Shoe Last Maker is a plugin for the commercial CAD software Rhino3D and can be downloaded here. The following is a guide to getting started using Shoe Last Maker. If you’re new to Rhino, you might watch this interface tutorial first, and try out their free trial.
Installing the Plugin
Once you have the rhp file, load it into Rhino either by dragging and dropping or by going to Tools/Options/Plug-ins/install. Note that you may need to set permissions on the plugin first. To do this, right click the rhp file, select properties, and there should be an option to grant permission to the plugin. It’s also sometimes necessary to make sure that the plugin is enabled in the plugin list.
If you are just updating to the latest version, please see this page: Loading New Versions of Shoe Last Maker
Shoe Last Maker Panel
Shoe Last Maker is best operated via the panel. To open the panel, type the command “OpenShoeLastMakerPanel” (without quotes) in the Rhino3D command prompt. The panel will appear and you can dock it in various locations. The recommended location is on the right side as shown in the screenshot below. Below the screenshot are summaries of what the various controls do.
Pause Button (Previously On/Off)
The pause button temporarily disables the plugin routines of writing to saved Rhino files. Note that the plugin is paused by default until it is used so as not to interfere with other work in Rhino. Pausing is useful when you want to copy and paste something for reference while working with Shoe Last Maker, as it prevents the reading and writing the plugin ordinarily does.
Parametric Editing Buttons
These buttons are used when parametrically editing shoe last or component. To start editing, select an editable curve and click the edit button, or vice versa. Dimensions that can be altered are then shown. To change one, click it and a form comes up where a new value can be entered. Simply type in a new number (no need for percent or degree symbols) and press enter (escape key cancels). After changing one or more dimension values, the Update button can be pressed to see the effects of the changes. Once satisfactory changes have been made, the End button will apply the changes and return to standard viewing mode.
General Steps Buttons
These are buttons for carrying out the general workflow of the plugin:
refers you to a manufacturer that can use the Shoe Last Maker CAD files to produce physical shoe lasts and components.
This button brings up a form with various options. A particularly useful option is “In Plane Editing”, which reorients the model to provide a planar view of the curve being edited (only possible when only one curve is being edited). Another useful option is “Show Surfaces When Updating”. This slows things down quite a bit given surfaces have to be redesigned on each update, but it does help to see the full impact of parameter changes. This option is best used with “In Plane Editing” turned off.
Clipping Plane Selection and Slider
When designing a shoe last, it helps to be able to check various cross sections for smoothness. To do this, enable the clipping plane via the check box, choose which view you would like to look at (hover for the full plane name), and then move the slider to position the clipping plane.
As explained above, pressing the Build button in the panel brings up the build form used when creating a new shoe last. Below is a screenshot of the build form followed by an explanation of the various controls.
Working with Templates
Template files are available on the shoe last design templates page. You can also create your own templates simply by saving a design your are working on. The saved 3DM file has the template parameters attached to it. New shoe lasts based off of the new shoe last templates can be developed by putting the file location of the new template into the build form. Please make sure there is no space in the file or file location, as Rhino sees them as ‘return’ key presses.
Occasionally there may be updates to the plugin that affect design templates. If you notice any issues after updating to the latest plugin version, then it is best to open the template and rebuild and re-save it prior to using it as a template.
Working with Reference Data
When developing a shoe last in Shoe Last Maker, it sometimes helps to have some reference data. Foot geometry can of course be managed by importing a foot. But other reference data such as 3D models of a shoe or just pictures or sketches can also be helpful. To manage such data, its best to create a new layer in Rhino and then lock it while you are editing the shoe last.
Shoe Last Maker is still in the very early Beta stages, and as thus still has quite a number of bugs. The following are a few tips to help you avoid some of the more common issues: