During the launch event for the Air Max 720 for men, Nike wanted to provide customers with a 3D prototype of their shoe which had to be scaled to 20" in order to be used as an exhibition model.
The large-format reproduction of the model was the star of the event and impressed attendees both by its size and its similarity to the original. The shoes were on display to allow customers to take pictures of themselves wearing the giant sneakers.
For this collaboration with Nike, the 3D prototype had to be as similar as possible to the original shoe. Visual aesthetics were, therefore, a key aspect. Indeed, the Nike Air Max 720 model had precise details, varied textures and multiple materials that make the shoe unique. Reproducing them as accurately as possible was therefore essential, but also presented its share of challenges. In particular, it was important not to neglect the finish of the shoe, which had to be both polished and realistic.
These points were taken into consideration by Axis technicians as they chose the best solutions for printing and finishing.
The final challenge was to deliver the project within two weeks.
Before replicating the shoe and producing the prototype in 3D, the sneaker had to undergo 3D scanning via the portable CMM 3D optical scanner. Using the file provided by the scanner and the physical model provided by the customer, it was possible to print the final 3D model.
As lead time and accuracy were the decisive factors in delivering the end result, our team of experts opted to use stereolithography (SLA), which turned out to be the perfect solution for this project.
Indeed, SLA makes it possible to print high-quality models in a relatively short amount of time.
Our team selected Somos 11122 as the material to print the shoe because it is virtually colorless. This met our color requirements, as the model of the shoe we were to produce included translucent parts.
As for the overall structure of the sneaker, the printed model needed to be strong and durable as customers had to be able to wear it during the launch event. For these reasons, our team relied on the impact resistance qualities of Somos NeXt which brings it closer in nature to an injection-molded thermoplastic.
These two materials allowed us to produce a 3D model that accurately replicated the shoe's details while being robust enough to be worn by several customers during the event.
The 3D model required premium treatment to create a polished and smooth finish that included textured details. Offering premium sanding, prime coating and automotive-grade painting, showroom level finish was the obvious choice since it perfectly aligned with the requirements of the 3D prototype.
Applying showroom level finish to the final product also had another major advantage: it allowed us to produce the colored outer parts of the shoe using automotive-grade painting, thus getting as close as possible to the colors of the original shoe.
Whatever industry you’re in, we approach each collaboration with enthusiasm and professionalism in order to bring your ideas to life just as you imagine them. 3D printing offers infinite possibilities and our specialists remain available to explain these to you so you can take full advantage of what this technology has to offer .