Hwa Chong Institution (High School)
Projects Competition 2015

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We declare that the web-report is our own work and does not contain plagiarised material.
Upper Secondary
Engineering Science
Project Title
Use of PolyJet technology in manufacture of personalised shoe insoles
The problem the shoe industry is the slow process of creating an insole. Many people who travel overseas seek insoles complementary to their unique feet shape. This would result in the need for tailor made in soles, and to produce these insoles, much time is needed. Often, patients need to extend their trips so as to collect their insoles. To counteract this problem, our project aims to be able to create an alternate, more efficient way to produce these insoles complimentary to that of the customers. This is done via scanning the foot of the customer with a foot scanner to obtain a 3-D model of the customer’s feet, which is then used to produce a complementary insole. This would catalyse the process of producing insoles that complement not only those with normal feet arcs, but those with flat feet too. This would be of great help to not only people looking to purchase insoles, but patients who travel overseas to seek medical help for feet problems as they can purchase insoles that support their different feet structure.
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Prof. CHUA Chee Kai (NTU)
Dr Tan Kok Kim (Hwa Chong Institution)
Team Leader/Members

(Name & Class)
Team Leader :

This project is about the manufacture of personalized insoles through the use of 3D printing. 3D printing is a relatively new field of study for myself, as well as the other group members. While we have taken up courses on 3D printing, learning how to use software such as Solidworks and SketchUp to create models, then sending it for printing to create small products, we never really learnt to apply this modelling skill into real world applications. However, with this project we embarked on, we are able to see the real-life applications of 3D printing before us. During the visit to the Singapore Centre for 3D Printing at NTU, we see how 3D printing is applied into industries such as the automotive, fashion and medical industries, which is definitely an eye opener for us. While working on the project, we learnt to make use of the various functions that such 3D modelling softwares could offer, which were not taught to us before. Instead, we had to search online for the relevant information and attempt to troubleshoot problems encountered with the software. This independent way of learning the software has added to our understand of modelling which may prove useful to us in the future. Apart from learning these hard skills, soft skills were definitely not left out. Due to the fact that a large portion of progress for the project will take place during the June holidays, each of the group members had to learn to work together, planning out the progress of the project while accounting for each members' schedules. While there were times where teamwork was not very evident throughout the course of the project, i believe that in the end everyone still played a part in contributing to the project. One major problem encountered by the group is the case of the missing security key. While we had the foot scanner, which is required for us to scan our feet and create an insole, the security key for the scanner was missing and we could not carry out scanning. This was a major problem particularly because without this scan, we could not progress further. In an attempt to counter this problem, we tried shipping another key from overseas and pushing for the delivery of the security key, however it still did not arrive. I feel that this is not exactly he best decision in handling this problem presented to us. While desperately waiting for the security key to arrive, we neglected the testing of materials for the insole, which is something that we could have done to actually have some real progress in the project. Furthermore, testing of the materials was also a rather important part of our project and it is a pity that we neglected it. As a result of our incapability, we were not able to produce a final product for the semi-finals presentation, and we rightfully did not make it to the finals. Clearly, our method of handling the problem at hand was not effective and reflecting, I feel that we definitely could have done more to improve.

Group Members :

