It’s working!

It’s late again (after midnight) and I have to work tomorrow to make up for the ‘public holiday’ freelance lost wages situation, but we have liftoff!!!!

I managed to assemble, cover and attach my insole/heels and get my uppers pasted together for a rough, but very necessary for morale, ‘first pullover’.
These probably should be top secret still, but ah well, they look better in real life, so that is still a bonus for anyone coming over on the weekend… and if you’re a size 8, you can try them on ladies!



There is still lots of sewing to do, buckles to add, uppers to be lasted and a platform to make and cover with an outer sole, but that’s all details…. and seems like nothing now that they look like a pair of shoes



I must come clean and note that my leather dye job is proving to NOT be waterfast yet… a good soak in a bucket and it would be white again in a few days, but i’m assuming that is due to the leather being waterproofed. The dye has penetrated to the middle, but its not really hanging on to the fibres. Never fear though, I have been in touch with the Dharma Trading co. for their tips and help, and I have also been in contact with a few Australian leather merchants / tanneries to see if i can source nice colours here rather than shipping them in from Italy. But more on that as news develops.

For now I have ultra yellow suede that looks amazing, but might dye your feet in the rain… good enough for a prototype though.

Off to bed for me, and I’ll be back with more photos and more chatter later this week!


* we also made 8kg of homemade spicy sausages today for a bbq on the weekend, so i would have had more done if that wasn’t on the list. mmmm… sausages.

Listening to : 8 hours of solid iPod shuffling… so, you know, lots.

TwentyEleven – week Three

Not much text today… it’s late and i’m exhausted.
But for anyone wondering how the last week has gone, here’s a quick summary:

1. Designs > workshop.
2. Tape + Designs on lasts.
3. Batch production of insoles + modified lasts.
4. Tape patterns > cardboard patterns with sewing/lasting allowances.
5. Home Vat dyeing experiments (medium success, but some major letdowns, more on this later)
6. Vat/Saucepan dyed suede.
7. LASER CUTTING of prototype heel shapes = awesome. Like living in the future.
8. Assembled heel, pre-sanding.
9. Mockup of new heel + 20mm platform allowance = cool.

That’s all for today, more talking and more photos when I get a chance. Deadline is looming and I still have 2 or 3 pairs of shoes to construct yet…
Not bad for a week’s work that included 3 days at my real job!

Pandora’s Box

Ah, this whole “if I need it i’ll just make/learn/attempt it myself” tendency leads me down some tricky paths… Seems the missing part of my shoemaking toolbox isn’t a rasp, knife or hammer at the moment, it’s advanced 3D CAD modelling skills. Obviously.

No use having a geeky 3D printer half built on my desk, and no real way to make the 3D data it needs to print is there?

So, when there’s nothing much on TV on a Monday night why not throw on some tunes and LEARN how to use SolidWorks?
… and that’s where we are right now. 10.30pm and well into a bunch of tutorials that should have me modeling my own lasts/heels/buckles/Travis Bean castings** in no time.
It’s painfully nerdy, but (ehem) parametric modeling is a beautiful thing to behold on screen. Change a number and BAM, all your other dimensions are adjusted. It’s nuts.


SolidWorks –  this one’s not my model, but you get the idea.


**Travis Bean = Aluminium necked guitar (on the ‘one day i’ll make myself one’ list for my retirement)

There are also photos of my prototype shoe patterns to show, but they’re on the camera, and it’s out in the shed. Maybe tomorrow.

Day 2 of the designerizering went well – for those who asked – and I headed out to the shed on the weekend to tape / draw / trim and transfer the patterns for 2 of the 3 prototypes I hope to have ready for our housewarming/bbq in 2 weeks time! I have to source some vivid coloured leathers on Thursday to use, learn how to crochet/weave or something to make a patterned inlay for one of my designs, and then Friday I’m off to meet an old pal Chris Peters who has a Laser Cutting machine! AWESOME.

Rather than print / handmake the heels for my prototypes I’ll be getting Chris to cut up a whole lot of discs that I’ll stack up and shape into my exact specifications. They will be slightly heavier than if they’re made from plastic (I’m using MDF) but they’ll look the part until I get my plastic printer online. SO MUCH TO DO!!

Anyhoot, I’ll be back with photos and documentation later this week… because I love to talk, and you people are the perfect audience…. better than rattling on to strangers on the train.

Listening to : Prince – Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic

Shhhh….

Top Secret  and all that – but I am a bit excited, so fuck it..

The design process is working! It’s been a lonnnnng time since I designed stuff for real, with research and pens and markers, but it all came back to me, just like riding a bike.

So these are just the VERY EARLY preliminary small sketches I’ve been working on, plenty of refinement and style ‘signatures’ to be developed yet.
(OCD alert – I printed out pages and pages of very feint lined outlines of my lasts so my proportions would be just right, I’m no Manolo and I’m not a big fan of ‘designs’ that are more gestural than accurate. Once I’m done I might put up a PDF so you can all have fun drawing your own shoes?)



* apologies for the paranoid watermarking, dont want these to end up in someone else’s ‘folio’ *

Anyhoo, today is part 2 of design-fest 2011. I’ll be back with some more images + some prototypes as soon as possible! Woo!

Listening to – Ice T… and Jay Z … and NWA… and the rest of my 2000+ song Hip Hop playlist, psyche rock and metal is too distracting (I do too much air-drumming with my textas).

TwentyEleven – weeks One and Two

Hey Hey!


my sister rocking a christmas gift beach bag like a true champion.

The year is off to a flying start, with Dani and I printing out some MASSIVE calendars for each of our studio/rooms so that we can get to work on some serious time management and business planning. Being the stationary nerd that she is, Dani even bought us a new set of coloured Sharpies so that we can colour code our plans and lists. Bam. That’s how you get things done!

In an effort to not have another “as long as I do something shoe related each week it counts as shoemaking” year I have asked Dani to set me deadlines and enforce them with some sort of no internet or no drums/guitars punishment for slacking off. Goal #1 is to have a pair or more of shoes, that are actually / reminiscent of what I intend to sell, ready for a big birthday BBQ we have planned at the end of the month. So with 3 weeks to go I have lots to do! Designs, refinement, material choices… eeeek… then i have to make the damn things!

So, it’s late now and tonight isn’t going to yield much in the way of design genius, which means I may as well do this update and keep you all in the loop.

Weeks one and two of 2011 have so far produced the following : A new desk for shoe designing, a new ‘mood board’ for my inspiration, a test fitting of Lauren’s long-overdue raffle winning shoes and plenty of business lists and plans. I also managed to score some vintage shoe making tools from a local 2nd hand shop… rasps, edge shapers etc. I’ll post some photos next week.

| New Desk |

Q. How do you know if you have mild O.C.D?
A. You BUILD a desk  just to draw on, then photograph it in the making, then decorate it, then photograph it again, then post about it on your blog.

Seems my clippings gathering has lead me towards :
black/grey + red/yellow/orange + cyan/purple/turquoise + redhead girls + short haired girls +  more yellow + high, high, high heels.

So, that will be the style direction of my first range, and it will (at the moment) be aimed towards the archetypal Melbourne ShopGirl… ie. must be wearable for a few hours whilst working (with some exceptions for a few 100mm heeled showpiece shoes), must be able to be worn in Melbourne when it may rain at any moment, must work with black clothes, must kick major ass.

I’ll put up some sketches next week when i’m in the pattern making stages….

| Lauren’s Shoes|

I also have managed to knock up a test-fitting shoe for these, and have just found out it fits! yay! measurements = success.


test fit + pattern adjustments


…lasted, but with a bit of an error in my pattern – too loose around the throat.
Tightened it up with a cool little moccasin stitch, and will have to adjust the final pattern.


I put a few heels under it to see how much it changes the look (quite a lot apparently) and am still a little undecided on which one i’ll go for. I like the fat heel (bottom left) but it’s a bit too Louis Vuitton, and may not be right for Lauren. I’ll see.
..

This is what I have been thinking… in Patent Black, Mary Jane strap, silver heel, 10mm platform. Not sure about colour/details yet, but they’ll come to me when i’m making it.

| 3D printer |

… not too much on the go here. I am missing a part, and the next stage = electronics which is kinda blowing my mind…. so maybe more next week?

Lastly, we got a new camera for ourselves for Christmas – an Olympus EP-2 – which is beautiful to look at, heavy, stylish and takes much better photos than our old clunker. So look out for some nicer photos springing up this year, once we learn how to auto-focus, and deal with the no-inbuilt-flash situation.

