Custom orthotic insoles with gradual variable stiffness using 3D printed spacer technique

Yoav Sterman, Dana Solav, Noga Rosen, Eshraq Saffuri, Liza Shmilov Zaritsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


3D-printing enables fabricating insoles with locally variable mechanical properties that can better redistribute plantar pressure by altering the mechanical structure. However, current approaches have limitations in terms of speed, strand thickness, and gradual stiffness transitions. To address this, our research proposes utilising the 3D-printed Spacer technique. Our approach involves 3D-printing the insole on their lateral side, with gradual stiffness transitions achieved by modulating the feed speed and material extrusion, enabling strands thinner than the nozzle diameter, while eliminating travel movements. We present a workflow for customisation and fabrication of insole geometry utilising 3D foot scans and automatic g-code generation directly from our design tool. Additionally, we introduce a novel automated support removal process using a hot-wire cutter mounted on a 6-axis robotic arm. We evaluated the printed structures’ mechanical properties and durability through compression tests and assessed the insoles’ performance using a user wear test that included pressure distribution analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2336151
JournalVirtual and Physical Prototyping
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • 3D printed insoles
  • extrusion modulation
  • fused deposition modeling
  • lattice structures
  • pressure distribution
  • spacers

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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