exhibitions, then to see a film about Lanvin. Nice.

REPOST #2 : Janina Alleyne

These aren’t my work, but got damn they’re nice…



With my 3D printer currently on a holiday at my cousin’s house (who I should mention STUDIED ROBOTICS at university, why I didnt consult him earlier I’ll never know) hopefully to return in actual working order once he irons out a few issues – I’m looking forward to later this year when instead of reading about cutting edge stuff like this whilst at my office job, I can actually be making it.

I do realise that the ‘entirely printed shoe’ thing is a bit unrealistic and fanciful, the idea of printing and replicating most of the parts of a shoe will mean cost effective outrageous stuff like this will be possible within a few years. Exciting!

Check out this link for more info here :

http://www.core77.com/blog/flotspotting/and_now_3d-printed_stilettos_exoskeleton_collection_by_janina_alleyne_22854.asp#more

and here :

http://www.coroflot.com/janinaalleyne/Exoskeleton-3D-printed-shoes

New shoe(s)

Hey peoples, another week has passed and as I hoped for, my mood has lifted significantly since last week’s grumpiness. Watching some stuff online, achieving some minor milestones and the cyclical retreat of bad moods/depressive thoughts has put me back in the zone somewhat.

Katia posted this bit of awesome recently and it got me reinvigorated…

http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/13334/1/exclusive-alexander-mcqueen-aw12-backstage-film

I decided that I should get back to the bench and make a pair of shoes this week instead of living in theoretical / design / pricepoint land, in the hope it would spark a bit of “oh yeahhh, thats why I wanted to make shoes”, and it worked.

Although, I will also note that from now on my posts about shoemaking will become a little bit more guarded, not too much, but as my shoes start to really LOOK like what I will be launching as a range, I think it will ruin the suprise for everyone if half finished mockups are on here every 2 days. I’ll still post about the processes, just not the finished shapes and designs as much.

So, here’s some quick pictures from the last week’s worth of work :


working on more resin parts with my trusty new digital scales


seems there is lots of maths involved in designing super-heels.
Note that this geometry is wrong, I was testing out some ideas, the real shoes wont kick up that much at the front (if any shoemakers are out there reading and going “what the hell is he doing?”)


tricky stuff, getting a silicone mould of a locking part, then recasting it in resin. perfect accuracy!


a fresh batch of castings


steamed and pressed insole unit. 100% handmade. With cushioning allowances.


underside of my resin insole unit. Will be neater when I get the 3D printed ones made.


a quick bit of relief casting for some test run ball-of-the-foot soft rubber padding inserts.


… and my newest all-made-in-house shoe! Cant show any pics of it until i’m ready to shoot it properly / or launch the range.
It has a 130mm heel, a 30mm platform, and looks beautiful, look out Kirkwood and Louboutin, I’m on my way.

Listening to : Random songs, getting ready for the road trip to Sydney, burning mix-tape cds for the non-ipod car trip!

Plastic Fantastic

Hey gang, I’m almost back to life after a pretty exhausting (and a little bit scary) bout of pneumonia. A trip to the emergency ward + a week of solid couch lounging has left another big hole in the production schedule for my now 6-months-overdue shoe label launch, but things are looking up.

Before my health all went to shit I had just managed to get my second plastic component made and I thought I’d share a little of that process with you while I have an afternoon here at home with nothing much else to do.

If you’re just tuning in now for the first time, here’s a quick refresher.
I am finding it increasingly difficult to source ‘traditional’ and/or industrial standard components here in Melbourne, particularly in the sizes and quantities I would need to make full size runs of what are still essentially bespoke shoes. It seems possible to order things by the pallet-load, or one at a time, but when I need 60? That’s where the problem starts.
That coupled with my Industrial Design background and general stubbornness has led me to a point where I’ve decided to batch manufacture my own components. Yep.

So, below is a bit of a peek in to how I have so far gone about creating my own plastic heels, details and insole units. These will serve as prototypes for me to test strength / wear life  / etc / etc before I make some final ones with designed details, logos, leather allowance and all that jazz.

