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Orthotic Insoles (Customizeable)

by dsnettleton, published

Orthotic Insoles (Customizeable) by dsnettleton Feb 4, 2013


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Create customized orthotic insoles using the makerbot customizer. These provide arch support, and are designed to spring a bit when you step. They may have variable thicknesses, and can be modified to fit each foot separately.

Note: Fixed a problem with the mesh; customizer should work properly now.


Measure your feet in millimeters and adjust accordingly. If your only measuring tape is in inches, you can convert by multiplying the number of inches by 25.4.
Customize these, print them out, and slip them under your shoe's insoles for solid, springy arch support. Typically, orthotic inserts such as these cost upwards of one hundred dollars. Per pair. With these customized inserts, you can print out a set that fits your feet, and create as many pairs as you need, nevermore having to switch out your inserts every time you switch shoes.
Print these out and try them. You won't want to go back!

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For those with heel structure issues
Cut off bottom layer 1-2mm depending on your size, adjust arch height by this amount and end of arch width by 1/3 of this -play with these values for your own fit and comfort

  • Podiatrist in Brisbane Australia
    -Great work by author!
Feb 12, 2015 - Modified Feb 12, 2015

Could you, please, add an option to make the hill empty? I mean, just leave the small thing around it with the hole in the center, so the hill would touch and suppress the shoe and not the printed insole in this place? Thanks.

As a Podiatrist I would suggest you make them in ABS rather than PLA as you can then adjust them with a heat gun (hot air paint stripper!) and they would be less brittle. Also you could stick a layer of thin leather or cushioning materials as Swan foam, Poron, moleskin or other synthetic covers, all available from podiatry or pharmaceutical suppliers.
I might try and make a pair if I have time and see how they compare with my normal cast heat mouldable orthotics.
Will let you know.

Yes, please let me know. I'm actually testing a pair of 3d printed high heels. Once finished testing, I will post it online. Thanks.

Sep 15, 2014 - Modified Sep 23, 2014

Great design!
I didn't believe how much difference it makes while long walks!
First hour or two you have to get use to it, after that you don't want to switch back =)
Highly recommended to everyone!

Few days tests shown that the part under the hill bursts into pieces =( It doesn't really cause any trouble until one of the pieces moves a bit.
I'm just 70 kg, so there must be something in the design which can be improved. I've tried both thin and medium version on 2 different pair of shoes.
And thanks again for the great design!

I can see where the issue is and it is because the Arch part has nothing there. What needs to be done is to have something there such as a 3mm wide strip and add about three or four of them and that should help. Adding them will still allow some flex unless you weigh in at 25-35 kilos or something as anorexic like.

No, the arch support part is okay. The part under the heel is the problematic one.

Ahhh, the heel would need even more support since it is the part of the foot, for the normal human, that will take the most beating and have the most weight on it. Hmmm, I wonder how we could support that part? Arch I have but heel? Nope, I am out of ideas to help that.

I've printed a few more and I admit - I've finally perfectly dialed them in - so comfy and springy =)

But I'm still fighting the shattering problem =( Here you can see the photos: https://plus.google.com/115495197161642021124/posts/BgQLNS1baUp

At the moment I'm testing different infill types and directions.

Have you tried Honeycomb and Concentric? I would think Concentric would be best.

Concentric is sturdier, but still shatters ((( Any ideas? Shall we try it with flex filament? Or better go with nylon?

Not nylon you want something that will flex with the foot so one of the newer rubberized filaments I would think.

But then it will not spring and provide support for the arc?

A quandary for sure. Heel, and toe area in Flexi and the arch support will need a separate piece in something else. There is no way it can be done, with the materials we can print, as an all in one. I know my Doctor Scholl's are this rubbery stuff and foam for the arch.

Well, why not to make just an arc support part with ABS and stick it under the original shoe insole? I'll try it as soon as I figure out how to cut the file in a smooth way. Any ideas?

Jun 16, 2015 - Modified Jun 16, 2015
DarkAlchemist - in reply to MonZon

I never brought that up for a couple of reasons. #1 I thought you had already tried it and #2 (the most important part) is that it will shift and slide around on people thereby causing more havoc, and possible injury, than not having it at all. It needs, at least, to have a heel section with it. I don't like these Dr. Scholls because they stop right at the ball of the foot and that ridge bothers me even though it is cushy. My last pair my departed wife bought me (I have no idea where from) and they were full support and lasted several years now. If I wore the shoes every single day I figure 1-2 years of usage.

