Sep 21, 2011

Delcam CRISPIN to launch integrated 3D CAD for footwear at SIMAC

Delcam CRISPIN will launch its ShoeMaker CAD software for the design of all types of footwear at the SIMAC exhibition to be held in Bologna, Italy, from 18th to 20th October. ShoeMaker is believed to be the first program to integrate the 3D design of uppers and soles, so allowing the complete shoe to be developed and visualised in a single system. While the integrated system will benefit all footwear designers, it will be particularly advantageous for companies making sports shoes and other designs that include complex soles.

ShoeMaker offers a very easy-to-learn interface, making it ideal for concept designers that might come from an artistic background rather than an engineering education. All of the icons feature specific footwear imagery, making the software very intuitive to use. However, ShoeMaker has the full power of Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD system in the background, allowing the most complex design challenges to be tackled successfully by experienced users.

The design process is made both faster and easier by the large library of data supplied with the software. This includes ranges of materials of different types and colours, plus accessories including eyelets, buckles and zips. Users can add their own materials and accessories to the libraries, and so develop a dedicated database for all of the company’s designers to access.

Having the complete design within a single model is particularly beneficial when grading the initial design for the range of sizes that will be manufactured. Since all the components are contained in a single file, grading can be done in a single operation. It is much more difficult to match the elements if the last, upper and sole are graded separately. The results will be more aesthetically pleasing as it will be possible to match the feature lines within the design. More consistent grading also improves accuracy during assembly and, therefore, the durability of the shoe.

All ShoeMaker designs are produced in an industry-standard solid-model format and so can be passed easily to other programs, for example for high-level rendering of images. Most other design systems for footwear use triangle-based file formats, which can be more difficult to read into other systems. They can also have problems in representing highly-curved surfaces accurately, which can become faceted. Of course, ShoeMaker is fully compatible with the complete range of Delcam CRISPIN software for 2D and 3D manufacturing, including the programs for costing, material cutting, mouldmaking and inspection.

ShoeMaker is very flexible in the ways that designs can be created within the software. As well as applying the program’s own tools, a Wacom screen can be used for sketching designs into the system. Alternatively, hand sketches or images from Adobe Illustrator can be read into the software and wrapped onto a last to create the 3D representation.

The resulting designs can be used to give both very realistic images and true engineering data. There is, therefore, no need to remodel concept designs to produce detailed information for downstream manufacturers. A single file can be used for each complete project, from initial concept design through to mass production. This makes data management and project planning much simpler, and so will allow faster introduction of new designs with greater confidence that the designer’s intent is captured in the finished footwear.