HEEL + CRESCENT CANTILEVER DETAIL


To begin with, I used the wooden heel that I had carved earlier for the buckles-and-straps burgundy prototype. This heel is 5 inches high at the back edge (awesome) and is partnered up with a 1.5 inch platform = mega height, but still some wear-ability. I marked the centre points for a different moulding idea as seen below…


… but this design didnt work. I filled the bottle with silicon, cut out the heel, taped it all back together and filled the cavity with resin.
The problem was that the area needing most detail and accuracy is the top, and this mould always ended up with bubbles and/or not enough plastic filling the mould = too many failed parts.


So I revisited the idea (and YouTube) and decided to go for a more coffin-like mould seeing as my parts have a flat surface. This would still work with curves, it would just mean having to build up some supports from plasticine. To make the most of each resin pour I also snuck in a little crescent shaped detail I hope to use as a heel support.


All clamped up and ready to go.

NOTE! make sure you plug ALL THE LEAKS AROUND THE BASE… one leak like I had = silicon oozing out all afternoon.


The finished mould and recovered master parts.
For this process I used RTV-2 Silicone Rubber from Barnes in Richmond.


Mould detail, showing some locating pilot holes I drilled in to the wood so that I can mount each heel in the same spot with a template rather than having to guess each time. A stitch in time saves nine!


Next step, fillin’ it up! After a quick conversation with the staff at Barnes we decided that a rigid Polyurethane seemed the best option for prototyping. It has a low odour, pours well, is the least toxic of the resins they sell and would give me a strong part that is less brittle than the harder Polyester or Epoxy resins.
Brittle will probably = shattering when pressure is applied.
For these parts I have been using TC-808 78 Shore D Urethane from Barnes


So although these are quite heavy, they are essentially a super-super-hard rubber which means they should bend before they break. The final production run may be from something else once I have refined the process and spoken more to the resin suppliers around town.

I have also purchase a light weight filler, which are tiny tiny hollow balls (like sand) that you can add to resins to reduce their mass, which reduces their weight. The payoff is that the more you add, the more likely to crack apart like compacted sand your part is… I will have to test some varying ratios.


Badly focused detail shot.

So that’s where the heel tests are at. I can mould a new part each hour, and that’s fine for my production levels. Next up is to make a master form for a resin platform.

INSOLE EXPERIMENTS

With some success under my belt with the heels, I decided to try to solve one of my last conundrums, that of how to get hold of insole / shank / shankboard components to match my lasts WITHOUT having to either outsource production (minimum order numbers), go down the path of pressing my own (needing metal moulds, pneumatic pressure, steam etc) or trying to order pre-made ones whenever I needed them and hoping they fit.

A chat with my pal Luke who works in a plastics manufacturing plant got us thinking moulding plastic components might not only answer my short order run needs, but it would allow me to design the heel + insoles as one product. This meant I can design a system for attaching the two (even if it’s just perfectly aligned pilot holes for screws) that would again save me time in the long run.


Step 1 was to attach a metal shank to the last in the place I intend it to be used in the final piece. By thinking a few steps ahead it makes things easier later on.


Next up I wrapped a fat piece of wet veg tanned leather over the last, in the same way that I would go about making an all-leather insole unit.


When the veg tan dried it had formed perfectly to the last bottom, with an indent from the shank pre-formed into the upper surface.

I then coated the veg tan with clear lacquer to give it some surface hardness and to smooth it out as much as possible.


This one I moulded similar to the first (bottle) technique shown at the top, only in a container I had made from foamcore. As recommended by YouTube vids I cut out the leather part using a waving / random carving path to minimise the likelihood of the resin leaking back out.


As you can see, the shank indentation is still there, which will make locating it later dead easy.


This technique requires you to cut out a pouring spout afterwards and most importantly, a vent beside the spout which allows the trapped air to escape as you fill the cavity, rather than needing to escape via bubbles.


Cut out pouring spout on the left, vent on the right.


And there you go… two resin parts fresh out of the mould at 1 hour intervals.


Detail shots. You can see the shank position – the spout and vent will be cut off.


Exact 1:1 replica in Polyurethane.


A quick test of dropping in a shank. I’m not sure yet if the shank will be necessary, and if it is I might look at making one from carbon fibre or something else that is readily obtained, instead of shanks, which I have to get from shoe-specific suppliers.

