Have you ever been shopping for shoes and found it hard to get exactly the style you want? Now, with the help of a couple of Ultimaker 3D printers, fashion retailer Eram and Unistudio design studio are giving customers the power to create their own high heel designs and print them in-store.
Together they set out to answer the question of how 3D printing can enhance the customer experience in shoe stores.
The Atelier 27 event is the product of Eram and Unistudio’s collaboration. Customers can get hands on and use a special app in the store to personalize the design of the shoes’ heels.
Big or small heel? You choose. Stripes? No problem. Cover them with stars and cactus badges? Sure, that’s your style!
Once the design is finished, the app turns it into an STL file ready to 3D print. The outer shell of the heel is printed in under one hour then attached to the sole of the shoe.
A unique challenge
As Unistudio co-founder Paul-Etienne Meligne puts it, “The most challenging part of the project was finding a 3D printer that could deliver high quality experience and product with the simplest workflow for the customers”.
Because shoppers have to wait for their shoes to print, the print speed needs to be as fast as possible. For the fastest prints, Unistudio and Eram used an Ultimaker 2+ with a 0.6 mm which only takes two passes to lay down the 1.2 mm thick plastic shell of the heel.
Reliability of the prints is also important, which is why they chose Ultimaker 3D printers using PLA material to give a print quality they could always depend on.
Summing up what 3D printing brings to their designs, Paul-Etienne says, “Each experience we offer is new and ‘unseen’, which gives us a competitive advantage”.
And the results? The idea caught the attention of the French public with media coverage across radio, television and newspapers. There was lots of positive feedback from customers too. “It’s a good idea to offer a new shopping experience with a 3D printer, there are so many possibilities,” said one shopper taking away their personalized Atelier 27 shoes.
In the future Eram and Unistudio want to do more events and on a bigger scale. Explore some of the other innovative ways 3D printing is being used in product design.