3D Printing Under the Heel of Fashion – Testing Z-PCABS Durability

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3D Printing Under the Heel of Fashion – Testing Z-PCABS Durability


It’s not like us to make or keep up stereotypes but this time we feel quite obliged to start with a little stereotype-based warning. Gentlemen, you’re about to wander into a possibly foreign territory. Ladies, welcome to the world of art made for walking. If you’ve ever dreamed of exceptional, custom-made, sculpture-like high heels that will draw attention with every step you take, it’s time to meet your modern fairy godmother.

Over the Heels and Far Away

Once upon a time in an Italian city called Fermo, shoes were made in accordance with traditional craft only. The knowledge, skills and standards were passed down from generation to generation making the city known for its thriving shoe industry. But as the world around kept moving forward, so did the industry. The approach towards shoemaking changed as new, innovative techniques were applied and developed. The tradition combined with modern technologies resulted in truly stunning projects.

Always in Style

If you’re a 3D printing or fashion enthusiast, you might’ve already heard the name Cristina Franceschini (aka Crystif) or seen her projects. Living in Fermo, the Italian designer grew up surrounded by long-standing tradition of shoemaking. You probably associate Italian shoes with high quality and luxury brands, don’t you? No wonder, the excellence of Italian design speaks for itself and never goes out of style. Although the influence of rich shoemaking tradition and standards is unmistakable in Cristina’s projects, her artistic side is what propels her to make unforgettable designs.

Luxury of Unlimited Ideas

Cristina has been using 3D printing technology for quite some time now. She started with learning how to 3D model. The new skill, backed with years of experience in the industry, helped her in realizing more brave and ambitious ideas. 3D printing allowed her to not only turn her vision into objects faster, but also to reshape and adjust them at will. Cristina, as an artistic soul, takes inspiration from her surroundings and doesn’t settle for the old ways. She tends to reinterpret archetypes through her view on the world and her emotions. The designer experiments with techniques, materials and finishes to reshape the norms and standards and give them an unexpected form. 3D printing allows her to broaden the spectrum of possibilities and forget about confining her imagination once and for all.

Printer Charming

The unique style of Cristina’s custom-made designs requires engaging both traditional and additive manufacturing. The handmade parts take skills and experience, which she obviously has in spades. Now, for the 3D printed parts, she was looking for devices that would reflect her ideas perfectly. Recently, she expanded her workshop with Zortrax M200 and it became her reliable partner instantly. As excellence is one of Cristina’s ultimate goals, our 3D printer proved to be invaluable in recreating her intricate, sculpture-like heel designs.

Exercise in Durability

Throughout her adventure with 3D printing, Cristina used and tested a variety of materials. From our range, she chose Z-PCABS as it’s exceptionally durable and resistant to high temperatures. Bear in mind that shoes need to withstand repeatable impact caused by every step the wearer takes. So, to be extra sure that the material’s quality is really high, Cristina arranged some heavy-duty testing for our product. She sent the 3D print to a company specializing in footwear testing. The Z-PCABS-printed part endured 20,000 hits and came out unscathed.

Modern Alchemy

There’s a myriad of 3D print post-processing techniques and we bet you’ve seen or done your fair share of them. The most popular ones are easily achievable in-house, e.g. polishing, sanding, painting, gluing. The more advanced and elaborate ones, however, often require outsourcing. Since Cristina’s designs are undoubtedly unique and luxurious, she reaches for less popular post-processing methods to achieve the stunning outcome she aims for. Some of her heel projects required turning plastics into gold, quite literally as she used gold-plating. The designer also utilized chrome-plating and, recently, galvanizing in her projects. Cristina’s imagination certainly doesn’t leave room for mediocrity and half measures, does it?

One Step Ahead

One of Cristina’s claims is ‘be different’. Her luxurious and exceptional designs are a true testament to the motto and surely can inspire you to stand out of crowd. We hope that her works will also encourage you to try new solutions, combine modern technologies, like 3D printing, with more traditional methods and find your own, unique way of expanding your business and gaining leverage over the competition.

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