Up until recently there wasn’t much of a choice in the way of materials for desktop 3D printers. We’ve seen wood based filaments and carbon fibre infused ones, but we haven’t seen many flexible based materials, especially ones designed for shoe production. Thankfully, if you wanted some flexible filament to produce your own Nike’s, Spanish filament producer Recreus has just what you need.
Flexible filaments can often be a nightmare to work with, clogging extruders and sliding all over the printbed, making a nasty mess. That’s why Recreus has been working on perfecting their latest filament to be “the most flexible on the market”. The 1.75mm filament will let you create flexible parts without any major modifications. It adds a whole host of new possibilities to your printing capabilities. For example you can combine the Filaflex material with rigid materials like ABS/PLA for 3D printers with a dual extruder. The best thing is that no kapton tape or heated print beds are required, just feed it into your extruder and you’re ready to go.
To demonstrate the new filament, Recreus has designed and released the .stl files for the Sneakerbot II sneakers, the ideal product to show how flexible the new material is. Ignacio Garcia, the company’s founder and designer of the shoes claims that the shoes offer the perfect balance of support and comfort, although we remain sceptical until we’ve tried them for ourselves. You can view the shoes being printed below.
The first version of the Sneakerbot was created last year with a modified Prusa I3. According to the company, “The new design is more comfortable than the first one. You can vary the softness by changing the percentage of infill.”
Apparently, Filaflex has already been used by Thingiverse user Gyrobot to produce items such as Tie Fighter’s, flexible shapes and an impressive flexible hand. Gyrobot combined the Filaflex with MakerBot’s Translucent Red filament. The flexible parts act as the tendons.
Check out the video below of Gyrobot’s flexible hand.