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Publication numberUS20020023306 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/741,030
Publication dateFeb 28, 2002
Filing dateDec 21, 2000
Priority dateDec 21, 1999
Publication number09741030, 741030, US 2002/0023306 A1, US 2002/023306 A1, US 20020023306 A1, US 20020023306A1, US 2002023306 A1, US 2002023306A1, US-A1-20020023306, US-A1-2002023306, US2002/0023306A1, US2002/023306A1, US20020023306 A1, US20020023306A1, US2002023306 A1, US2002023306A1
InventorsMohammad Sajedi, Ahmad Hemami
Original AssigneeSajedi Mohammad Hassan, Ahmad Hemami
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System, method and computer program product for forming a reconfigurable cavity and an expandable shoe last and for constructing a shoe
US 20020023306 A1
Abstract
The present invention is an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is directed to a system, method and computer program product for creating a three-dimensionally reconfigurable cavity. The system can include a container that is configurable to create a three dimensional cavity. The system can be operative to form a footwear last in the cavity. The last can be formed from a plastic-like material. The system can include a blow molding apparatus having at least one directional deflector. The container can be capsule, hemispherical, cylindrical, or spherical-shaped. The system can include a container having holes to receive rods. The system can include an array of rods. The rods can be movable through the container. The system can further include rods that are threaded; gear-driven; coupled to a belt; coupled to a partial belt; or belt-driven. The cavity can be formed by an inner end of the rods. If more than one rod occupies a single point of the cavity, then only one rod participates in forming the cavity and other rods will not participate. Participating rods can be selected according to an optimizing module. The software module can determine an intersection of a rod with a digitized cluster of points representing a 3 dimensional surface. A method of forming a footwear last from a collapsible and expandable last is described.
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Claims(22)
What is claimed is:
1. A system for creating a reconfigurable cavity comprising:
a container having a three dimensionally reconfigurable cavity.
2. The system according to claim 1, wherein said container comprises:
holes to receive rods.
3. The system according to claim 1, wherein said container comprises at least one of:
a capsule-shaped container,
a spherical-shaped container,
a conical-shaped container, and
a cylindrical-shaped container.
4. The system according to claim 1, further comprising:
an array of rods.
5. The system according to claim 4, wherein said rods are operative to move through said container.
6. The system according to claim 4, wherein said rods are at least one of:
threaded;
gear-driven;
coupled to a belt;
coupled to a partial belt; and
belt-driven.
7. The system according to claim 4, wherein said cavity can be formed by an inner end of said rods.
8. The system according to claim 7, wherein if more than one rod occupies a single point of said cavity, then one rod participates in forming said cavity and other rods do not participate.
9. The system according to claim 8, wherein participating rods are selected according to an optimizing module.
10. The system according to claim 9, wherein said optimizing module maximizes the number of participating rods.
11. The system according to claim 9, wherein a software module determines an intersection of a rod with a digitized cluster of points representing a 3 dimensional surface.
12. The system according to claim 1, wherein said cavity can be used for any operation and for any field of industry.
13. The system according to claim 12, wherein said field of industry includes at least one of:
pouring in the cavity,
blowing in the cavity,
forming a collapsible and expandable last in the cavity,
lasting footwear in the cavity, and
rotating in the cavity.
14. A method for producing a collapsible and expandable footwear last comprising:
(a) reconfiguring in three dimensions a shape of a cavity.
15. The method according to claim 14, further comprising:
(b) forming a collapsible and expandable last in said cavity.
16. The method according to claim 14, wherein said last is formed from a plastic material.
17. The method according to claim 14, further comprising:
(b) blow molding a last in said cavity including directionally deflecting.
18. A computer program product embodied on a computer-usable medium, the computer program product comprising program code means for producing a last comprising:
program code means for enabling a computer to reconfigure in three dimensions a shape of a cavity.
19. A method of lasting an article of footwear comprising:
forming a pattern for a shoe upper from a first stock material with first stitch markers;
forming a pattern for a lasting sock from a second stock material with second stitch markers, wherein said second stitch markers have a one-to-one correspondence with said first stitch markers; and
attaching a perimeter of the lasting sock to a bottom edge of the shoe upper such that every second stitch marker is attached to the corresponding first stitch marker forming an attached shoe upper and lasting sock enclosure.
20. The method of claim 19, further comprising:
inserting a collapsible and expandable shoe last into the attached shoe upper and lasting sock enclosure.
21. The method of claim 19, further comprising:
shaping the attached shoe upper and lasting sock enclosure including:
expanding the collapsible and expandable shoe last until a final shoe shape is reached.
22. The method of claim 19, further comprising:
fitting the shoe including:
reinserting the collapsible and expandable shoe last into the shoe; and
expanding the collapsible and expandable shoe last until the shoe is stretched by a small increment in length and width.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to an apparatus, systems and methods for producing a shoe last and a related method of shoe construction.

[0003] 2. Related Art

[0004] As is apparent to those skilled in the art and the profession, “lasts” are fundamental to mass-production or custom-made shoe manufacturing, since lasts dictate the exact shape, size and fit of the shoes made on the lasts. Last design can depend on fashion trends as well as on anatomy of the foot.

[0005] Conventionally, in a shoe mass-production process cycle, a last stylist must be able to forecast fashionable shoe styles about one year before the shoes are to be sold in shops. The stylist can create a model last using a 3D computerized last design software package and a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) cutting machine or a traditional method of carving the model last from a block of wood. The model is then prepared for turning a pair of sample size lasts. The sample lasts are used for making sample shoes for fitting trials, etc. Alterations are made as necessary until the lasts are satisfactory. Then the model is scaled up and down the size range for further tests before bulk production. The last can be manufactured in bulk from plastic last blocks. A large stock of last blocks are conventionally maintained to meet any sudden demand, such as a radical change in fashion.

[0006] A typical sequence of operations to transform a last block to a standard hinge type last can include:

[0007] 1) cutting a last block to the rough shape of the required last, using a band saw;

[0008] 2) turning for rough-turning (an “incoma” machine can turn two pairs, i.e., lefts and rights, at the same time);

[0009] 3) drilling hinge pin holes and cutting a ‘V’ gap in a comb (one machine can do this);

[0010] 4) sawing the circle and dividing the last using a jig;

[0011] 5) cutting a hinge slot;

[0012] 6) making and inserting a hinge;

[0013] 7) inserting hinge pins, and knocking the pins in well to prevent damage to knives on the smooth turning lathe;

[0014] 8) performing smooth turning (two pairs at a time);

[0015] 9) removing a toe stud;

[0016] 10) cutting a toe plate rebate if necessary;

[0017] 11) remove a heel stud;

[0018] 12) shaping a heel to a template;

[0019] 13) rivetting on a top piece (i.e., a back comb) and trim;

[0020] 14) drilling thimble and ferrule holes (or combination thimble hole);

[0021] 15) inserting a thimble;

[0022] 16) rivetting on bottom plates, and moulding if necessary and smoothing the edges;

[0023] 17) drilling through a seat plate in line with the thimble or ferrule holes (if specified for temporary heel attachment);

[0024] 18) examining for:

[0025] (a) accuracy of bottom (i.e., checking with a pattern),

[0026] (b) heel curve (i.e., checking with a template), and

[0027] (c) stick length;

[0028] 19) scouring (as little as possible);

[0029] 20) color marking for size and fitting; and

[0030] 21) inserting counter point and vamp tacks (which can include locating the counter point by means of a template and the vamp point with dividers).

[0031] Sophisticated 3D computerized last design software packages can be of great assistance to the shoe stylist and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) cutting machines can shorten the model making time considerably. To date, last mass-production from plastic last block still generally follows the above mentioned twenty-one step sequence of operations which is conventionally of very high cost and is very labor intensive.

[0032] Another lengthy part of the mass-production process cycle that also requires skilled labor is sample shoes. The sample shoes are conventionally made by hand one-by-one.

[0033] The process of shaping a shoe upper over a last and then securing it in such a way that the shape of the last is retained is conventionally referred to as “lasting.” The lasting process for footwear is unique as it is achieved by stretching, pressing and distorting 2D shoemaking materials into a 3D shape, using the last, and then using a way to keep the shape of the last. On a factory floor, different lasting machines can be used to last the forepart, waist and seat of a shoe. To get the shoe making material to lay down ‘tight-to-last’, the lasted shoe can be passed through yet another machine called a “heat setter.” Conventionally, employing mechanical machinery for the lasting operation is disadvantageous because it requires elaborate and lengthy setup time and is very expensive. Mechanical machinery also requires high capital investment, frequent complicated maintenance, and much energy.

