For years, shoe companies have been designing their shoes in just two dimensional (2-D) views and then relying upon manufacturers, who are often overseas, to interpret those two dimensional designs and then re-create them into three-dimensional products. As we understand it, most shoe companies still design in 2-D, perhaps out of tradition, but here at OESH, we use the latest and greatest three dimensional (3-D) CAD software to illustrate all of our shoe components as the three dimensional objects they truly are.
Why do we do this? To make better shoes, of course… genius!
With a 360 degree view of each and every aspect of OESH, there is very little left for interpretation when communicating the design which not only saves a great deal of time, but results in exactly what we intended. I am personally a firm believer in using CAD because of the ability to design a proportionately accurate object which renders the appearance of an actual product. Changes can be made quickly while colors can effortlessly be changed on demand. Using various CAD programs throughout my school career, it is amazing to be able to make an object look so real with the associated materials in which the actual product would be made.
Not only is it remarkable to design 3D objects on the computer, but to see that same object produced into a manufactured good is incredible. Whether it is sent to our own CAM (computer aided manufacturing) controlled machinery to construct molds for mass production or to our partner in China who cuts and sews fabrics specifically to our detailed design, the result is tremendous. One of the newest and fascinating technologies is 3D printing. You can now take that 3D generated image you drew in CAD and print the same image as a three dimensional object. For instance, last year I had drawn a lacrosse head in my Industrial Design CAD class at James Madison University and then 3D printed the design to full scale. I had to print in two pieces due to the printer dimensions but after attaching them together, I was able to string the head and put it on a shaft to have a complete lacrosse stick. This is just a few examples of the countless advantages for this process of design; after all, drawing in a 3D CAD program is a lot more versatile and fun than the old pen and paper!
Bottom line: CAD is the best and I can’t imagine designing and manufacturing shoes any other way.