Rock on kids, until next time……

Listening to :  Luomo [shout out to Tom + Jess]

RepRap Build – Part 2

Well, another month has FLOWN by and it seems I’m not nearly as far a long with this printer buildup as I thought I would be… but fear not, there has been some progress.
I think having to wait a month or two for it to arrive took some of the motivation away from me as I kind of forgot about it until it turned up on the doorstep… and now it has become a hot summer buildup, not a wintery this-will-fill-in-a-few-evenings job like I planned.

Anyhoot, on with the pictures! Enough with the words!

When I last posted I had no idea what to do to begin building my Mendel (aka robot, aka printer) so I started on the print head.
That gave me a sense of fulfillment, but being a plastic part it didn’t really give me much insight into how the rest of the assembly would go.

So, I (finally) found the Laser Cut build images on the RepRap wiki and started from the top….

* note : the images on the wiki are kind of handy, as they show the finished product, but they’re in no way “instructions”.
I have been taking shots every 5 mins or so, with the intention of making a “how to” guide that is much more thorough when I’m done building mine.
If you’ve found your way here to learn how to build a Mendel, these images won’t be that helpful, they’re just me showing some eye-candy… check back here in a week or so and I will have uploaded all of my images to a proper Buildup page for you to scroll through and have a look at every bit in detail.


this is the general assembly of each of the bearing sections, using skateboard bearings to run on smooth steel rails.


This one of the the X-Axis (left to right movement) assemblies…


Some of the bolts and nuts on this thing required impossible angles… here’s me doing a level-47 Advanced Engineering double-nut-shifter move (which sounds like a delicious ice cream no?)


The X-Axis family = one evening’s work.

more bearings, this time with a stepper motor nearby… again, I apologise if you are reading this and going “so, what the hell, he isn’t describing a damn thing helpful!”… this is more for curious readers, the full How-To guide should be much more useful.


This is how it all moves, a belt running around gears and bearings in little washer-bound tracks. Nice and easy.


The Frog…aka print bed chassis.

… and before you know it, it’s standing up!
Well, after 2 or 3 more hours tightening and loosening nuts.


Some of these bits aren’t worth explaining out of context, but they make for nice photos…
(and yes, it is December 2010, not 1995 – I don’t have an iPhone, my ol’ Nokia does me just fine.)


Complicated as all #$%^ assembly of the lower part / print bed. This is what I did all day Sunday.


… but here she is!
The nuts are all loose, the wires aren’t connected and there is still a lot to do, but it looks like a Mendel!

So.. that’s where the printer is at as of today (Sunday) … Lets hope it can be up and running before christmas!

I have also been toying around with the David 3D LaserScanner software, and it seems I just need to get my hands on a laser pointer (i’m not that geeky, so I have never owned one) and BAM, I’ll be able to do low-resolution 3D scanning at home too!!!! Scanning + 3D software skills > Printer = replicating whatever I want…..

>>> 3D mesh >>>
[ Click the shoe image to see the detail you can get from a webcam and a laserbeam!]

On a more traditional note, I have also started another pair of shoes.

These will be the prototypes for Lauren’s raffle winning shoes (I know, I know, that was 6 weeks ago… really, I know)

And in my never-ending quest for more tricks of the trade, I hacksawed a shoe in half to get a better idea of thicknesses and where the innersole components start and finish….


Nothing tricky in there… well, there is a a shank and screws in the very middle, but I cut around them to save on 20 mins of sawing through spring steel.

And finally we, well Dani, has also had another major task on the go (there’s always one or two on the go around here) which has used up a few of our evenings.
She has just installed her first, proper, real artworks in the Bundoora Homestead Gallery as part of their High Tea exhibition!
I’ll let her explain it all  in a post this week… but here’s a sneaky preview of one of the pieces.

nice huh?

Listening to : Ragga Twins – Ragga Twins Step Out

Cutting (well, printing) Edge Technology

Just so everyone else knows about it (and so I dont get 45 emails asking me ‘have you seen this?’) check out the link below if you’re here and are interested in both shoemaking AND 3D nerdery.

http://www.ecouterre.com/3d-printed-rapidprototyped-shoes-revolutionizing-the-industry/

“…Marloes ten Bhömer, an experimental shoemaker who is using three-dimensional printing to reinvent the shoe—and the time it takes to make one. With the help of a mechanical engineer, the Dutch designer (and shoe-industry veteran) built her “Rapidprototypedshoe” by using a hot laser to sinter layers of polymer into the shape of a foot.”

images from www.ecouterre.com

This isn’t really where I’m intending to go with my printer, but somewhere between embracing new technology and respecting the traditional methods of the masters is where I hope to land.

