By next year, companies will stop prototyping with 3D printers and will finally start mass-producing.
Well, at least Adidas plans to, with a sneaker called Futurecraft 4D. The shoe-maker has been dabbling with 3D printing and manufacturing for a while, but it plans to ramp up efforts by 2018. Its new Futurecraft 4D shoe has a mid-sole that it designed using a process known as Continuous Liquid Interface Production. The sole is pulled out of a container of liquid polymer resin and molded using ultraviolet light.
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Silicon Valley-based Carbon created the method, which it claimed is faster and better than traditional additive printing, and it uses materials that are more flexible and stronger than injection moulded plastics. Check out the video below to see Carbon's method in action. It will help make 3D-printing a reality for companies looking to mass-produce. Adidas will use it to make 5,000 pairs of Futurecraft trainers.
The shoes will go on sale sometime in 2017, and then by the end of next year, Adidas will 3D-print another 100,000 pairs. The cost of a single pair is unknown right now, but Adidas has suggested Futurecraft 4D will be a “premium” product with a high price tag.