[0034] For custom-made shoes using conventional techniques, after a shoe style is chosen the customer's feet are measured and digitized. The digital data of the feet measurement can be fed into a 3D last design software package to determine the shape of the corresponding last. The output of the 3D last designer is inputted to a CNC cutting machine to produce a pair of lasts. A skilled shoemaker can manually make a pair of shoes from the machine formed lasts. Again, elaborate and costly equipment, setup and skilled labor are involved in producing a pair of custom-made lasts.

[0035] What is needed then is an improved system, method and computer program product for generating a shoe last and for constructing shoes using the improved last, overcoming the shortcomings of conventional solutions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0036] An exemplary embodiment of the invention is directed to an apparatus for forming a blow-molded article, such as, e.g., a shoe last. The present invention is also directed to exemplary systems and methods, employing such an apparatus, for forming, e.g., such a shoe last. In an exemplary embodiment, the shoe last can be a collapsible and inflatable shoe last. In another exemplary embodiment, the present invention is directed to a method of shoe making. The shoes can in an exemplary embodiment be made from, e.g., leather, other natural, or man-made materials.

[0037] In view of the foregoing, a feature of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides systems and methods for producing shoe lasts that eliminate the need for traditional plastic lasts, a CNC cutting machine, lasting machines and a heat setter; and reduce the labor and the time required for making shoes either in large quantities or one-by-one.

[0038] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, an apparatus includes a 3-dimensionally adjustable cavity. The adjustable cavity can further include a blow molding apparatus. The adjustable cavity can allow an inflatable hollow last to be formed. The inflatable hollow last can be made of plastic. The inflatable hollow last can be formed using a blow-molding process according to the present invention.

[0039] The apparatus in an exemplary embodiment can include a capsule-shaped container. The capsule-shaped container can be covered with an array of rods. Other shaped containers can also be used to receive the rods. The rods in an exemplary embodiment can be threaded rods. In an exemplary embodiment, each rod can have a shape of, e.g., a cylinder, a pin, or a parabolic cylinder, or can have a cross-section of circular, oval, or polygonal such as hexagonal shape. The array of rods can include as many rods as can be packed in near proximity to one another. In an exemplary embodiment, the threaded rods can be packed together as closely as is physically possible.

[0040] The rods can be configured to be movable. In an exemplary embodiment, the rods can move in and out along an axis of the rod toward a centerline of the capsule shaped container.

[0041] A 3D last design software package can be used to create a last having a 3D shape. As the threaded rods move in or out along an axis of the rod, (in an exemplary embodiment radially) near to or away from the centerline of the container, a 3D last shape cavity can be created according to 3D shape of the last produced by a 3D last design software package. The 3D last shape cavity can be created by the combination of the inner ends of the array of rods. Where more than one rod can represent a single point, only one rod need participate and the redundant rod can be placed in a non-participating position.

[0042] In an exemplary embodiment, a mathematical algorithm can be used to calculate which of the rods of the array of rods should participate in creating the 3D last shape cavity. In an exemplary embodiment, non-participating threaded rods can be retracted away from the centerline axis of the container, while the participating threaded rods can be moved a calculated distance from the centerline of the container. Advantageously, custom requirements such as, e.g., foot deformities and shoe insert shapes can be added into the 3D last shape, and can be reflected in the generated cavity. As will be apparent to those skilled in the profession, the blow-molding apparatus with its adjustable cavity is suitable for any manufacturing process that can require a cavity in its processing. For example, the blow-molding apparatus could also be used for, e.g., a glove, a boot, other footwear, and other uses where a three-dimensional mold would be useful.

[0043] Any article drawn on a 3D design software package can be produced directly in the apparatus of the present invention. In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a 3D design software package “DUCT” can be available from DELCAM INTERNATIONAL PLC of Birmingham, UK. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the bottom of the inflatable plastic last can be shaped to follow any insert shape and contour of footwear.

[0044] Another feature of the present invention includes a method for producing shoes, including using an inflatable last. The method in one exemplary embodiment, can include forming a pattern for a shoe upper from a first material, forming a pattern for a non-stretch sock from a second material, and stitching a perimeter of the non-stretch sock to a bottom edge of the shoe upper. In one exemplary embodiment, the stitching can extend all around the perimeter of the non-stretch sock. In an exemplary embodiment, after the perimeter of the non-stretch sock is stitched to the bottom edge of the shoe upper, the shoe insole and/or shoe inserts, along with the collapsed inflatable plastic last can be inserted into a wet, stitched shoe upper and non-stretch sock. As pressurized air expands the inflatable last, the shoe upper can be stretched with the last. In one embodiment, the pressurized air can be heated air to enable drying the shoe upper while stretching to retain its final shape. The size of the shoe in one exemplary embodiment can be adjusted slightly by changing the pressure inside the inflatable last.

[0045] An exemplary embodiment of the present invention can be directed to a system, method and computer program product for creating a three-dimensionally reconfigurable cavity.

[0046] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the system can include a container having a three dimensionally reconfigurable cavity.

[0047] In another exemplary embodiment, the cavity can be operative to form a collapsible and expandible footwear last in the cavity. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the last can be formed from a plastic material.

[0048] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the system can further include a blow molding apparatus having at least one directional deflector.

[0049] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the system can further include a capsule-shaped container, a hemispherical-shaped container, a cylindrical-shaped container, a conical-shaped container, or a spherical-shaped container. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the system can include where the container has holes to receive rods.

[0050] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the system can further include an array of rods. In an exemplary embodiment, the rods can be movable through the container.

[0051] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the system can further include rods that are threaded; gear-driven; coupled to a belt; coupled to a partial belt; or belt-driven.

[0052] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the cavity can be formed by an inner end of the rods. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, if more than one rod occupies a single point of the cavity, then only one rod participates in forming the cavity and other rods will not participate.

[0053] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, participating rods can be selected according to an optimizing module. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a software module can determine an intersection of a rod with a digitized cluster of points representing a 3 dimensional surface.

[0054] In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention a method for producing a footwear last can include configuring a shape of a three-dimensionally readjustable cavity.

[0055] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the method can further include forming a collapsible and expandable last in the cavity. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the last can be formed from a plastic material.

[0056] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the method can further include blow molding a last in the cavity including directionally deflecting.

[0057] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, adjusting can be performed within a container wherein the container is a capsule-shaped container, a hemispherical-shaped container, a cylindrical-shaped container, conical-shaped container, or a spherical-shaped container.

[0058] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the method can further include moving rods through the container in order to obtain the shape of the cavity.

[0059] In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the rods can be threaded; gear-driven; coupled to a belt; coupled to a partial belt; or belt-driven. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the method can further include forming the cavity by inner ends of the rods. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, where if more than one rod occupies a single point of the cavity, then the method can include forming the cavity including using a participating rod and avoiding using other rods. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the method can include selecting a participating rod according to an optimizing module. In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the method can include determining an intersection of a rod with a digitized cluster of points representing a 3 dimensional surface.

[0060] Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is directed to a computer program product embodied on a computer-usable medium, the computer program product including program code means for enabling a computer to three-dimensionally reconfigure a shape of a cavity.

[0061] Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of lasting an article of footwear including forming a pattern for a shoe upper from a first stock material with first stitch markers; forming a pattern for a lasting sock from a second stock material with second stitch markers, wherein the second stitch markers have a one to one correspondence with the first stitch markers; and attaching a perimeter of the lasting sock to a bottom edge of the shoe upper such that every second stitch marker is attached to the corresponding first stitch marker forming an attached shoe upper and lasting sock enclosure.

[0062] In an exemplary embodiment, the method can include inserting a collapsible and expandable shoe last into the attached shoe upper and lasting sock enclosure.

[0063] In an exemplary embodiment, the method can include shaping the attached shoe upper and lasting sock enclosure including: expanding the collapsible and expandable shoe last until a final shoe shape is reached.

[0064] In an exemplary embodiment, the method can include fitting the shoe including reinserting the collapsible and expandable shoe last into the shoe; and expanding the collapsible and expandable shoe last until the shoe is stretched by a small increment in length and width.

[0065] Further features and advantages of the invention, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the invention, are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers generally indicate identical, functionally similar, and/or structurally similar elements. The left most digits in the corresponding reference number indicate the drawing in which an element appears first.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0066] The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following, more particular description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings:

[0067]FIG. 1 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an exemplary customized shoe retail manufacturing business of the present invention;

[0068]FIG. 2 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an isometric view of a blow molding apparatus for forming inflatable hollow plastic last in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of this invention;

[0069]FIG. 3 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a longitudinal cross-sectional view of FIG. 2, of the present invention;

[0070]FIG. 4 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an exploded isometric view of FIG. 2, of the present invention;

[0071]FIG. 5 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an exploded longitudinal cross-sectional view of FIG. 2 of the capsule-shaped container of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2, of the present invention;

[0072]FIG. 6 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a partially cutaway isometric view of the drive mechanism (with two motor assemblies in their chained position) of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2, of the present invention;

[0073]FIG. 7 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an enlarged isometric view of the top portion of the drive mechanism of FIG. 6 from different angle.

[0074]FIG. 8 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an exploded isometric view of the motor assembly of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2, of the present invention;

[0075]FIG. 9 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an isometric view of the end chain mechanism of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2, of the present invention;

[0076]FIG. 10 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a transverse cross-sectional isometric view of the support stand mechanism of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2, of the present invention;

[0077]FIG. 11 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an exploded isometric view of the preform holder mechanism of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2, of the present invention;

[0078]FIG. 12 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an isometric view of the collapsible and expandable shoe last, of the present invention;

[0079]FIG. 13 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a computer system, of the present invention;

[0080]FIG. 14 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a motor controller electronics unit, of the present invention;

[0081]FIG. 15 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a motor controller of the motor controller electronics unit shown in FIG. 14, of the present invention;

[0082]FIG. 16 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a back plane of the motor controller electronics unit shown in FIG. 14, of the present invention;

[0083]FIG. 17 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an isometric view of a shoe manufactured according to the present invention;

[0084]FIG. 18 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a bottom view of the stitched shoe, of the present invention;

[0085]FIG. 19 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a plan representation of an upper pattern utilized in FIG. 17, of the present invention;

[0086]FIG. 20 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a plan representation of a lasting sock pattern utilized in FIG. 17, of the present invention.

[0087]FIG. 21 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an isometric view of a shoe enclosure manufactured according to the present invention;

[0088]FIGS. 22A, 22B, and 22C collectively depict an exemplary embodiment of flow charts representing the computer program module creating location of threaded holes on the capsule-shaped container as shown in FIG. 5, of the present invention;

[0089]FIGS. 23A, 23B, 23C, and 23D collectively depict an exemplary embodiment of flow charts representing the computer program module calculating the intersection of the inner threaded rods tip with the surface of the digitized shoe last as shown in FIG. 3, of the present invention; and

[0090]FIGS. 24A, 24B, and 24C collectively depict an exemplary embodiment of flow charts representing the computer program module deciding which of the threaded rods should participate in creation of the reconfigurable cavity as shown in FIG. 3, of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

[0091] A preferred embodiment of the invention is discussed in detail below. While specific exemplary implementation embodiments are discussed, it should be understood that this is done for illustration purposes only. A person skilled in the relevant art/profession recognizes that other components and configurations may be used without parting from the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0092] An example embodiment of a blow molding apparatus 104 as an element of a custom-made shoe making system 102 in accordance with the present invention is illustrated in an exemplary shoe store layout 100 of FIG. 1. The store layout 100 can include a style selection area 106, which can allow a customer to choose a desired shoe style from a shoe catalog. To help the customer to choose a virtual pair of shoes, a camera 108 can capture lower body image (waist down) from different directions and can display each image on a separate display screen 110. After choosing the most suitable shoe style, the customer can move to a foot measuring station 112. A skilled salesperson can measure the customer's left and right foot using a 3D digitizer 114. If there is a requirement for a shoe insert, a computerized foot impression unit 116 can be used to capture a digital representation of the impression of the undersurface of the foot. The foot impression data can be digitally sent to an automatic custom-made shoe inserts maker 118 to produce custom-made shoe inserts.

[0093] At this point, the customer can be presented with a 3D image of a final shoe shape on the computer 120 executing 3D last/shoe design software packages. The customer can make the final style and color changes on the 3D final shoe image.

[0094] The 3D shoe design software package can flatten the 3D last shape into a 2D form. Shoe upper, lining, protective sock, non-stretch sock, insole, sole and heel cover materials can be cut at a cutting station 120 using a computerized cutting table 198 according to the 2D form data generated by the 3D shoe design software package.

[0095] The heel can be cut from a block of materials such as, e.g., wood, at the heel cutting station 138 using a CNC milling machine 140.

[0096] Referring now to FIGS. 2-5, there is shown an exemplary embodiment of a blow molding apparatus 104 according to the present invention, including a reconfigurable cavity 304, i.e., a 3-dimensionally adjustable cavity that can be constructed in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention and can be employed for creating a collapsible and inflatable plastic shell type shoe last 1304.

[0097] The blow molding apparatus 104 can include, in an exemplary embodiment, a capsule-shape container assembly 202 that can house the reconfigurable cavity 304.

[0098]FIG. 2 depicts an exemplary embodiment of the capsule-shape container assembly 202 of the apparatus of the present invention.

[0099] The capsule-shape container assembly 202 can include, in an exemplary embodiment, a capsule-shape container assembly centerline 222, a pre-form sock holder assembly 208, an array of rods 210, various motor assemblies 204, which can be 360-degree motorbelts, or partial motorbelt assemblies 206, and end of chain assemblies, and support poles 212. As shown, the container 202, has two supporting stands 220. In an exemplary embodiment, advantageously, an additional spare supporting stand 220 can be used to enable setting motors and coupled rods at a location where the supporting stand 220 contacts the container 202. Advantageously, in an exemplary embodiment, the supporting stand 220 can be retractable. In one exemplary embodiment, the supporting stand 220 can be raised or lowed similarly to an air compressible jack.

[0100]FIG. 3 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a cross-sectional view of capsule-shaped container assembly 202, including cavity 304. The blow molding apparatus can create a last 306 within the cavity 304. Cavity 304 formed by moving the array of rods 210 in or out toward center line 222 as indicated, e.g., by rod 354 extending through capsule-shape container assembly 202. As can be seen, some rods 308 can stay back to allow other rods 310 to be extended further inward to form a smaller cavity 304. Algorithms according to the present invention can optimally determine which rods should be designated participating rods 310 versus non-participating rods 308, where multiple rods would converge on one point.

[0101]FIG. 4 depicts an exemplary embodiment of arrays of rods 210 including spherically radial rods 410 of the hemispheric portions 508, and cylindrically radial roads 412 of the cylindrical portions 506. Various rows of exemplary rods 426-468 are shown. Various rows of exemplary rods 424 are also shown. Rods 402 in an exemplary embodiment can be used to secure an access hole 518.

[0102]FIG. 5 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a capsule-shape container assembly 202 in an exemplary exploded cross-sectional view. The assembly 202 can, in an exemplary embodiment, have a cylindrical tube 506 capped off by a hemisphere shell 508, a hemisphere-half cylinder shell 514 and an access hatch 516 that completes the hemisphere-half cylinder shell 514. Tongue and groove locking mechanisms 504 can be used to attach the hemisphere shell 508 to the cylindrical tube 506, and the cylindrical tube 506 to the hemisphere-half cylinder shell 514. The array of rods 210, can pass through the container for creating the cavity. The array of rods 210 can act as screws for locking the shells 508, 506, 514 and 516 together, in one exemplary embodiment. The rods can be threaded rods in one exemplary embodiment.

[0103] The capsule-shape container assembly 202 can be further elongated, advantageously, by adding more than one cylindrical tube 506 to create a longer reconfigurable cavity 304. Alternatively, the cylindrical tube 506 can be left out entirely.

[0104] The capsule-shape container assembly 202, in an exemplary embodiment, can be covered with threaded holes 524 to keep each threaded rod 606 (shown in more detail below with reference to FIG. 6) of the array of rods 210 in position. The position of the threaded holes 524 located on the capsule-shape container assembly 202 can be calculated using a blow-molding apparatus control algorithm software 2202.