I’ll have a new robot building update tomorrow night – hopefully after a long (indoors escaping the 30+ degree heat) day of construction.

Monthly Musings

Hey kids, seeing as my RepRapper hasn’t arrived yet (long story, but it IS coming… at least I hope it is) I don’t have too much to show off at the moment… but I do have some news, I have given notice at my computer nerd job and in two more weeks I’ll be starting a new casual/freelance job the whole shoe making machine will rattle in to gear again! Fuck yeah.

I guess the best I can offer is some social news, some photos of things and some images from my ever-increasing folder of inspiration shoe images, so grab a cold drink and sit down for a read.

First up, we hosted a second-time-around grand final bbq (for those of you not from Australia, our equivalent of the Superbowl was a draw, so they… wait for it… played it again the following week??? who understands these sport people?) and it was a glorious sunny day. We got to fire up the bbq and officially welcome the onset of sunny weather!


suburban backyard BBQ crew…

Prize winner #1 Lauren was at the party, so I managed to measure her (very well manicured) feet and suss out a little on what sort of shoes she’d like.
Lucky for her I have a high-heeled last in her size, so the current plan is to make a nice pair of Mary Janes, something like this:

.. I’ll work out the colour/details/finish etc once I’m back at the bench, but at the moment I’m liking the metallic heel + dark upper.

We also managed to plant our vegie garden, so here are some shots of it… this is the biggest amount of land we’ve had to utilise so far, but decided against planting 10 of everything as we usually find we end up with lots of undernourished vegies, this time we’re gunning for quality over quantity.

In true Yarraville (aka stuff white people like ) style, we have planted ‘heirloom’ tomatoes and a whole lot of basil for summer salads in alllll the colours of the rainbow (well, red and green and yellow). Dani has a bunch of cucumber plants in there now too with plans to make pickles New York / Katz Deli style. Yum.

For those of you who are interested and non-vegetarians, here’s how our home made salami turned out.

They’re too small, my fault for buying the wrong sausage skins, but they taste AWESOME, sweet, a little bit salty, a little bit spicy…. mmmmmm
You will also notice our attempt at Pancetta on the board. It kind of worked, but the recipe I was following suggested a week in salt… the Italian family members suggest a DAY, so of course it is so salty it makes your face hurt when you eat it. We’ll be saving that one for cooking…..

We bid farewell to Paulius last week, and he should by now be a week or so in to his big trip.
I am planning on getting in touch with him today to offer to update his blog for him as I think Internet Cafe’s are going to be a bit thin on the ground as he crossed the NULLABOR… my goodness.

In music news, I went to see the Boredoms play their Boredrum 10 at the Forum last week……. 10 drummers on stage letting rip = a spectacle, astounding, loud…and then very tiring. I stuck it out, but my poor ears were yearning for some riffs! We also went to see Dead Meadow last night and unfortunately had to leave after 3 songs. The mixer was possibly listening to something else, as what I was hearing SUCKED BALLS and was so dissapointing we left. They may have fixed it later on, but my mojo was ruined.


The Boredoms + an army of drummers = a glorious headache.

So, thats the social update, now on to some shoooooes.

These aren’t in any particular order, just a dump of what I think kicks ass at the moment, which should give you a decent idea of the direction I’m hoping to take my first range / first designs :


some Versace madness from earlier this year…


Balenciaga, I dig these, but I’m thinking the tech-y stacked up platform look will date pretty quickly…


I reeeeeally love strong coloured suede, so expect some in my range for sure.


I’m a fan of the small-amount-of-colour idea too… especially with neutrals and perforations.
These ones are from “Ports 1916”


These are siiiiick. I forget who they’re made by… sorry!

… I think these are by, like, Ruthie Davis or someone?


Chanel, and Cerruti… I’m a fan of the warm yellow-y red cowgirl / Deadwood colour palette(s).


This picture makes me want to throw in some matching socks with each pair of my shoes….

LEFT : I’m still hoping to design something ‘fierce’ like these for my sister in the next month or so.

