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I noticed foot arches are already digitized, but custom arch supports are usually expensive. PLA and ABS aren't the best material for printing arch supports, especially if they replace the shoe's innersole.

Is there a more flexible material for 3D printing that could be used for making custom orthotics?

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The standard choice for this would be TPU, thermoplastic polyurethane.

TPU is a common filament material for use in fused filament fabrication 3D printing due to the fact that it is an elastic thermoplastic which makes it ideal for printing objects that need to be flexible and elastic.

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Properties of commercially available TPU include:

  • high abrasion resistance
  • low-temperature performance
  • high shear strength
  • high elasticity
  • transparency
  • oil and grease resistance

In addition to TPU, there are plasticizer-modified PLA filaments with similar flexibility, but not necessarily with the other nice properties like abrasion resistance. I've printed with one from 3D Solutech and had good results, after figuring out what to do about stringing.

Also, it's possible to achieve a decent degree of flexibility merely with printed geometry, rather than special materials. It's possible that PETG with an appropriate geometry could work for your application.

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An alternative is to use PLA, ABS or PETG to print a positive product to make a mold, or print a negative mold and create a more flexible foot arch support from something more flexible than TPU, e.g. silicone rubber.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is another good option. You can get somewhat softer TPU (which is of course increasingly hard to print well), or use infill geometry to achieve a softer print though if you want to print directly. $\endgroup$ – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Jun 9 '19 at 15:41
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Armadillo by Ninjatek is perfect with 100 % infill and 6 layers 6 walls and 6 the other thing? As a foot pharmacist I can say the cost is associated with the education as pedorthic modalities are different to each person. Ideally it would be easy to 3D print arch supports, but it would also be easy to "hurt" the person wearing them. buy a book on pedorthics before u wear them!

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