[0105] The access hatch 516, in an exemplary embodiment, can provide a means of reaching to the inside of the capsule-shaped container assembly 202. The access hatch 516 can rest on top of the half cylindrical tube 512 can be secured to the hemisphere-half cylinder shell 514 by, e.g., means of 10 screws 402 (three threaded holes 520 on each side of the half cylindrical tube 512 and four threaded holes 522 on hemisphere shell 510). The access hatch 516, in an exemplary embodiment, can provide a threaded access hole 518 for holding a preform-sock holder assembly 208 in the correct suspended position inside the capsule-shape container assembly 202.

[0106] FIGS. 6-10 will be described further below.

[0107] Referring back to FIG. 4, and in greater detail to FIG. 11, in an exemplary embodiment, the preform-sock holder assembly 208 can include an access tube 1104, a sock guide 1124, a core pin 1110, a preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R, a retaining ring 1106, and a cap 1116. The access tube 1104 outside wall can also be partially threaded so that it can be screwed into the threaded access hole 518 and can be capped from the top by the cap 1116. The access tube 1104 outside wall can also have a groove to stop the retaining ring 1106 from sliding up or down. The sock guide 1124, in an exemplary embodiment, can be a cutoff cone tube that can extend the preform-sock holder assembly 208 length with smaller diameter well into the middle of the cavity 304.

[0108] The core pin 1110 can also include a narrow tube 1126 that can conduct air from an adjustable air supply source (not shown) to a small reservoir 1128. The small reservoir 1128 in turn can force air through three air deflectors 1118 (that can point in a first direction), 1120 (that can point in a second direction), and 1122 (that can point in a third direction) into a preform 1108 that can cause the preform 1108 to inflate and stretch to take the shape of the cavity 304. The process can resemble that of rubber balloon inflation. The preform 1108 can be formed from a softened tube of polymers that can be reheated. The core pin 1110 outside wall can have a large ring 1130 to prevent the core pin 1110 from sliding up and down relative to the preform-core pin clamps 1112. The preform-core pin clamp 1112 can be made of two halves 1112L and 1112R that when closed can create an enclosure that can fit exactly around the core-pin 1110 and the preform 1108. The preform-core pin 1112L half can have two holes 1132 that interlock with two pins 1134 that can protrude from the preform-core pin 1112R and that can vice versa prevent the two halves 1112L and 1112R from sliding relative to each other. Extension plates 1114L and 1114R can be screwed to the top of the preform-core pin clamp 1112 to extend the preform-core pin clamp 1112 outward such that when the preform-core pin clamp 1112 with the extension plate 1114 is dropped inside the access tube 1104, the preform-core pin clamp 1112 can rest on the top edge of the access tube 1104. The access tube 1104 can be capped by the cap 1116 to hold the preform-core pin clamp 1112 in place. The core pin 1110 can be rotated inside the preform-core pin 1112 to let the three air deflectors 1118 (toward a first direction), 1120 (toward a second direction) and 1122(toward a third) direct the air inside the preform where it is needed most (for example, the toe and heel area).

[0109] Referring back to FIG. 2 and FIG. 6, the blow-molding apparatus 104 can include an array of rods 210 for forming the reconfigurable cavity 304 (shown in FIG. 3) that can be required for blow molding operation. The capsule-shaped container assembly 202 can be covered with the array of rods 210 (for example, a threaded rod 606 that can have a square boss at the top end).

[0110] Referring to FIG. 4, an array 210 of threaded rods 606 as shown in more detail in FIG. 6, can be as close as physically possible packed next to each other (for example, an array 210 of six thousand three hundred twenty six (6,326) threaded rods 606 can be used). Each of the threaded rods 606 can be arranged in parallel rows along the length of the capsule-shaped container assembly 202. Threaded rods 412 of FIG. 4 covering the cylindrical tube or section 506, half-cylinder tube or section 512 and the access hatch 516 can be passed through a capsule-shape container assembly 202 toward centerline 222 (for example, with one-hundred threaded rods 424 in each row and thirty-two rows with threaded rods having a center-to-center spacing of 0.25 inch and with each threaded rod having a diameter of 0.165 inch). Threaded rods 412 of FIG. 4 covering the two end hemisphere shells 508 and 510 can be passed through the center of each hemisphere shell 420 (for example, with one-hundred threaded rods 426 in first two rows, ninety-eight threaded rods 428 in third and forth rows, ninety-six threaded rods 430 in fifth row, ninety-four threaded rods 432 in sixth row, ninety-two threaded rods 434 in seventh row, eighty-eight threaded rods 436 in eighth row, eighty-six threaded rods 438 in ninth row, eighty-two threaded rods 440 in tenth row, seventy-eight threaded rods 442 in eleventh row, seventy-four threaded rods 444 in twelfth row, seventy threaded rods 446 in thirteenth row, sixty-four threaded rods 448 in fourteenth row, sixty threaded rods 450 in fifteenth row, fifty-four threaded rods 452 in sixteenth row, fifty threaded rods 454 in seventeenth row, forty-four threaded rods 456 in eighteenth row, thirty-eight threaded rods 458 in nineteenth row, thirty-two threaded rods 460 in twentieth row, twenty-six threaded rods 462 in twenty-first row, twenty threaded rods 464 in twenty-second row, twelve threaded rods 466 in twenty-third row, six threaded rods 468 in twenty-fourth row, one threaded rod 354 at the end of the hemisphere along the centerline of the capsule-shaped container assembly 202 with threaded rods having a center-to-center spacing of 0.25 inch and with each threaded rod having a diameter of 0.165 inch). Moving right to left across FIGS. 4 and 5, the last row of rods of the first hemisphere 510 is labeled row 472. The first row of rods of the first cylinder 512 is labeled row 474. The last row of the second cylinder 506 is row 470.

[0111] Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, to configure the desired cavity shape 304, threaded rods 412 of array 210 covering the cylindrical tube 506, half-cylinder tube 512 and the access hatch 516 can be positioned relative to the capsule-shaped container assembly centerline 222 and threaded rods 410 covering any of the two end hemisphere shells 508 and 510 can be positioned relative to the center of each hemisphere shell 420.

[0112] Referring to FIG. 6, a modular driving mechanism 602 can be designed to position any or all the six thousand three hundred twenty six (6,326) threaded rods 210 simultaneously, or a few of the threaded rods 424 at a time (for example, position a row of one hundred threaded rods 424 at a time).

[0113] Referring to FIG. 6 and 7, the modular driving mechanism 602 of FIG. 6 can include a motor assembly 708 of FIG. 7, that can rotate the threaded rod 606. FIG. 7 depicts an exemplary embodiment including a guide tube/shaft coupler 604 that can couple a squared motor shaft 802 to the threaded rod 606, as well as guide the movement of the threaded rod 606. FIG. 6 illustrates a Teflon ring 608 that can reduce the friction between the capsule-shaped container assembly 202 surface and the guide tube/shaft coupler 604.

[0114]FIG. 7 illustrates a stopper switch mechanism 702 that can signal that the threaded rod 606 has reached a reference position 718. As shown, FIG. 7 can include stopper switch mechanism 702 that can have an offset pin 704, a compression spring 706 to hold the offset pin 704 in place, and two conductive film rings 710 mounted on a non-conductive film material 712. As the threaded rod 606 reaches the reference position 718, the threaded rod 606 can push up the offset pin 704 and compression spring 706 to touch two conductive film rings 710 closing an open loop circuit 820 (shown in FIG. 8) that can generate an electrical signal to a motor controller electronics unit 1408 (described further below with reference to FIG. 14). FIG. 7 also depicts an exemplary embodiment of a guide tube/shaft coupler 604 having a short square hole 714 at one end to receive a squared motor shaft 802 and a long rectangular hole 716 at the other end to receive the threaded rod 606.

