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UnisBrands Launches Beta Test

Be 1 of 5 to win a free pair of fully customizable 3D printed footwear that fits you and your style perfectly. Join UnisBrands in beta testing the future of footwear. We take the length and width of both of your feet for sizing to ensure a perfect fit. You then get to chose colors and graphics that can be applied.

Beta Test Giveaway Rules:

1, Must be following @unisbrands on instagram

2, Fill out the Beta Test Form on our website with just your Name, Email, and US shoe size.

We will contact the winners a week after the promo ends via email. The winners will be selected at random.

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Unis Brands: Footwear of the future! (WTAJ News)

State College, Pa – A Penn State student is taking footwear into the future!

Nicholas unis is the CEO of Unis Brands, a footwear company that designs and customizes shoes with the use of a 3D printer.

He came up with the idea in high school and developed it over his time at Penn State Altoona and now at University Park. Unis explained how the shoes compare to others when it comes to conformability and durability.

He said, “I’d say it’s the same as a normal pair of shoes if not, with the materials we are working with, better.  As we can kind of engineer these shoes to the full extent instead of cutting pieces and sewing pieces together. We can add vents, ventilation to the shoe in proper areas that shoes now can’t.”

Unis Brands is set to release a slide-on sandal this summer and pitch to a network investment show later this month.

 

 

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All the shoes fit to print: A Penn State student and sneaker fan embraces 3-D tech (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

The seed of Nick Unis’ 3-D printing company germinated while the former Central Valley High School student was in a long line waiting to buy the latest high-end athletic shoes at the Champs Sports store in Beaver Valley Mall.

As teenagers, Mr. Unis, now 20, and his younger brother, Jake, would join between 50 and 75 other sneaker buffs at 4 a.m., waiting for the chance to buy a limited number of Air Jordan and Nike shoes the first day they went on sale. With as few as 12 pairs available, they sometimes went home shoeless.

“My dad wasn’t happy that me and my brother would do that, so he said why don’t you just get a job there,” said the younger Mr. Unis, who is in the third year of a five-year program that will earn him two bachelor’s and one master’s degree from Penn State’s business school.

Nick Unis, then 16, got a job at Champs, where he could reserve new models for himself and a few pairs for friends.

He began customizing the shoes: coloring or dyeing them; changing the fabric; adding a school or other logo; or installing LED lighting. He learned how to tear the shoes apart and put them back together by trial and error.

“I didn’t have to buy anyone a new pair of shoes because of messing them up,” he said.

Unis holds out one of his prototype sneakers.(Antonella Crescimbeni/Post-Gazette)

For most jobs, Mr. Unis said, he collected $80 to $100 per pair.

Doing about 25 pairs a month sharpened his skills and creativity so much that he eventually attracted the attention of Nike. The shoe giant didn’t like his rework of a pair of Air Jordan’s that were put on auction on eBay in January 2015. Mr. Unis asserts that bidding eventually blew past the top sale price he envisioned, $1,500. It went high enough to prompt Nike to send the youthful entrepreneur a cease-and-desist letter.

“They didn’t like that I was messing with the Jordan shoes,” Mr. Unis said.

The experience was the beginning of his serious pursuit of making custom-built shoes that provide comfort and style based on an individual’s foot size and tastes. Selling shoes at Champs made him realize that mass produced shoes don’t satisfy a lot of people — like the customer whose feet were two different sizes.

“He would have to buy a size 10 [pair] and a size 11 when he would buy shoes,” Mr. Unis said.

3-D printing technology, which makes products from digital images, can make each shoe a perfect fit. So Mr. Unis began exploring the burgeoning technology.

Nicholas Unis, of Center Township, is raising money to start a company that 3-D prints custom fitted shoes.(Antonella Crescimbeni/Post-Gazette)

When Stratasys, a major 3-D printer provider, quoted him a $150,000 base price, the Penn State student started looking for a cheaper way.

After exploring online forums on the technology and speaking with some people who were already using the equipment, Mr. Unis designed his own 3-D printer with parts obtained from hardware stores and other sources.

He also needed a software program that enabled his printer to produce shoes based on digital data about each customer’s feet. So he took a programming class and learned how to adapt open source software, readily available online.

The result is a $500 printer that methodically spits out a ribbon of soft, flexible thermoplastic polyurethane. Thin layer by thin layer, the plastic takes the form of the lower and upper parts of two types of sandals, one with two straps and a slide-on version. Mr. Unis said he designed the shoes, but that his company, Unis Brands, is in the process of hiring a footwear designer.

