3D Printing

3D Orthotics: Australia Embraces Custom 3D Printed Insoles

Calling all Aussie readers! What are you doing on January 30th? If you’re into 3D printing and you happen to be in Brisbane, you might set aside some time to attend the official launch party for 3D Orthotics, a company that’s using 3D printing to make custom, medical-grade insoles. 

Insole 3D Printed OrthoticsThey certainly aren’t the only company to pursue 3D printed insoles, and as that previous link gives away, they are not even the first company with a 3D printed insole announcement this week, but they are definitely the most Australian. Moreover, they offer further evidence of the custom applications of 3D printing in the medical field. The company, which has already opened two clinics in Mount Gravatt and Windsor, uses 3D scanning to capture accurate models of your feet.  Podiatrists, working in tandem with engineers, then create 3D printed insoles that match every contour of your hooves to provide the support needed for a variety of foot-related problems, such as diabetes, arthritis and bunions. 

The company explains how alternative techniques to creating custom insoles often fail where 3D printing succeeds:

After years of seeing patients enjoy the benefits of orthotics we noticed many common problems. Most of these problems related to the inherent lack of flexibility in the orthotic development process. Often patients feel uncomfortable with their new orthotics. They never really match the foot perfectly.

While there’s been many advances in the process there’s still a distinct lack of control in the process. Using plaster casts results in too much guess work and poor fitting of orthotics. These inadequacies are then compounded through the choice of manufacturing methods used to construct the orthotics. With the various steps in the mostly manual process there are too many avenues for discrepancies to creep in.

3D printing, on the other hand, allows for total personalization. We’ve already begun to see such 3D printing applications of customization in the medical field, with 3D-printed braces from Invisalign representing a huge success for personally-tailored medical items. It’s only a matter of time before we see 3D printed customization receive the same success for consumer goods.  If you would like to attend 3D Orthotic’s launch party, you can RSVP here and say that you were on the ground floor for 3D printed customization.