[0115]FIG. 8 depicts an exemplary embodiment of motor assembly 708 (not labeled) that can be used to position each rod 606 of an array of rods 210. The motor assembly 708 can include a stepper motor 804 that can position each rod 606 of an array of threaded rods 210 without any feedback. Motor assembly 708 can also include a square shaped shaft extension 802 that can be shrink-fitted to a round motor shaft 806. The round motor shaft 806 can convert the stepper motor round shaft 806 to a square shaft 802. When the square shaft 802 is inserted into the square hole 714 of the guide tube/shaft coupler 604, then the coupler 604 can create a locking mechanism so that both shafts can rotate without any slippage relative to each other. A motor receiving plate 808 can have two hollow tubes 810 on one edge, and a hollow tube 812 on the opposite edge. Two pins 816 can be used to interlock a hollow tube 812 of one receiving plate 808 to a pair of hollow tubes 810 of a second receiving plate 808. In an exemplary embodiment, two screws 814 are illustrated for fastening the stepper motor 804 to the motor receiving plate 808.

[0116] The two hollow tubes 810 along the edge of the motor receiving plate 808 can be mated as shown in reference numeral 610 of FIG. 6 or the illustration of FIG. 7, with a single hollow tube 812 along the other edge of an adjacent motor receiving plate 808 and pin 816 can lock together the adjacent motor receiving plates 808, forming a hinge type connector 610.

[0117] A number of the motor assemblies 204 (for example, one hundred (100) motor assemblies 204) can be hinged together like a chain to form a three hundred sixty-degree (360 degree) motor belt 204 around, e.g., the cylindrical tube or section 506, half-cylindrical tube 512 or the access hatch 516. The motor belt 204 can drive and position all the threaded rods in one row 424 relative to the centerline 222 of the capsule-shaped container assembly 202. In areas where a complete three-hundred sixty degree motor belt 204 can not be formed (for example, areas around the preform-sock holder assembly 208 and the two hemispheres shells 508 and 510) a partial motor belt 206 can be formed. An exemplary embodiment of a partial motor belt 206 can be formed from fewer motor assemblies 708 hinged together. The partial motor belt 206 can be held in place using an end of chain support pole 212 at each end as illustrated and described below with reference to FIG. 9. square hole 714 of the guide tube/shaft coupler 604, then the coupler 604 can create a locking mechanism so that both shafts can rotate without any slippage relative to each other. A motor receiving plate 808 can have two hollow tubes 810 on one edge, and a hollow tube 812 on the opposite edge. Two pins 816 can be used to interlock a hollow tube 812 of one receiving plate 808 to a pair of hollow tubes 810 of a second receiving plate 808. In an exemplary embodiment, two screws 814 are illustrated for fastening the stepper motor 804 to the motor receiving plate 808.

[0118] The two hollow tubes 810 along the edge of the motor receiving plate 808 can be mated as shown in reference numeral 610 of FIG. 6 or the illustration of FIG. 7, with a single hollow tube 812 along the other edge of an adjacent motor receiving plate 808 and pin 816 can lock together the adjacent motor receiving plates 808, forming a hinge type connector 610.

[0119] A number of the motor assemblies 204 (for example, one hundred (100) motor assemblies 204) can be hinged together like a chain to form a three hundred sixty-degree (360 degree) motor belt 204 around, e.g., the cylindrical tube or section 506, half-cylindrical tube 512 or the access hatch 516. The motor belt 204 can drive and position all the threaded rods in one row 424 relative to the centerline 222 of the capsule-shaped container assembly 202. In areas where a complete three-hundred sixty degree motor belt 204 can not be formed (for example, areas around the preform-sock holder assembly 208 and the two hemispheres shells 508 and 510) a partial motor belt 206 can be formed. An exemplary embodiment of a partial motor belt 206 can be formed from fewer motor assemblies 708 hinged together. The partial motor belt 206 can be held in place using an end of chain support pole 212 at each end as illustrated and described below with reference to FIG. 9.

[0120]FIG. 9 depicts an exemplary embodiment of an end of chain support pole 212. The end of chain support pole 212 can include an extrusion top plate 902 with two hollow tubes 904, and one hollow tube 906 along the two opposite edges of extrusion top plate 902. Extrusion top plate 902 can include, in an exemplary embodiment, a hole 908 at the center of the extrusion top plate 902, and a guide tube 910 that can be press fitted to the extrusion top plate 902. The guide tube 910 can slide, in an exemplary embodiment, over the threaded rod 606.

[0121]FIG. 10 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a support stand 220 of the present invention. Referring back to FIG. 2 momentarily, recall that the blow-molding apparatus 104 can be held on two supporting stands 220. Each supporting stand 220 can rest on any surface such as, e.g., a strong flat surface. Referring to FIG. 10, in an exemplary embodiment, supporting stand 220 can include a support stand base 1010, an air bag 1002 with two valves 1004 and 1006, and three supporting blades 1008 attached to a blade base 1012. The supporting blades 1008 can be thin enough that the supporting blades 1008 can fit between the threaded rod rows 424. The top edge of supporting blades 1008 can be arched, a half, or partial circle, in order to mate with, or support, the capsule-shaped container assembly 202. The supporting stands 220 can be positioned anywhere along the cylindrical part of the capsule-shaped container assembly 202. To raise or lower three supporting blades 1008 relative to a support stand base 1010, air bag 1002 can be inflated or deflated. The air bag 1002 pressure can be adjusted by outlet valve 1006 or inlet valve 1004. The inlet valve 1004 can be coupled to an air supply source. The outlet valve 1006 can be at atmospheric pressure.

[0122] In an exemplary embodiment, three supporting stands 220 can be included such that two supporting stands 220 can be used to support the cascade-madeup.

[0123] In order to avoid collision between the motor assemblies 204 and the supporting stand 220, a first spare supporting stand 220 can be raised and secured under the capsule-shaped container assembly 202, next, one of the two original supporting stands 220 can be lowered and removed.

[0124] Referring briefly to FIG. 13, under control of computer 1304, initially, a complete motor belt 204 or partial motor belt 206 can move the threaded rods 606 to the reference position 718. Referring briefly to FIGS. 3 and 5, participating threaded rod 310 covering the cylindrical tube 506, half-cylinder tube 512 and the access hatch 516 can be moved toward the centerline 222 of capsule-shaped container assembly 202. Participating threaded rod 310 covering the two end hemisphere shells 508 and 510 can be moved toward the center 420 of each hemisphere shell 508, 510, to create the cavity 304 for last shape. The non-participating threaded rods 308 can stay at the reference position 718.

[0125]FIG. 11 depicts an exemplary embodiment of the blow molding apparatus. After the desired 3D-cavity shape 304 has been formed, the access hatch 516 can be separated from the capsule-shaped container assembly 202 by removing the 10 screws 402 to create an opening to reach inside the container 202 and cavity 304. The access tube 1104, described above with reference to FIG. 11 can be screwed into the threaded access hole 518 deep enough that the access tube 1104 bottom edge is located just above the cavity 304 top edge. A protective sock 306 can be inserted, according to an exemplary embodiment, into the cavity 304 through the opening created by removing the access hatch 516. Sock guide 1124 can be slid over the neck of the protective sock 306. The protective sock 306 neck can be slid over the bottom part of the access tube 1104 until the protective sock 306 covers the access tube 1104 groove. The retaining ring 1106 can be applied to the access tube 1104 groove, over the neck of the protective sock 306. The access hatch 516 can be placed over the capsule-shaped container assembly 202. The access hatch 516 can be secured to the capsule-shaped container assembly layer 202 using the 10 screws 402. Air can be blown directly into the protective sock 306 through the access tube 1104. Air can also be blown directly into holes to flatten any wrinkles in the protective sock 306 and can also make the protective sock 306 conform to the cavity 304, as much as possible. The preform 1108 can be reheated using infrared light. The core pin 1110 can be inserted into the heated preform 1108.Extension plates 1114L and 1114R can be screwed to the top of the preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R using the screws 1136. The preform 1108 can be clamped to the core pin 1110 by bringing together the preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R. The clamped preform 1108 and core pin 1110 can be dropped into the hole of the access tube 1104. The cap 1116 can be screwed to the access tube 1104. Hot air can be supplied from the adjustable air supply source through the core pin narrow tube 1126 until the preform is fully expanded to conform to the cavity 304 shape. Cold air from the adjustable air supply source can be supplied in one exemplary embodiment through the core pin narrow tube 1126 to solidify the preform 1108.