3-D printed custom fitted shoes.(Antonella Crescimbeni/Post-Gazette)

It takes about nine hours to print a sole made of harder plastic and two hours to print an upper made of a softer plastic that has the feel of a heavy fabric, he said.

Mr. Unis won $5,000 last year in a Penn State business plan competition that helped him refine the product and printing process. He said mentors at Penn State’s Altoona campus helped Unis Brands get space in the Happy Valley LaunchBox, a business accelerator that provides a place to work, experts to mentor him, and other resources.

An internship program sponsored by Penn State’s engineering school supplied Mr. Unis with eight student interns this semester. They are improving the durability and aesthetics of the shoe and trying to increase the speed of the printer without compromising quality.

“They have been very helpful as far as taking our 98 percent finished product to 100 percent,” he said.

Nicholas Unis, wearing his product, poses for a portrait in his office at Happy Valley LaunchBox in State College.(Antonella Crescimbeni/Post-Gazette)

Mr. Unis said he and his father, dentist Nicholas Unis in Center, Beaver County, have invested about $10,000 so far in Unis Brands, with the son’s share of the seed money coming from his shoe customization days.

Nick Unis is one of six finalists seeking $30,000 in prize money from Inc. U, a Shark Tank-style competition funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The competition will be broadcast next month on PBS’ “The Investment.”

This summer, he plans to start selling the sandals online at unisbrands.com. They will be priced at $100 to $120 a pair.

“We think that is perfectly reasonable for a fully customizable shoe,” Mr. Unis said.

To order a pair, buyers will either measure each of their feet at its longest and widest point or use a printout available on the company’s website. The data will be fed into software that tells the printer what to do.

His plans are to print the footwear at a site near Pittsburgh that’s equipped with about 30 printers. An athletic shoe, which he said is about 75 percent finished, should follow a short time later.

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If the Shoe Fits (The Pennsylvania State University)

Penn State junior and business student was accepted into Happy Valley LaunchBox’s FastTrack Accelerator Program, which provides students mentorship, incubator space, and resources needed to help get business ideas off the ground.

For every challenge encountered in the process of building a business, Nicholas Unis, a junior in the Smeal College of Business, has relied not only on his own creative ingenuity and determination, but also on the resources and connections Penn State offers to budding entrepreneurs.

Unis, who enrolled at Penn State through the 2+2 Plan—spending his first two years at Penn State Altoona and finishing at University Park—is working on developing fully customized shoes using 3D printing technology. The idea stemmed from an interest in footwear—not just the fashion—but the construction, materials, and also the market.

According to Business Insider, sneakers are a $55 billion global industry, and the market is largely driven by consumers described as “sneakerheads,” those who make a hobby of collecting and trading shoes. These are the customers that Unis one day would like to target through his company, UnisBrands LLC.

It’s an audience he knows well. Unis got his idea for fully customized footwear from his own experience buying shoes, ripping them apart, repainting them, changing the materials, and selling them. He also saw an opportunity to make the shoe-buying experience more personal and fun while working as a part-time sales associate in a shoe store at the mall.

“As people were coming in and not finding exactly what they wanted in size or look, I got the idea to fully customize a pair of shoes,” Unis said. He continues, “I actually had a customer who would buy two pairs of shoes because his feet were two different sizes.”

From Idea to Business Plan

While at Penn State Altoona, Unis decided to take his idea and put together a business plan. He took part in the Pechter Business Plan competition, offered through the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, and, despite what he would describe as a failed pitch, was able to take the constructive feedback of the judges and re-focus his plan.

“It just wasn’t as developed as it needed to be, but the judges helped steer me to where I should be focusing,” said Unis.

That year, Unis also scored some feedback from two judges on the popular television show “Shark Tank.” The pair came to Altoona as part of the Speaker Series, and listened to Unis’s pitch. “At the time, I just had a hard plastic shoe and a rough wooden printer. They liked the idea and gave me some very good input.”

Armed with constructive criticism and fresh determination, Unis researched how best to proceed. The first step was finding a 3D printer. Large-scale ones were completely out of his price range, and while looking into smaller-scale ones, he realized he could probably just make one of his own. With some online help, he gathered components and went to a manufacturer. Together, they came up with the patent pending printer Unis uses today.

