Thursday, February 6, 2014

Adventures in... oak?

While I'm waiting for things to arrive in the mail (and no, I'm not waiting particularly gracefully), I thought I'd try designing the other shoe.  It's a little taller, and I think I'm going to go for an oxford-like look.  I'll have to choose some colors, which might be the hardest part - despite not actually knowing how to make an oxford. 

Also, since the last has about a 1 1/2" heel pitch, I need a heel for this shoe.  I don't have any commercially-made heels in that height (the small selection I have are all 2" or taller), and it's not something you can just order a pair of off the internet.  Unfortunately. 

I looked in to 3-D printing, but the prices quoted to me by local people doing that kind of thing were way too expensive (I want to pay no more than $15 for two heels - the few that are available commercially in single pairs run between $6 and $9.)  I thought maybe injection molding, but again, it's cost prohibitive - because I only want two, not hundreds, and there's the set-up fees of making the molds. 

Wood isn't recommended, because it splits and breaks.  Aluminum might be an option - after all, I know several machinists - but again, it seems expensive, and because you can't drill into it, there's other design challenges.  I don't think that polymer clay or easy-cast resin would be good choices, because of the strength needed.  I haven't found a source for an inexpensive block of high-impact plastic that  could cut/carve/sand into a shape I like, nor do I know if that's even really an option. 

One of the guys at work gave me a piece of oak out of the scrap bin.  I'm going to go ahead and risk it for this pair of shoes.  The heels are fairly blocky, and they're not very tall, so I'm going to just cross my fingers and call it a learning experience.  I've made one, mostly (there's a bit I still want to sand off across the front edge), and will need to duplicate that exactly for the other.  It'll be covered in leather, so if I sand off too much, I guess I could theoretically build it back up a little bit. 

Anyway, here's a side view of what I'm thinking for the second pair of shoes: