Saturday, October 2, 2010

shoe collection

As i've mentioned before, one of the few classes here that I really enjoy is my footwear design class. This past week we got the wonderful opportunity to visit the 'last' factory, where they manufacture the lasts, which are models used in the construction of shoes. They kind of serve as a hard plastic model of the foot. Being the industrial design nerd that I am, this trip just made me giddy. I love getting a sneak peak into manufacturing. Here are some photos from the visit:

Shaping the first wooden prototypes for production.

Wooden prototypes, they use both additive and reductive methods.

Lots of lasts, mid production

Finished, partially lathed, and the starting block of plastic

Untouched hunks of plastic waiting to become lasts

There was lots and lots of white plastic fluff around the factory. With some concern I noticed that none of the workers were wearing any safety gear, masks or any type of protection. Their poor lungs.

Notice the glue, a finished last needs to be able to break into two pieces in order to be removed from the shoe at the end of construction.

Watch the video. Sweet machinery.

CAD feet.

The nubbin gets removed at about this step.

Asymmetrical lathing!

Part of their huge collection of wooden models, which get put through the 3D scanner to make CAD models that then go through production. So this is their catalog/library of models.

Everyone was all excited to watch the vacuum forming happen. I just giggled to myself the entire time, I get to do that at school, hehe.

Sometimes designers draw their patterns directly on the last, vacuum forming a replica of the last is a lot cheaper to ship somewhere than sending the heavy wooden last to the client.


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