 

 

“I designed the printer to be optimized to print shoes,” said Unis. “If you print this material with any normal 3D printer, it’s going to jam.”

Using CAD software, he designs the custom shoe and implements it into a program which slices the 3D design into thousands of layers that will be printed on his customized 3D printer. From there, the software creates a tool path to deposit material in each layer. The tool path for each layer is then exported to an SD card and put into the printer to fabricate the shoe.

“A 3D printer is essentially a hot glue gun on a router,” Unis says. “The software specifies the route that it’s going to take. The printer takes a spool of material—in this case, thermal plastic—and pushes this material through the motor. It heats up, melts the material, squeezes it out in the layer, and moves in layers until complete.”

 

 

“UnisBrands allows me to have the best of both worlds, bringing business, design, and fashion together.” -Nicholas Unis

In the fall of his sophomore year, Unis gave the Pechter competition another try. This time—with a product to show and a more developed plan—Unis was chosen as a finalist. He was granted incubator space at the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence to create detailed descriptions of his business concepts, potential market, and likely competitors. In the spring, he presented again and won the competition, taking a $5,000 prize.

Now at University Park, Unis is tackling finance and accounting coursework while also working on UnisBrands. He has been accepted into the Happy Valley LaunchBox FastTrack Accelerator, a 15-week program that provides incubator space and gives startups access to training, mentorship, professional consultation, and research resources. The program also provides access up to $3,000 in funding for customer discovery.

“Being a finance and accounting major, I do love the business aspect; however, you don’t always get the freedom to be artistic,” said Unis. “UnisBrands allows me to have the best of both worlds, bringing business, design, and fashion together.”

Unis has also started working with the Bernard M. Gordon Learning Factory, a Penn State facility that provides hands-on space for engineering students to use in conjunction with capstone design and other coursework. For the past 22 years, the Learning Factory has connected Penn State student teams to industry clients—from Boeing, GM, and Lockheed Martin, to smaller startups and entrepreneurs­, like Unis­—in need of engineering design support to address business challenges.

Learning Factory

The outside of the Learning Factory, where thousands of students have worked on industry-sponsored and client-based capstone design projects.

IMAGE: PENN STATE

“There’s a litany of resources here. That’s what is nice about the Invent Penn State initiative. We’re all working collaboratively—across departments and units—to help these students advance their ideas toward reality.” -Tim Kerchinski, Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP)

Knowing he would need help perfecting his prototype and putting quality control measures in place for print production, Unis reached out to Tim Kerchinski, who is the innovation team lead with the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP). Each semester, Kerchinski helps to find Learning Factory projects and sponsors. He also works with Invent Penn State through a federal Economic Development Administration grant to share best practices among the 21 innovations hubs at Penn State campuses across the Commonwealth, helping to strengthen the University’s ability to provide local support for student entrepreneurs.

Hearing Unis’s challenges, Kerchinski put Unis in touch with Timothy W. Simpson, Paul Morrow Professor of Engineering Design and Manufacturing, and former director of the Learning Factory. Simpson, who also serves as co-director on Penn State’s state-of-the-art metal 3D printing facility, Center for Innovative Manufacturing Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D), agreed to provide funding for two teams to work with Unis from the Department of Industrial & Manufacturing’s Innovation & E-Ship Fund, which Simpson administers. So for a semester, two teams of four to five engineers are working with UnisBrands as part of their capstone design project in the Learning Factory.

“One team is looking at the printing parameters and how we can print the shoes quickly without diminishing the quality,” said Unis. “The other team is looking at various ways to treat the shoes after they’ve been printed, to smooth them out and give them a finished look.”

For Kerchinski, the collaboration is just one example of the many opportunities and resources available to students through a growing entrepreneurial framework at Penn State.

“There’s a litany of resources here,” said Kerchinski. “That’s what is nice about the Invent Penn State initiative. We’re all working collaboratively—across departments and units—to help these students advance their ideas toward reality. When I introduce Nick, I make sure everyone knows he came from Penn State Altoona, because they did a great job with him. Ultimately, we just want these kids to be successful so that maybe one day they keep their companies in Pennsylvania and bring jobs to the state.”

What’s Next

While a website is up and running, customers can only play around with colors and patterns for now; not place an order yet. Until the shoes are ready to be manufactured, Unis has begun thinking through his marketing strategy. And, because the shoes will be fully recyclable, he plans to implement a program allowing customers to send their shoes back once they’re done wearing them for a discount on their next order.