[0126]FIG. 12 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a collapsible and inflatable shoe last 1202 according to the present invention. The improved shoe last 1202 can separate the access hatch 516, the protective sock 306, and the collapsible and inflatable shoe last 1202 from the capsule-shaped container assembly 202 by removing the 10 screws 402, remove the retaining ring 1106, slide down the protective sock 306 from the access tube 1104, unscrew and remove the cap 1116, unscrew the two screw sets 1136 and remove the extension plates 1114L and 1114R, slide out the preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R along with the core pin 1110 and the shoe last 1202, split the preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R, unplug the core pin 1110 from the top of the shoe last 1202, and now the collapsible and inflatable shoe last 1202 is ready to be used for shoe production.

[0127] The protective sock 306 can protect the expanding preform 1108 plastic material from the threaded rods 210 narrow ends and also can somewhat smooth out the cavity 304 curvature. The protective sock 306 can be made of thick stretchable or non-stretchable materials. If the protective sock 306 is made of non-stretchable material (for example, heat resistant cloth), then for every 3D shape last a matching sock is required. If the protective sock 306 is made of a stretchable material (for example, heat resistant rubber), then the same sock can be used for a verity of 3D shape lasts. In this embodiment a heat resistant cloth protective sock 306 is chosen.

[0128] Referring now to FIGS. 13 and 14 there is shown a control system 1302 for operating the blow molding apparatus 104 of FIGS. 2-5 and for calculating the position of each threaded rod 210 and generating sequence of commands to drive the stepper motor 804 of the driving mechanism 602. Control system 1302 can include computer 1304 and a motor controller electronics unit 1408 electrically connecting the computer 1304 to the blow molding apparatus 104. The present invention is computer platform independent. Computer 1304 in a preferred embodiment is a computer system running an operating system such as e.g., Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Mac/OS, or a version of UNIX. However, the invention is not limited to these platforms. Instead, the invention can be implemented on any appropriate computer system running any appropriate operating system, such as, for example, Solaris, Irix, Linux, HPUX, OSF, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, OS/2, Mac/OS. In one embodiment, the present invention is implemented on a computer system operating as discussed herein. In another embodiment, the present invention can be implemented on hardware such as a handheld device, for instance a two-way pager, a cellular phone, a digital phone, a watch, a wireless device, a laptop, notebook or subnotebook computer, and other computer type device such as, e.g., a micro-computer, a mini-computer and a mainframe computer.

[0129]FIG. 13 depicts an exemplary computer 1304 system. Other components of the invention, such as a blow-molding apparatus control software could also be implemented using a computer such as that shown in FIG. 13.

[0130] The computer system 1304 can include one or more central processing unit (CPU), such as CPU 1306. The CPU 1306 can be connected to a communication bus 1308. The computer system 1304 can also include a main memory 1310, preferably random access memory (RAM), and a secondary memory 1312. The secondary memory 1312 can include for example, a hard disk drive 1314 and/or a removable storage drive 1316, representing a floppy diskette drive, a magnetic tape drive, a compact disk drive, etc. The removable storage drive 1316 can read from and/or write to a removable storage unit 1318 in a well-known manner.

[0131] Removable storage unit 1318, also called a program storage device or a computer program product, can represent a floppy disk, magnetic tape, compact disk, etc. The removable storage unit 1318 can include a computer usable storage medium having stored therein computer software and/or data, such as object's methods and data.

[0132] The computer system 1304 also can include an input device such as (but not limit to) a mouse 1320 or other pointing device such as a digitizer, a keyboard 1322 or other data entry device, a display monitor 1324, and a control buffer unit 1328 all electrically interconnected by the communication bus 1308.

[0133] Computer programs (also called computer control logic), including object oriented computer programs, can be stored in main memory 1310 and/or the secondary memory 1312 and/or removable storage units 1318, also called computer program products. Such computer programs, when executed, can enable the computer system 1304 to perform features of the present invention as discussed herein. In particular, the computer programs, when executed, can enable the CPU 1306 to perform the features of the present invention. Accordingly, such computer programs represent controllers of the computer system 1304.

[0134] The keyboard 1322 can be employed by an operator for entering instructions into computer 1304 to operate the blow molding apparatus 104 as can be used to form the cavity 304. Computer 1304 can be used to calculate the position of each threaded rod 210. Computer 1304 can be used to configure the cavity 304. The cavity can be configured in 3 dimensions in an exemplary embodiment. To operate the computer, e.g., to generate a sequence of commands to drive, e.g., the stepper motor 804 of the driving mechanism 602, a user can use, e.g., any of the devices of FIG. 13 and 14. In an exemplary embodiment, in response to instructions that can be entered, central processing unit 1306 can cause display monitor 1324 to display messages indicating the current status of the blow molding apparatus 104 and can prompt the operator regarding what is to be done next. The CPU 1306 can cause control buffer unit 1328 and the motor controller electronics unit 1408 to operate the motor assemblies 602. In one exemplary embodiment, all the motor assemblies 602 (e.g., 100) that make up an exemplary motor belt 204, can simultaneously be operated to create a desired cavity 304.

[0135]FIGS. 13 and 14 depict an exemplary embodiment of a motor controller electronics unit 1408. The motor controller electronics unit 1408, in the exemplary embodiment, can include all the necessary electronics to control and drive the one hundred (100) motor assemblies 602 making up the motor belt 204 (simultaneously). Driving the motor assemblies 602 can include receiving the stopper switch mechanism 702 circuit 820 signals and acting upon the signals.

[0136]FIG. 14 depicts an exemplary motor controller electronics unit 1408. The exemplary motor controller electronics unit 1408 can include, in an exemplary embodiment, one hundred stepper motor driver/controller boards 1404. In an exemplary implementation embodiment, a DCB-25 driver and smart controller board available from ADVANCED MICRO SYSTEMS, Inc. of Nashua, N.H., U.S.A. can be used as a stepper motor driver/controller board 1404 and for driving the stepper motor 804.

[0137] The exemplary motor controller electronics unit 1408 can also include, in an exemplary embodiment, fifty exemplary back plane boards 1406. FIG. 15 depicts an exemplary embodiment illustrating two step motor controllers 1404 coupled to a backplane 1406.

[0138]FIG. 16 depicts an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of a backplane 1406. In an exemplary implementation embodiment, a DCMB 2-axis mother board available from ADVANCED MICRO SYSTEMS, Inc. of Nashua, N.H., U.S.A. can be used for interfacing with two stepper motor driver/controller boards 1404. The back plane boards 1406 can also receive the generated commands from the control buffer unit 1328 through an RS-232 input 1326. The back plane boards 1406 can also receive the stopper switch mechanism 702 circuit 820 signals through a DB25 connector and can pass the signals to an input/output (I/O) port of the stepper motor driver/controller board 1404. The back plane board 1406 can convert the RS-232 input 1326 voltages to transister-transistor-logic (TTL) levels to drive up to fifty axes through an internal bus 1402. To operate one hundred motor assemblies 602 simultaneously, according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, two RS-232 inputs 1326 and two separate rows of twenty-five (25) back plane boards 1406 can be used.

[0139] The exemplary motor controller electronics unit 1408 can be mounted inside an electronic box (not shown).

[0140] Initially the operator can employ the keyboard 1322 and mouse 1320 to start, e.g., a Computer Aided Design (CAD) software package such as AutoCAD available from AUTODESK, Inc. of San Rafael, Calif., U.S.A. on the computer 1304. In response to this instruction CPU 1306 can cause the CAD software package executable to be transferred from the secondary memory 1312 to the random access memory 1310 and the CAD software package main window along with the capsule-shape container assembly 202 3D drawing to be displayed on the display monitor 1324. At this time, the operator can employ the keyboard 1322 and mouse 1320 to input the information for identifying the person (person's name, address, shoe size, any other such pertinent information). In response to this instruction CPU 1306 can cause the specified information to be stored in random access memory 1310.

[0141] Once the foregoing identification operation is completed, CPU 1306 can cause display monitor 1324 to display a message indicating completion of that operation and prompting the operator to load the person's digitized shoe last 3D drawing (i.e., in an exemplary embodiment, the output of the 3D shoe design software package) from the secondary memory 1312. In response to this instruction CPU 1306 can cause the specified information to be displayed on the display monitor 1324 as well as to be stored in the random access memory 1310.

[0142] Once the foregoing loading operation is completed, CPU 1306 can cause display monitor 1324 to display a message indicating completion of that operation and prompting the operator to move the person's digitized shoe last 3D drawing to fit inside the capsule-shape container assembly 202 3D drawing. In response to this instruction CPU 1306 can calculate the new values for the points making up the shoe last 3D drawing and can store them in the random access memory 1310.

