Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wenzel and Block at the 3D Shoe Printing Edge

I reported back in January that I visited Silicon Valley's Carbon Inc, with Walter Block and Michael Edelstein, Dr. Block gave a hardcore libertarian speech to the employees.

There is, now, new exciting news out of the company, The company just announced that
Adidas will begin to use its 3D technology and equipment to print running shoes.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Your Shoes Will Be Printed Shortly
Innovative techniques in 3-D printing mean some previously impossible design will start showing up in consumer products

This may be the year you get 3-D-printed shoes.

By the end of 2017, the transformation of manufacturing will hit a milestone: mass-produced printed parts. Until now, that concept was an oxymoron, since 3-D printing has been used mainly for prototyping and customized parts.

But the radical innovation of 3-D printing techniques means we are finally going to see some previously impossible designs creep into our consumer goods. In the long term, it also means new products that previously would have been impractical to produce, and a geographical shift of some manufacturing closer to customers...

There’s a running shoe from Adidas AG  with a 3-D-printed latticed sole that looks almost organic, like the exposed roots of a plant.

After years of searching for a 3-D printing tech that is up to the challenge of sneakers, Adidas came upon a startup called Carbon Inc., which has raised $222 million to date. Instead of the plodding process of depositing plastic one layer at a time from a nozzle, Carbon’s “digital light synthesis” printers transform a liquid plastic into a solid using UV light and oxygen. This yields products comparable in quality to molded plastics at a competitive speed and cost, at least when making tens of thousands of a given object.

Why Now?

Because traditional manufacturing requires molds, casts and machining, it has high upfront costs. It’s great if you want to make a million of something, but not so great if you want fewer. What the 3-D printing business has finally figured out is how to speed up the process dramatically while also using cheaper and stronger materials...

Adidas hasn’t said how much its 3-D printed shoes will cost, but it has said they will be priced as a “premium” product. It expects to have shipped about 5,000 pairs by the end of 2017 and more than 100,000 by the end of 2018...

With traditional manufacturing, the high up-front costs of building molds and tooling can translate to ever-lower costs per part. With 3-D printing, costs are more or less the same to make one object or 10,000.
Good luck to Carbon where a serious regular attendee of San Francisco's Circle Rothbard is an engineer.

I'm told the shoes will have the potential to be designed on a customized basis for each individual.


1 comment:

  1. Can one give a "hardcore" libertarian speech and not actually be a "hardcore" libertarian, like Block?