Unis also continues to seize opportunities at Penn State. He was recently accepted as a finalist to compete in “The Investment,” a “Shark Tank”-style competition put on by Inc.U, an initiative managed by PennTAP to support and grow local businesses. Student entrepreneurs present their business ideas to a panel of judges, and the winning pitches will receive prize money to help jumpstart their businesses. The competition airs on WPSU in May.

“I think all of this would be extremely difficult without Penn State,” he reflects. “I would have to go out and find a location for office space, pay rent, then find others to help with the project. Penn State has helped me connect with individuals who have offered their expertise to help me make a better product.”

 

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UnisBrands set to Pitch on the PBS TV show “The Investment” through Inc. U

Student entrepreneurs present their business ideas to a panel of judges, Shark Tank–style. The team or teams with the strongest ideas and best pitches will compete for part of a $30,000 prize pool to earn funds for their start up companies.

Key Dates:

  • Saturday, April 7, 2018 — “The Investment” show taping at WPSU studio

  • Thursday, April 19 & Friday, April 20, 2018 — Top six student company competitors will pitch at the Penn State Venture & IP Conference

About Inc.U

Inc.U began in 2015 as a pilot program funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. It was originally a collaborative effort between the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Bucknell University, and Penn State to foster undergraduate entrepreneurship. Each of the three university partners worked in their local areas to support and grow programs for this initiative.

Starting in 2016, the Penn State Inc.U competition, managed by PennTAP, has evolved to become a Penn State program funded by a five-year grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (USEDA) in partnership with Invent Penn State and their entrepreneurial assistance centers. Part of the USEDA grant funds “The Investment,” a student competition where Penn State student start-ups go head-to-head to win significant investment dollars for their companies.

 

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Penn State Altoona dedicates LaunchBox hub (Altoona Mirror)

 

Mirror photo by Russ O’Reilly / Penn State President Eric Barron talks with Nicholas Unis (center) and Steven Dudo (left) about Unis Brands’ 3D-printed footwear startup.

It was just an empty space in the old Gables Building at 1331 12th Ave. until Penn State Altoona Chancellor Lori Bechtel-Wherry received a grant to transform it into a hub for entrepreneurial ventures.

The Penn State Altoona LaunchBox was dedicated Thursday, with Bechtel-Wherry and Penn State President Eric Barron there to cut the ribbon.

Barron said the university selected Penn State Altoona to receive one of six grants to build a LaunchBox designed to provide early-stage startup companies with the support and resources needed to build a sustainable business and a plan for

growth.

In June 2016, Penn State Altoona was awarded a $50,000 seed grant from the Invent Penn State Initiative to develop Altoona LaunchBox, and in October 2016, six business startups began a partnership with the program.

As Altoona LaunchBox grows, it will have the capacity to facilitate 20 startups per year.

The Altoona LaunchBox is one of 13 innovation hubs located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania.

Barron said he and the university leaders chose Altoona because they saw that there are community partnerships here that provided resources including the Devorris Downtown Center, the Aaron building and the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

LaunchBox is an addition to the downtown campus that Barron hopes will make Altoona a hub for innovation.

“To our students, you can go out the door, go to Silicon Valley, live in an awful, expensive place and eat ramen noodles, or you can live in Altoona, have a great community to support you and get a great MTO Sheetz hot dog,” Barron said Thursday.

Nicholas J. Unis, CEO of Unis Brands, was present at the LaunchBox dedication with a 3-D printer and wearing a pair of shoes from his brand. He is the kind of entrepreneur

that Penn State Altoona wants to serve with its LaunchBox.

Tennis shoes made by 3-D printer not only have a style that’s unique, Unis said, but they fit better because the manufacturing method achieves custom sizes.

Founded in February 2016, LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State Initiative, a statewide system to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and university-community collaborations to facilitate the process of turning ideas into viable products and services.

“This is a wonderful place to create jobs,” Barron said of Altoona.

Barron’s speech was followed by Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. President and CEO Stephen McKnight. The Altoona LaunchBox was made possible by a partnership of ABCD Corp.’s First Frontier Network and Penn State Altoona.

“We dreamt of a day when economic development and the university would come together,”McKnight said. “And here it is, you can touch it, feel it. Today is a day to celebrate.”