[0143] Once the foregoing moving operation is completed, CPU 1306 can cause the blow-molding apparatus control software 2202 which is described further below with reference to FIGS. 22-24, to complement the blow-molding apparatus 104 to be executed. The blow-molding apparatus control algorithm software 2202 can, in an exemplary embodiment, find the intersection of each threaded rod 210 with the digitized last data. The blow-molding apparatus control algorithm software 2202 can also find which threaded rods would potentially collide with each other and can decide which threaded rods should participate in creation of the 3D cavity 304, and which should not participate. The software, advantageously, can determine an optimal number of rods to ensure, e.g., that a maximum number of rods are used, or other criterion are satisfied.

[0144] Once the foregoing calculation of position of the threaded rods 210 operation is completed, CPU 1306 can cause display monitor 1324 to display a message indicating completion of that operation and prompting the operator to wrap the motor belt 204 around the indicated threaded rods row 424. In response to this instruction, CPU 1306 can cause the blow-molding apparatus control software 2202 to generate appropriate commands which can operate the one hundred stepper motors 804 located on the motor belt 204, causing the generated commands to be stored in the control buffer unit 1328, and causing the control buffer unit 1328 content to be transferred to the motor controller electronics unit 1408 through the RS-232 input interface 1326. The one-hundred (100) exemplary stepper motors 804 can drive the threaded rods row 424 to their correct position relative to the capsule-shaped container assembly centerline 222 and the center of each hemisphere shell 420. This step can get repeated until all the threaded rods 210 are positioned.

[0145] In an exemplary embodiment, as the motor belt 204 gets close to any of the supporting stands 220, CPU 1306 can cause display monitor 1324 to display a message indicating a new desired location of supporting stand 220 on the blow-molding apparatus 104 and can prompt the operator to jack up the spare supporting stand 220 at the new location and can remove one of the other two supporting stands 220, see FIG. 10 illustrating an exemplary retractable air jack support stand with an exemplary means of raising and lowering the stands. The support stand includes portion 1012, an airbag 1002, and an air supply 1004, in an exemplary embodiment.

[0146] Once the foregoing positioning of the threaded rods 210 (the desired 3D-cavity shape 304 has been formed) operation is completed, CPU 1306 can cause display monitor 1324 to display a message indicating completion of that operation and prompting the operator to unscrew the 10 screws 402 and can remove the access hatch 516. The access tube 1104 can be screwed into the threaded access hole 518 (and can display how many turns to turn). The seating of the access tube 1104 can be deep enough such that the access tube 1104 bottom edge is located just above the cavity 304 top edge. A protective sock 306 can be inserted into the cavity 304 through the opening created by removing the access hatch 516. The sock guide 1124 can be slid over the neck of the protective sock 306. The protective sock 306 neck can be slid over the bottom part of the access tube 1104 until it covers the access tube 1104 groove. The retaining ring 1106 can be applied to the access tube 1104 groove over the protective sock 306 neck. The access hatch 516 can be placed over the capsule-shaped container assembly 202. The access hatch 516 can be secured to the capsule-shaped container assembly 202 using, e.g., the 10 screws 402.

[0147] Air or other material can be blown directly into the protective sock 306 through the access tube 1104 hole to flatten the protective sock 306 wrinkles and can also make the protective sock 306 conform to the cavity 304 as much as possible. The preform 1108 can be reheated using infrared light. The core pin 1110 can be inserted into the heated preform 1108, and the extension plates 1114L and 1114R can be screwed to the top of the preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R using the three screws 1136. The preform 1108 can be clamped. The core pin can be clamped by bringing together the preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R, dropping the clamped preform 1108, and core pin 1110 into the access tube 1104 hole, and screwing the cap 1116 to the access tube 1104. Hot air can be applied from the adjustable air supply source through the core pin narrow tube 1126 until the preform is fully expanded to conform to the cavity 304 shape. Cold air can be applied to form the adjustable air supply source through the core pin narrow tube 1126 to solidify the preform 1108. The preform 1108 is now a collapsible and expandable last 1202. The access hatch 516 can be separated along with the protective sock 306.

[0148] The collapsible and inflatable shoe last 1202 can be removed from the capsule-shaped container assembly 202 by removing the 10 screws 402, removing the retaining ring 1106, sliding down the protective sock 306 from the access tube 1104, unscrewing and removing the cap 1116, unscrewing the two screw sets 1136 and removing the extension plates 1114L and 1114R. The preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R can be slid out along with the core pin 1110 and the shoe last 1202. The preform-core pin clamp 1112L and 1112R can be split, and the core pin 1110 can be unplugged from the top of the shoe last 1202. The collapsible and expandable last 1202 can be examined for any defects. As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, lasts can be used for all sorts of footwear, shoes, boots, etc. Although the collapsible and expandable device is described as a last, any other useful formable article can be created similarly if moldable in the 3-D configurable cavity of the present invention.

[0149] Once the foregoing blow molding operation is completed, CPU 1306 can cause display monitor 1324 to display a message 1324 to display a message indicating completion of that operation and can prompt the operator to load the next person's digitized shoe last 3D drawing.

[0150] Referring now to FIGS. 17-21, an example embodiment of a method of lasting an article of footwear such as a shoe 1702 is illustratively depicted.

[0151]FIG. 17 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a shoe 1702 including a shoe upper 1704 joined with a non-stretch sock 1804 illustrated in FIG. 18.

[0152]FIG. 18 depicts an exemplary implementation embodiment of a shoe including the shoe upper 1704 coupled to the non-stretch sock 1804 and attached as illustrated by 1806. As shown in FIGS. 19 and 20, the components of a shoe can be marked. The interface between two components can include a joining of markings where a marking on a first shoe material can correspond with, i.e., can be matched up with, a marking on the second shoe material in a one-to-one correspondence between markings on the adjacent shoe materials.

[0153]FIG. 19 depicts and exemplary embodiment of a shoe upper 1704. FIG. 19 illustrates a pattern 1904 for shoe upper 1704 can include a set of stitching markers 1902.

[0154]FIG. 20 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a non-stretch sock 1804. The non-stretch sock 1804 can include a pattern 2004 for the non-stretch sock 1804, which can also include a set of stitching markers 2006.

[0155] The 3D shoe design software package can flatten the 3D shoe shape obtained previously as described above and can calculate the shape of the shoe upper pattern 2004 and the non-stretch sock pattern 1804. The software can also provide an exact position of corresponding stitching markers 1902 and 2006, taking into account how much the shoe material will expand in its final shape. The patterns for shoe upper 1704 and lasting sock 1804 can be used to cut the various components from, e.g., a material, such as, e.g., nylon, leather, or any other natural or synthetic material, usable as a shoe making material.

[0156] According to an exemplary embodiment, every stitching marker 1902 can have a matching stitching marker 2006. The matching stitching markers 1902 and 2006 can assist in creating a shoe enclosure 2102 that can be transformed into an accurate shape and size shoe 1702.

[0157] The lasting margin or bottom edge 1806 of shoe upper 1704 can then be turned over and attached to the perimeter of lasting sock 1804 by any suitable means as will be apparent to those skilled in the art including, e.g., stitching, threading, adhesion, cementing, bonding, fusing by heat, stapling and tacking. The attaching process can be done such that the stitching markers 1902 and 2006 are matched one-by-one.

[0158]FIG. 21 depicts an exemplary embodiment of a shoe enclosure 2102. The shoe enclosure 2102 can look like a shoe except that the shoe upper 1704 is not yet stretched and does not have the final shape. The shoe upper 1704 can then be stretched to the final shape by inserting the collapsible and expandable last 1202, formed according to the present invention, inside the shoe enclosure 2102. To help the material take the final shoe shape, the shoe enclosure 2102 can be soaked into water, or other material. A cap 1204 can be used to cap off the inflatable shoe last 1202 now located inside the shoe enclosure 2102 enclosure. The adjustable hot air supply source hose can be connected to the cap 1204 to inflate the shoe last 1202.

[0159] After the shoe enclosure 2102 has dried, the sole of the shoe can be pressed onto the bottom of the shoe 1702, using a universal sole attaching press. The inflatable shoe last 1202 can withstand the load applied by the universal sole attaching press.

