3D Printing & Imaging Health & Biohacking

InsoleOne of the major benefits of 3D printing is the ability to create custom items that fit the needs of one user instead of a large market. This kind of customization would not be practical with traditional manufacturing practices that require large runs of the same item to recoup the setup costs. There are few better candidates for this customization then our feet.

Thingiverse user Gyrobot (Steve Wood) has documented his process for creating custom insoles using Filaflex filament in a series of blog posts. Steve chose to use entirely open source and free tools to create his insoles, making it easy for anyone to copy his workflow and print their own. If you would like to create your own insoles, you will need access to a flatbed scanner to capture the profile and pressure points of your foot. You can read the full process Steve used on his blog here.

0 thoughts on “3D Printed Custom Insoles

  1. I’d love to know how durable this turns out. The warm/high moisture enviroment combined with shifting weight is a pretty serious torture test.

  2. I think this is the first truly useful thing to come out of home 3D printing. Don’t get me wrong, tchotkes and 3D printer parts are cool and all, but…

    1. Did you know that parts of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner are 3-D printed? Not prototype parts, production parts. Not to mention prosthetics of many kinds: not only does 3-D printing simplify getting an adult’s prosthetic arm or leg exactly right, it also greatly simplifies making new prosthetics for children as they grow.

      This technology is changing everything. In the near future, if a knob on your stove breaks, instead of having to order it all the way from China (as I recently had to do), you’ll download the file from GE and get it printed out at the nearest Kinko’s.

  3. I wonder how effective this insole is, considering the glass on a flatbed scanner is not strong enough to support a person’s weight, which gives you the most accurate foot shape for an insole. Your foot stretches as you put weight on it.

    1. You are correct, but the deformation of a foot on a hard flat surface and a foot that is enveloped on a soft conformable cushion is different too. Normally a podiatrist will perform two scans, one at rest and one under load.

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Matt is a community organizer and founder of 3DPPVD, Ocean State Maker Mill, and HackPittsburgh. He is Make's digital fabrication and reviews editor.

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