IMPROVMENTS, EXTENSIONS & RELEVANCE
The closing section of this research project needs to be considered with reference to the original research question; “Can the traditional method of manufacturing and distributing high heels be streamlined through the combination of generative design and 3D printing for a more bespoke and sustainable system of production?” In exploring this question, the project has taken a conceptual and speculative approach that nevertheless manifests itself in tangible design outputs. However, the research also revealed that there are many areas that would be worthy of more in-depth exploration, particularly if the workflow were to be implemented.
Software and code:
This project focused on utilising Blender software, but with greater time, further softwares could have been explored with a similar design intent. The workflow is somewhat complex to use and to create designs from. Integrating more user-friendly parameters would enable faster iterations and result in a greater range of more developed high heel shoe designs. For example, software like Houdini may have produced additional possibilities. Houdini is well known for the advanced use of special effects (SFX), virtual effects (VFX) and volume database (VDB). Within this, tools can be used to transfer a workflow into a singular parameter for accurate and controlled point manipulation.
Hardware and materials:
This research is explorative, covering a wide range of topics. Further research could be conducted in a number of areas including exploring 3D printer capabilities and material performance to identify more reliable solutions and certification. Through the final methods used were successful, there may be more efficient or cost-effective additive manufacturing methods. Some processes that are explored in this research are more advanced in certain aspects, whether it was print quality or material performance. However, the perfect process with the ideal combination of the qualities may not yet exist. To realise a product to full production, considerable testing and product evaluation needs to take place, particularly when injury might occur to the user if the product fails.
Although this workflow is heavily focused on high heeled shoes, the principles of the research are applicable to other products that share similar production considerations such as structure, custom fit, construction, and style. For example, bespoke, custom, prosthetic limbs would be an area of research that shares many of the same underlying goals.
Further examples might include other items of fashion such as flat shoes, bags, clothes, and runway wear. Protective gear and high-performance sportswear are also product categories where customised fit, specialised applications and high-stake expectations align with the associated investment. However, the emergence of digital economy provides perhaps the most exciting and as yet largely unexplored application for digital workflows like this. This could range from design for Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) through to design for Avatar costume in digital worlds such as the Metaverse. Developments with animation software vs industrial software lead more towards virtual or augmented reality. The possibility of aligning distributed manufacturing with distributed autonomous organisations (DAO) would also be worth exploring in the pursuit of more sustainable production.