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3D PRINTING ENTREPRENEUR REVEALS PLAN FOR 24 HOUR SNEAKER TURNAROUND (3DPrintingIndustry.com)

 

A student entrepreneur who developed the idea, technology, and production of his own brand of custom 3D printed sneakers will see his “UnisBrands” products hit the market soon.

Nick Unis, who is currently a final year accounting and finance student at Penn State University-Altoona, has been nurturing his idea for custom running shoes since high school.

Having now joined the Happy Valley LaunchBox FastTrack Accelerator, Unis plans to ship the first UnisBrands shoes in Summer 2018, with the aim of averting 24 to 72 hours turnaround per pair.

Innovative beginnings

Unis began customizing and selling unbranded running shoes when still in high school, after working at a Champs Sports shop. “As people were coming in and not finding exactly what they wanted at Champs, I got the idea to fully customize a pair of shoes,” Unis told Altoona news.

Sensing the demand for customized shoes, he began a process of taking them apart, redoing the color and material before selling them on.

One such pair, some Nike Air Jordans wrapped with a custom pattern, reportedly reached a million dollars on an eBay auction before threats of legal action closed down the sale.

3D printing takes over

Undeterred, Unis then decided to pitch an idea for a 3D printed shoe business to the Pechter Business Plan competition. Although unsuccessful, Unis received some positive feedback.

Explaining the decision to remain with 3D printing, Unis noted that it not only made running shoes visually customizable but it could also achieve a closer fit for the customer since both feet are not the same size.

Unis experimented with an initial wooden 3D printer and solid 3D printed concept shoes, before developing his own 3D printer with the help of online tutorials and an unnamed manufacturer.

The design of the running shoes was redeveloped too, with the sole, upper and tongue now 3D printed separately. The Unis FFF 3D printer is still used to produce UnisBrands shoes, and the technology behind it is patent pending.

A refined business model

After winning a subsequent Pechter Business Plan competition, Unis was granted incubator space at the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence. His $5,000 prize paid for R&D into shoe design, manufacturing, and liner application.

With technical assistance, Unis has now formulated a sizing algorithm to take the length and width of the left and right foot of the customer

in order to create a perfect fit prior to 3D printing UnisBrands shoes.

 

After winning a place at the Happy Valley LaunchBox, Unis now aims to secure new licensing for custom designs, a new range of Birkenstock-style shoes, and space to hold many more 3D printers that can produce shoes in factory-like succession.

So far 3D printing in footwear has been largely limited to 3D printed insoles and midsole designs. UnisBrands, however, 3D prints the entire product, and with a mixture of design innovation and entrepreneurship, it may become a commercial reality.

Another institution where 3D printing, design, and business skills are fostered together is the University of Southern California (USC), with its dedicated Iovine and Young Hall facility.

Make your nominations for the 3D Printing Industry Awards 2018 now.

For more stories on entrepreneurial 3D printing projects subscribe to our free 3D Printing Industry newsletter, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Featured image shows Unis displaying his 3D printed running shoes at the LaunchBox. Photo via Samantha Wilson/The Collegian.

original ink :

3D printing entrepreneur reveals plan for 24 hour sneaker turnaround

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UnisBrands Sponsors Penn State Capstone Design Projects

UnisBrands has sponsored two Capstone Design teams through the Penn State Learning Factory. Both projects will involve two teams consisting of 8 total student Interns over a 15-week semester. Considering that students will also be taking other courses at the same time, this equates to approximately 400 person hours of effort devoted to the project. Results from student teams are highly dependent on the nature of the project, the innate team capabilities, the amount of client interaction and support, and many other variables. No guarantees can be made, other than the students will give it their best effort.

Project Deliverables

Depending on the nature of the project, the deliverables may include any or all of the following:

  • Technical reports (concept, preliminary, detail)

  • Feasibility studies, engineering analyses

  • Competitive benchmarking

  • Engineering drawings and specifications

  • Prototypes and preliminary hardware

  • Computer programs, simulation models, data

  • Manufacturing or service delivery process plans

  • Presentations, animations, videos, demonstrations

  • Final technical report, poster, and one-page summary

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UnisBrands: Penn State student startup 3D prints customized shoes (3Ders.org)

Feb 14, 2018 | By Tess

Nicholas Unis, a young entrepreneur and student at Penn State University, has transformed his passion for footwear (and sneakers in particular) into a unique business idea. The finance and accounting student is the founder of UnisBrands, a fashion label that designs, produces, and sells 3D printed shoes.

