TROY — Fisher-Unitech has helped companies use SolidWorks software to design everything from cars to motorcycles to GPS devices.
Now, it’s helping make high-tech women’s shoes with interchangeable heel heights.
Boston-based Day2Night Convertible Heels, a startup focused on creating shoes with interchangeable heels, is using SolidWorks 3D design software to bring its product to market faster and at less cost. A 2010 and 2011 MassChallenge finalist funded by Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects, Day2Night is solving the challenge of traveling with multiple pairs of shoes.
In the process, Day2Night has dealt with — and overcome — complex design issues, with the help of Fisher-Unitech, a SolidWorks value added reseller.
According to Fisher-Unitech, the biggest challenge in designing a shoe with interchangeable heels comes from the need for strength — because the shoe must be able to tolerate the wearer’s weight under a variety of heel heights, some of which are intricate and curved, creating potential stability issues. Using SolidWorks software alongside 3D printing capabilities, the engineering team at Day2Night was able to determine the optimal weight bearing load pressure for the shoe. This analysis was critical to learn not only how the heel would hold weight from the top, but how it would react to force when the heels were changed.
“This product required a mix of stability and flexibility when it came to changing the heels,” said Candice Cabe, founder and CEO of Day2Night. “We had to provide enough resistance that the heels would stay on during regular wear, but not so much that they couldn’t be taken off easily. They also had to withstand issues like being caught in grates or between cobblestones — just like a traditional shoe. Ultimately, we needed to know how much torque effect would be applied for someone to be standing, moving their feet, dancing or just walking. SolidWorks software enabled us to test all of these scenarios and easily develop prototypes so we could create a stable and beautiful product.”
Day2Night is an avid recruiter of interns with mechanical engineering background, giving students from top Massachusetts schools the opportunity to gain hands-on design experience with SolidWorks. These students, as well as a design firm, are helping design and prototype the products with the aid of 3D printing. The heels will then be manufactured using mold injection technology and shipped to shoemakers.
“3D printing is a critical tool for this type of product; it’s essential that designs are tested to make sure they’re safe, sturdy and attractive,” said Jenny Giolas, regional technical manager at Fisher-Unitech. “Day2Night’s use of SolidWorks to create a one-of-a-kind product and bring it to market is the kind of success story we love to tell; ultimately, designers have the power to make any product a reality using SolidWorks software.”
Day2Night shoes are available for pre-order at http://convertible-heels.com/Buy_Now.html
Fisher-Unitech, founded in 1993, provides product lifecycle management and prototyping technology to manufacturers. The company’s focus is on process improvement for product development and manufacturing. With locations throughout New England and the Midwest, the company is a leading reseller of SolidWorks 3D design, analysis and data management software, as well as the full line of rapid technology equipment from Stratasys. Rapid technology applications include direct digital manufacturing (DDM), rapid prototyping and 3D printing. Professional services are offered for design automation and data management which provides customers with a full service, one-stop source for complex PLM systems. The company offers advanced web-based delivery of training with its live, instructor-led 3DU.
More at www.funtech.com.