I embarked upon this project with a group of like-minded friends, all of us with a passion for experimental research and accumulating different experiences. Hence, we decided to take on this project in the STEM category. Overall, this project was incredibly fruitful as we encountered many problems and were out of our comfort zone. We often had to think of creative solutions to our problems and conduct extensive research. Independent learning was also a large factor in the success of our project as we had to learn many new software programming. For example, to design the insole, we had to make use of a programme called solidworks,a 3d modeling software. None of us had any prior experience in it and we hence relied on YouTube tutorials, Google, various websites and trial and error to learn how to effectively use this software. It took us several weeks but we persevered and eventually became pretty decent at using the software. Next, our projects aim was to use 3d modeling software to construct a shoe insole which, of course, has to be comfortable and suitable for wearing. None of us have any prior experience in this, but with extensive references and googling, we were eventually able to construct a comfortable shoe insole in the program solidworks. Another problem we encountered was the fact that one of the machines we were supposed to gain access to was barred from us due to unforeseen circumstances. The machine in question is a foot scanner to give a schematic/model of a foot by scanning it and making it easier for us to construct 3d models of the insoles. However, as we were unable to gain access to this machine, you can imagine that we were severely handicapped. Instead of giving up, we decided to take on the challenge of constructing a 3d model of a shoe insole without any prior scanning of a model of a foot which made our job much harder. Through our perseverance and our willingness to conduct self directed and independent learning with help from the Internet, we were successful in creating a 3d model of a shoe insole that was approved by our external mentor's associate that was aiding us over the course of the project. Hence, I feel that the strategies we employed to overcome this initial steep learning curve was rather adequate as not only were we able to succeed , we did so with minimal help from our external mentor who only had to provide the program. This project was challenging and this was what made this experience so fruitful-through my encounters of these challenges, I learnt to rely on myself, be independent and learn by myself while not giving up in the face of adversity as well. All in all, this project has provided me with a truly unique experience in the challenges that I faced thereby enriching me as both a student and a person. A truly memorable experience that I will never forget .
We started off this project knowing nothing about 3D modelling. When we chose the stem category, we were given a few choices to choose from, one of which was 3D modelling of figurines. being curious at how 3D modelling can produce figurines my group decided on the project and went with it. However, when we went down to NTU to discuss the project with the external mentor, he told us that the project on figurines were more or less completed, so he gave us a new challenge: to revolutionise the market of insole creation which we accepted as our project. The goal of the project was to create a quick, efficient method for insole creation, as with the increase in medical tourism, there is an increasing number of patients travelling worldwide to overcome feet issues such as flat feet. after treatment, they require insoles complementary to their feet, which could take days to create. thus, the polyjet technology is supposed to be as simple as scanning the feet, a quick touch up, and printing the insole. however, over the course of the project, we faced 3 major problems: 1.the security key was not delivered until after the semi-final judging. 2. lack of fundings available that hindered us from obtaining enough materials for beta testing 3.our lack of experience in the field of 3D printing. The security was the main source of the issue. As the machine could not work without the key, we could not carry out the project as we could not scan our feet, thus, we have no hands on experience on the key focus of the project itself. the lack of funding was also had a heavy impact. materials are extremely expensive, and without spare funds, we could not experiment the materials to find the best combination of rubber and plastic for synergy between comfort and durability. we also could not carry out beta testing for testing out the modelling of the shoe. our lack of knowledge and experience in the field also hindered our ability to test it out properly as all of us were using solidworks for the first time and encountered many technical difficulties. to overcome the problem, we spent many days experimenting with solidworks and testing out its features so as to get used to the programme. even without the security key, we tried to model flat foot insoles based on insoles downloaded online. however, we did not print it out as we feared that it would waste needed materials we could use when the security key comes in. excuses aside, my group should have did better by testing out with strips of materials, by using strips, we could sparingly test for the perfect combination of rubber and plastic without wasting too much materials. we did our best and not getting past semi-finals was a part and parcel of this project. the most important thing was that we could be exposed to 3D printing, thus giving us an unforgettable experienced. the team mates were also cooperative and everyone played their essential role in the project. Despite not managing to get into finals, the experience was enriching and definitely enjoyable.
My project is entitled “Use of PolyJet Technology in manufacture of personalized insoles”. This project is about using a 3D printing technology to 3D print shoe insoles. 3D printing technology is a very powerful tool as it can allow users to customize their product, printing even the most intricate design, and also to save time. Furthermore, one can also design insoles for people with special needs such as flat-footed people. Our goal for this project was to successfully 3D print a shoe insole to prove that 3D printing is indeed more useful than the traditional way of making shoe insoles. The most effective way of achieving our goal would be to use a feet scanner so that the structure of the feet can be scanned and the file can be transferred into SolidWorks (3D designing software). From there, our group would continue on to create a complementary model to fit the feet model and then transfer it to the 3D printing machine to 3D print our insole. The PolyJet Technology allows us to control the percentage of composition of the materials used to create the insole. There are two main materials used in the manufacturing of the insoles: ABS plastic and rubber. We planned to try out different composition of the two materials and use test like tensile testing and human trial to determine how tough the insole is and also whether the insole would be comfortable. However, our group was unable to use the feet scanner due to some problem and had difficulty continuing the project. We decided to get through this problem by downloading a feet model from online and continuing the project from there. However, due to time management problem and lack of experience with SolidWorks, we were unable to design a proper model which could be printed with the 3D printer. If given more time, we would have skip the designing of the insole model and just go straight to 3D printing the insole to test which composite of material would produce the most suitable insole. In a nutshell, I learn that 3D technology is a very powerful tool and more people should get to understand how it works as it may affect their lives as well. Not only does 3D printing saves time and allow for intricate design, it can also be used in areas such as during a disaster when tools are limited. Before this project, my knowledge of 3D printing is very limited. I had only knew that organs and certain designs can be 3D printed but I never knew that there could be so much more to 3D printing.