Yeah, I've tried it =D First time I've cut the hill part and it was terribly fiddly. Second time I've tried to cut some plastic from the hill part, leaving a contour to make the insole stay in place. This time it was better, but the ridges was sharp and felt uncomfortable and eventually they broke. After that my ideas finished. Somehow we can change this situation. Maybe some flexing abs springs or such? (like http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:46749 )

Parametric Curvy Flat Spring
by chkno
Jun 18, 2015 - Modified Jun 18, 2015
DarkAlchemist - in reply to MonZon

Possibly but look at that spring on its side as thingiverse shows it. That is how the gel insoles of Doctor Scholl's is made. They are not arch support but there must be something to that wavy pattern.

Jun 19, 2015 - Modified Jun 19, 2015
MonZon - in reply to DarkAlchemist

IMHO, that wavy pattern expands sideways under the pressure, which provides additional softness. Also it does flex a lot more than just solid rubber/gel material.
Aside from that, what if we make hill part in a '3d printed fabric' way? That way it is kinda floppy, but also would fix the insole inside the shoe?
Another idea I want to try is to buy an ordinary sport insole, modify your arc support (not the whole insole) to the thinnest way possible and glue it on the bottom side of the sport insole. The biggest trouble is that I can't edit your stl files in Inventor. Can you provide some source files?

I am not the designer of those stl files dsnettleton is.

Ooops, then this message for him)

Honeycomb is not good in this application. I'm using 100% infill. I'll try concentric next time.

Suggestions for improvement: consider adding a variable with the ability of lifting the heal height on one side (or the other) to assist correcting over-pronation or supination. It would be like adding a wedge on one side of the heal. For example, for over-pronation: the wedge would be in the inner part of the orthotics. Can you help?

Someday we will print braces for teeth, al a invissaline. Ankle brace for the sprain. New heal for the shoe -- because that's the part that wears out first. New frames, to stay in fashion, maybe even new lenses... or not. (Though you could print "pin hole" lens glasses). Maybe a belt, or suspenders, and a matching band for your watch -- if you have a few hours notice, but have no desire to go our shopping. Flower for your lapel.

Custom ear plugs (they actually are formed to your ear canal... or adapter for make in-ear monitors that are customized for each person.

3D printing brings a whole new level of health and customization possibilities to life.

How can i add a heel wedge and/or a heel cup??

Wow, this is cool, and the first thing to really impress the wife. I'm not sure I got the right distances though. How does one with a foot as flat as mine figure out where the arch begins and ends? Anyone have a good link?

This is very cool and could save people hundreds of dollars. I question whether people should be generating these on their own without the input of a specialist, though. Maybe a doctor should analyze your design and see if it is effective.

You could also measure one that you already have. I would love to see some open source design rules of thumb from a specialist.

That's exactly what I did. I have high arches, and I used my own orthotic insert as a reference. A specialist would be very useful in perfecting the design, but its effectiveness can be determined by testing.

It has been on our list for awhile, but you have done a spectacular job. Thank you - this is going to help a lot of people. Minor suggestions for improvement - consider adding the ability to both add additional heal height and change the tilt angle of the base to assist correcting over pronation and supination.

These are some really good ideas, but I'm not sure how to measure them. It's simple enough to find the height of my arch, but it can be tricky determining how much heel height should be added, or how much to alter the tilt angle. Any ideas?

I was thinking that those would be variable as well - and again like you said people could print and do the comparison themselves. So for example if they over pronate - bump one side up a degree or two, print, stand on it and then have a friend tell you -- not right - try again. Once you have your setting dialed in then you can make as many copies as you like....

A request: could you add an option (or copy) with the bottom flat? That way it could be printed with no support, and with a minimal info (10%? 5%)? it might still be springy.

I got kinda close with making it thick (thickness=20) and chopping off the bottom:

difference() {
translate([0, -endOfArch/2.0, 0]) {
if (whichFoot == 0) {
else {
mirror([1,0,0]) { drawMesh(); }
translate([-200,-200,-25]) cube([400,400,40]);

but it had really weird artifacts around the edges and it didn't compile properly. So my 'hack' didn't work, so I am asking you.

Same request from me - I printed one of these using flexible/soft PLA and the results were very encouraging. Well done.

Where did you get the flexible PLA? I have read about it, but haven't found a source of 1.75mm flexible PLA filament. Have you?

I bought it from GRRF.DE on a big spool so I think that it will last me some time! My filament is of the 3mm flavour - used in my Mendel90.

It is also possible to use a second extruder to give the springy effect -- see http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:39954http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

Wow, this is amazing! Very clever how you pre-generated the meshes and scale them in OpenSCAD. I was trying to do the mesh generation dynamically in OpenSCAD to do something similar, and losing my mind!

Thanks. I actually made the mesh in Blender, put the vertices in groups according to the adjustments I wanted to make, and wrote an export script to generate the .scad file. I've made the flat-bottomed inserts you've requested, though they're untested. Let me know if I need to make any adjustments.