This part will be glued to a leather or leatherboard (texon) insole, and then the padding foam or gel will be attached to the top of that. Seems a stupid idea to make high-end hand made shoes and NOT fill them with foams and rubber to make them nice and comfortable. You never know, these might actually be comfortable 5″ heels!!

So, that was a lot of typing, but I think it’s worth sharing these ideas. With an industry dying like ours is it would be a shame if future shoe designers weren’t able to make their own things here in Melbourne if they (stupidly) insist on it – like I am.

Listening to : Gravediggaz – 6 Feet Deep

Virtual Shoemaking

Well, I’ve always insisted I wasn’t going to do it, but the time has come to give in to the lure of the 3D modelling virtual shoe world.

The only reason I was trying NOT to get too nerdy with this stuff was a fear that I’d spend 57 hours a week in my spare room on a computer, and somehow classify that as a craft. As a bit of justification for the jump back in to the digital realm (not that I need to justify anything, but I may as well) … a few conversations lately have lead to me decide that if I’m going to release a range of shoes that are worthy of a high price point and a super level of exclusivity – dictated by my personal involvement in their construction, and thus high labour costs – they may as well have all the bells and whistles I can possibly muster up.

So this week I am looking in to custom digitally printed fabrics to integrate with the leather uppers, and it was pretty obvious that ‘guessing’ what pattern goes where, and what scale / orientation / colour to use would be a never ending task if using actual fabric samples. I have modelled up my chosen last in 3D, knocked up some quick indicative geometry for the rest of the components and now I can get to work on laying out patterns and colour combos much faster than using the ol’ textas.

I will also be pushing the limits a bit with my heel and platform shapes, so having 3D digital models = direct rapid prototype prints = much better results than my hand carved ones.

Things can get pretty crazy in a short amount of time….

With that mini milestone under my belt I’m off in to the city to meet another new shoemaker in the making to see what she is planning on doing. Exciting.

Enjoy the sunshine today if you’re in Melbourne (and I assume the snow if you’re in the northern hemisphere) and Happy Valentines Day.

Rhino Time-o

(you know, sometimes I wish this website DIDN’T have a “title” box, so I’d feel less inclined to make a pun about pretty much every post I make. Sigh.)

Anyhoot, the future is (sort of) here! I’ve just modelled up my first object in Rhino 4.0, which means I’m one step closer to being able to make brain-meltingly complicated heels, platforms and fittings for my shoes! Combined with my 3D printer and some resin casting skillz, there will be no end to the craziness that I can hang under a nicely sewn and lasted upper. All those hours of nerding really do come in handy at times.

So, here’s a screengrab of a ring design Dani has been tinkering with that she is going to try getting 3D printed and cast in silver this week. Awesome.

This post will probably also interest our studio crew (we need to come up with a name for our gang that isn’t naff, something like the DBC, or DBK if we use Krew? I will have to raise it at the next AGM) as both Katia and Amber were recently discussing 3D printing as a path they would like to take, so look out for more studio R & D over the next few months, especially once I get the RepRap in the room.

For a more traditional spin on replicating, I also made my first Urethane castings of a FAT 5″ heel this week so that I can start making prototypes that all look the same!

Lots more to do in terms of stregth and weight saving (they’re heavyyyyy) but it was pretty exciting to start to see custom made components appear each hour with the magic of Chemistry.

What else is there to talk about? We’re working a mega business plan and budget in the hope of getting some grants or funding for Stage 2 of the plan this year… so much typing!

Oh, and we heard today that the super cool and funky pants’ed studio buddy we were holding our breath for is moving in in March! Wooooop! So we’ll have a full house, jeweller gals all over the place, robots and fashion mags stacked to the ceiling. It’ll be like a little slice of heaven (note to self – book Dave Dobbin for the opening party to perform Slice of Heaven)

After a bit of a lull this weekend just gone, I’m feeling inspired again… and god help up us when I get my new Volkswagen next weekend, I’ll be like a kid in a big rusty candy shop!

Listening to : Die Antwoord’s new one TEN$ION. Its fuckin’ awesome.

Oh, and on top of our regular Tumblr account > http://deadburied.tumblr.com/ < I have started another personal one, but I’ll reveal all when it’s filled with funny.