Rhinoceros is a low-cost CAD software developed by McNeel, and unlike other
software’s, this company encorages 3rh part software. For that is possible to find integrated solutions for most
industries. Inside Rhino is possible to find render engines, a couple of CAM, many CAD translators, probe connections,
and a bunch of plug-ins! All this completely integrated with Rhinoceros!
xShoe4Rhino was developed to assist the manufacture of most components in the footwear industry, and with other Plug-ins,
can provide a full manufacture solution.
To show us how, we ask our customer MPP – Moldes e Protótipos de Portugal,
to help us. Kindly, they accept our challenge, and for that, our thanks.
MPP is a small company that manufactures prototypes of shoe soles and lady’s heels, most of them to produce shoe soles
molds, and others as product concept. We ask Sérgio Correia, the MPP manager, why they choose us: “We searched the market for a CAD/CAM solution, but all we could find was too expensive for us.
Then we hear about Rhino, and we were surprised how such a low price solution, was very similar to solutions
6x more expensive! Concerning to the footwear Plug-in, we test all of them, and xShoe4Rhino, is by far, the
MPP uses Rhinoceros as the base CAD for modeling, xShoe4Rhino to assist the manufacture and RhinoCAM to generate the tool paths to mill the model, and if the model
is for printing, they use Rhino prototyping tools to assist the printing process. They also ordered a custom develoment to read xShoe4Rhino scale values
and process the sizes inside the NC file. “We usually need a full day of work to setup a collection
ready to mil. With the enhancement we only need a couple of minutes.”
The CAD Model
We start any project by capturing the data of the objects provided by our customers. Usually we have a last, a
couple of soles or a drawing to help us understand the project.
To capture the data, we use a microscribe probe that is connected directly with Rhino, that way we can see
in real time the data that is being captured.
After this, we can start the sketch of the model using the data from microscribe and the design provided by our customer.
The Plug-in xShoeRhino is really useful to do this task.
Manufacturing - Using a CNC milling machine
To reproduce the virtual model we can choose between 2 options; milling or printing.
To generate the tool paths for the milling machine, we use RhinoCAM – which is completely integrated with Rhino.
The interface is very intuitive and easy to use. We also can
use templates, and this way, we can do this task very fast.
Then we generate the files with the tool paths. We use a custom application to set automatic origins and scale factors.
After this all that is needed to do is to mill the model!
Manufacturing - Using a 3D printer
Nowadays, the 3D printing technology provides prototypes with quality that we only dream some years ago, and for that,
this is a manufacture solution that can fit in many cases.
Rhinoceros has a very complete set of tools to manipulate the model in order to print.