Even as a young man, Unis already has significant experience in the footwear world, having worked for a shoe store in high school, and in customizing and reselling shoes on the Internet (until Nike requested he stop).

Since then, he has channeled his shoe business ambitions into something much less controversial: 3D printed shoes. Notably, he has even designed his own customized 3D printer, after finding that existing models were not meeting his requirements.

The 3D printing technology, which is currently patent pending, is reportedly capable of 3D printing sneakers in just three parts: sole, upper, and tongue. Unis plans to use the technology to create various styles of shoe (including sneakers, sandals, and more) with customized colors, patterns, and sizes.

For the sizing, Unis relies on a special algorithm which uses the client’s individual foot dimensions (length and width) and generates a “perfect fit” 3D model. “It’s going to fit you perfectly because both feet aren’t the same size,” he explained.

Once the technology is fully up-and-running, Unis also plans to have a rapid turnaround time for custom orders. His goal is to have the 3D printed shoes shipped within 24 to 72 hours of the order being placed.

Currently, the UnisBrands website features one 3D printed shoe model dubbed the U-1 Mirror. Clients are invited to choose their preferred color scheme (for the sole, upper, and accents) and input their foot sizes.

And while the selection is limited in terms of 3D printed shoe styles right now, Unis does plan to expand his company’s offering in the near future. His next project will be to design and introduce a Birkenstock-inspired sandal for the summer season.

Presently, UnisBrands is operating from within the Happy Valley Launchbox, a coworking space for promising startups in State College, PA. In the long term, the brand’s founder hopes to set up 3D printing factories across Pennsylvania to meet order demands and keep all his production local.

Another possible avenue, says the young entrepreneur, is to partner with organizations like Penn State, the NCAA, or even Disney for licensing agreements to produce customized branded 3D printed shoes.

 

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Penn State Student Focuses Business Plan on Custom 3D Printed Shoes (3D print.com)

 

The world of fashion is a fantastic place for exploring the limitations and possibilities present in 3D printing technology. From burgeoning designers such as 13-year-old Ariel Swedroe to heavy hitters like Iris van Herpen, advanced manufacturing is becoming recognized for the pathways to sartorial expression that it is helping to create. Its integration into the workflow isn’t coming as a replacement for traditional methods of fabrication, but rather to expand possibilities in form, function, and feel. It’s also creating a stir in ideas about what fashion means and who has access to it, as well as disturbing the traditional divide between bespoke and off the rack.

One of the latest forays into the frontier of 3D printing and fashion is coming from a somewhat unexpected place: a junior accounting and finance student at Penn State University. Nicholas Unis is interested in the production of 3D printed shoes, although the connection is not as odd as it sounds, but rather has been a long time in the making. Unis worked in a shoe store while still in high school and heard countless complaints from customers who either love the look of the shoe but found it uncomfortable, or found the comfortable shoes to be unlikeable. His interest in shoes continued after high school when he would purchase shoes, customize them and then resell them, culminating in an experience in which he put the RiFF RAFF rapper pattern on a pair of Nike Air Jordans. Those shoes eventually reached the million dollar bid mark on eBay, but he was forced to remove them after receiving notice from Nike itself.

Putting two and two together, he quickly recognized the potential market for customized shoes and the breadth of the client base he could create by making such a product affordable.

Once he was introduced to 3D printing, the pathway seemed clear and Unis set about creating 3D printed shoes, using a flexible filament, that could be printed in three pieces, sole, upper, and tongue, based on measurements of the wearer’s feet. Unfortunately, the 3D printer he was using continually jammed when producing pieces out of the flexible material. Fortunately, Unis decided to design his own 3D printer, for which the patent is now pending, and having overcome that first barrier is well on his way to overcoming any others that throw themselves in his way.

 

In order to build his brand, Unis is hoping to pitch his idea to Shark Tank investors Barbara Corcoran and Robert Herjavec – for the second time, as he had first pitched while the plan while attending Penn State Altoona. In the meantime, he is operating his business at University Park through the Happy Valley Launchbox spring accelerator program. After he graduates, he hopes to expand his company, UnisBrands, and find space to house multiple 3D printers in order to competitively handle incoming orders, for which he expects to have between a 24- and 72-hour turnaround.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Source: The Daily Collegian / Images: Unis Brands]