RIGHT : How awesome is that rubbed back yellow toe?? The rest of them I could take or leave, but that detail is GOLD.


Big fat Alexander Wang boots. I’m not a big boot fan, but the suede + raw leather here is niiiice.

… and next up is my pick for Steve’s-favourite-shoes-of-the-year-so-far… Dior Fall 2010!

I just looked online and they come in white / beige too? Faaark, they are killer.

…and to finish, Mr Galliano himself.
That man knows no boundaries when it comes to pirate-y fancy-man runway posing, but dammit he designs some nice stuff.

I have a lot of respect for someone who can rock that man/lady look with such conviction!

So that’s it.. it’s late… I need sleep. Adios.

Listening to : Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

RepRappin’

Aloha!
Finally, some real news, but still no pictures from the ol’ workbench. Those will have to wait until the weekend.

First up, the Fundraiser party was nuts, the bar was packed all night long and we managed to raise over $700 that evening in raffle tickets alone! Dani deserves a special thankyou for being a trooper and hassling pretty much everyone there for their spare change.
The raffle was drawn on the night and the ever lovely Lauren Murphy was the winner of a yet-to-be-made pair of shoes from me, and Dani’s jewels went to Martha… thanks to you both for chipping in!

< <   FREE SHOES! FREE SHOES!! WOO.

I will do a thorough job documenting Lauren’s shoes, so keep an eye out for that in the next month.

On a nerdier note I have just purchased my RepRap rapid prototyping ‘robot’ – or 3D printer for those who like less wordy descriptions – and it is currently being packed and shipping in a million little pieces to me from the USA.


This is what I (hope) I’ll end up with. Laser Cut wood = the budget starting point, and I will then be able to print a full set of parts in colourful and hardwearing plastic to rebuild him into version 2.0.


…with a quick coat of some white paint I assume it will look something like this?

I will also take lots of photos of the build process for anyone out there who is interested… and hopefully in a month or so I will be able to start printing out parts to make more machines! Self replicating! Genius!

I’ve been trawling around the internet for shoe+3D+prototyping sort of searches and have found a few pics to show (in lieu of some real photos of my own)


… 3D surface modelling + rapid prototype output = full plastic 2 part shoes.
These ones are by Sjors Bergmans.


… these ones are also fully rapid prototyped, showing the range of (ugly?) styles people have come up with so far.

… and finally these rockers by Pauline VanDongen are showing some style + nerdiness, as I hope to achieve.

Note that i’m not planning on making complete shoes, but there isnt much internet chatter about rapid prototyped heels and buckles as yet!

Anyhoot, that’s enough for now, thanks for coming back if you dropped off the reader list after the last month of silence, and if this is your first time reading my rambling, welcome! We like new people.

Listening to :  Om – Meditation is the Practice of Death
Perfect sitting-up-late-at-night-making-robots music…

Putting the FUN in Fundraising…

Hey hey!
Dani and I have decided to pitch in and help a good friend of ours raise some money for the Bicycles for Humanity project by donating some goods to his fundraising raffle / party night!

He (has possibly lost his mind and) is currently in training to ride a SINGLE SPEED BIKE from PERTH to MELBOURNE.. with our other pal Luke planning to meet him half way and keep him company for the rest of the trip. For those of you not good with geography, the trek is 4500km and will take SIX WEEKS non stop. Bananas.


man and machine, getting aquainted before the long haul.

You read it here first, you could WIN the first pair EVER of not-just-for-my-family-members-now Steven Phillips shoes by buying a raffle ticket for $2.00! Whammo!
Dani has also coughed up a top of the line gold necklace set for the raffle, and for those you who aren’t jewels or shoe crazy, there is a maaaassssive meat tray on offer. Heaven.

So, here’s the flyer, and the web address is

http://onespeedryder.wordpress.com/

Check it out, donate, and then come to the party for a helluva good time.

The raffle tickets are being printed as you read this, so you want in on the raffle but can’t get to us in person, or they’re not up on the website yet (or you cant track Paulius down) the tickets are being  sold in books of 10,  for $20.
Just email Dani and I here and we’ll get you as many as you want – you can even pay via credit card, just ask nicely.

Go for it! We would love for the prize(s) to go to someone who reads this blog, so get donating and i’ll get my measuring tape warmed up.

Steve + Dani

Listening to : Bicycle Race – Queen