[0160] FIGS. 22A-C, 23A-D and 24A-D collectively depict a blow-molding apparatus control algorithm software 2202 for operating the blow molding apparatus 104. The blow-molding apparatus control algorithm software 2202, in an exemplary embodiment, can, e.g., determine the coordinates of the threaded holes 524 located on the capsule-shape container assembly 202, determine the coordinates of the intersection point of each threaded rod 210 with the shoe last surface based on the digitized shoe last data, find threaded rods that collide with each other if all are present, and decide which threaded rods should participate in creation of the 3D cavity 304. Algorithm 2202 begins with FIG. 22A-C and continues with FIGS. 23A-D, and FIGS. 24A-C.

[0161]FIGS. 22A, 22B, and 22C, collectively referred to as FIG. 22, depict an exemplary embodiment of a mathematical algorithm for calculating the position of the threaded holes 524 to be located on, or drilled through, the capsule-shape container assembly 202.

[0162]FIG. 22A can begin with step 2203 and can continue immediately with step 2204.

[0163] In strep 2204, variables can be initialized or data can be inputted including, e.g., information regarding the sizes of different parts making up the capsule-shape container assembly 202. In an exemplary embodiment, the radii of hemisphere shells 508 and 510 can be different or equal. In an exemplary embodiment, the capsule-shape container assembly 202 can include two equal size hemisphere shells 508 and 510. From step 2204, the algorithm can continue with step 2206. FIGS. 22B and 22C can also begin with steps 2203 and 2204 and can then continue as shown in the figures and as illustrated by connectors A and B, respectively.

[0164] For purposes of this portion of the present invention, each step can also represent a process, technique or series of one or more steps.

[0165] Steps 2206, 2208 and 2210 of FIG. 22A can include calculating the coordinates of the all (for example—3200) vectors in three dimensional space; including defining the location (e.g., position and orientation) of the center of the threaded hole 524 for the threaded rods 412 covering the cylindrical tube 506; defining the location (e.g., position and orientation) of the half-cylinder tube 512; and defining the location (e.g., position and orientation) of the access hatch 516 with respect to a global coordinate system.

[0166] The global coordinate system's origin can be located at the center of hemisphere shell 420 that can get attached to the cylindrical tube 506. In an exemplary embodiment, the global coordinate system can include a z-axis that can be along the capsule-shaped container assembly centerline 222 pointing toward the right edge of FIG. 2, a y-axis pointing toward the bottom edge of the figure and an x-axis coming out of the paper pointing toward the reader making a right-hand coordinate system.

[0167] It will be apparent to those skilled in the art, that any vector in three dimensional space can be represented by the vectorial sum of multiples of the unit vectors i, j, k. For example the vector A can be represented as A=ax i+ay j+az k; ax, ay, and az are the components of the vector A in the directions i, j, and k and a dot product “.” denotes multiplication.

[0168] Steps 2208 and 2210 can be used to calculate results for all points around the circular cross section and for all the slices in the cylinder tube section.

[0169] In step 2212, results of calculations of step 2208 and 2210 can be stored in the computer system 1304 main memory (RAM) 1310. After all points have been calculated and stored, flow chart 22A can complete with step 2235.

[0170]FIG. 22B can continue from step 2214 of FIG. 22A as shown by connector A, with step 2214.

[0171] Steps 2214, 2216 and 2218 of FIG. 22B, in an exemplary embodiment, can include calculating the coordinates of all (for example—1565) vectors in three dimensional space, including defining the location (e.g., position and orientation) of the center of the threaded hole 524 for the threaded rods 410 covering the hemisphere shell 508 with respect to the global coordinate system.

[0172] In step 2225, results calculated in steps 2216 and 2218 can be stored. When all points have been calculated for the points around the hemisphere shell cross section and for all slices in the hemisphere shell section, then FIG. 22B can conclude with step 2235.

[0173]FIG. 22C can continue from step 2214 of FIG. 22A as shown by connector B, with step 2220.

[0174] Steps 2220, 2222 and 2224 of FIG. 22C, in an exemplary embodiment, can include calculating the coordinates of all (for example—1565) vectors in three dimensional space, including defining the location (e.g., position and orientation) of the center of the threaded hole 524 for the threaded rods 410 covering the hemisphere shell 510 with respect to the global coordinate system.

[0175]FIGS. 23A, 23B, 23C, and 23D, collectively referred to as FIG. 23, depicts an exemplary embodiment, of a mathematical algorithm for, e.g., calculating the intersection of each of threaded rods 210 with the digitized shoe last data, and as a result calculating useful length of each threaded rod 210 (useful length refers to the length of part of a threaded rod 210 inside the capsule-shape container assembly 202; useful length refers to a threaded rod 210 length necessary to define the threaded rod 210 inner tip position, but not to the whole threaded rod 210 which has a constant length).

[0176] The advantageous approach of the present invention attempts to find the cluster of all the digitized shoe last points that lie around each threaded rod 210. As a result, all the digitized shoe last points, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, can be divided between the threaded rods 210. In other words, each cluster of points around a threaded rod can belong to that threaded rod.

[0177] A conical volume can be defined, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, by introducing a Δθ and a Δφ to represent the extent of reach of each threaded rod 410 covering any of the two end hemisphere shells 508 and 510. A conical slice volume can be defined by introducing a Δθ and a Δz to represent the extent of reach of each threaded rod 412 covering the cylindrical tube 506, half-cylinder tube 512 and the access hatch 516.

[0178] The conical volume addressed here, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, is made up of four open-end planar triangles that have their vertexes at the center of hemisphere shell 420 and located at ±Δθ and ±Δφ from the threaded rod axis. In a similar manner, the conical slice volume can be made up of four planes at ±Δθ and ±Δz from the threaded rod axis.

[0179] To find the intersection of any of the threaded rods 210 with the surface of the digitized shoe last, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a plane can be defined using the four closest points to the threaded rod axis. Mathematically, only three points are necessary to define a plane (the very small section of the surface is plane). The four points can lie on four different sides of the threaded rod, so that if a local two-dimensional coordinate system in a plane perpendicular to the threaded rod, with the threaded rod being the origin, is considered, each point belongs to one of four quadrants. The procedure to select these points, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, is based on the distance from the axis of the threaded rod, in the first place, and the signs of Δθ and Δφ (Δθ and Δz for cylindrical tube sections 506, 512 and 516) for distinguishing one out of four local quarters, in the second place.

[0180] It is possible that one of the cluster of points that lie around each threaded rod exactly matches the interface of the threaded rod axis and the surface.

[0181] To determine the useful threaded rod length of the threaded rods 410, a weighted average distance of the four points from the center of hemisphere shell 420 can be subtracted from the hemisphere shell radius.

[0182] To determine the useful threaded rod length of the threaded rods 412, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a weighted average distance of the four points from the capsule-shaped container assembly centerline 222 can be subtracted from the cylindrical tube radius.

[0183]FIGS. 23A, 23B, 23C and 23D, illustrate an exemplary embodiment of flow charts of an exemplary program that can include calculating the locations of the inner tip position of the threaded rods of array 210 covering the capsule-shaped container assembly 202.

[0184] The flow chart illustratively depicted in FIG. 23A can find the four shoe last points neighboring the axis of each of the threaded rod 410 covering the hemisphere shell 508.

[0185] The flow chart illustratively depicted in FIG. 23B can find the four shoe last points neighboring the axis of each of the threaded rod 412 covering the cylindrical tube 506, half-cylinder tube 512 and the access hatch 516.

[0186] The flow chart illustratively depicted in FIG. 23C can find the four shoe last points neighboring the axis of each of the threaded rod 410 covering the hemisphere shell 510.

[0187] The flow chart illustratively depicted in FIG. 23D can calculate the threaded rods' 210 covering the capsule-shaped container assembly 202 inner tip position.

[0188]FIG. 23A can begin with step 2302 and can continue immediately with step 2304.

[0189] In step 2304 a single record can be read from a sequential file containing the digitized shoe last data. The record can contain X, Y, and Z values in the global coordinate system representing one of the points that makeup the surface of a digitized shoe last.

[0190] Step 2306 can calculate the shoe last point vector in spherical coordinate system.

[0191] Step 2308 can calculate the threaded rod's θ, θmax, θmin, φ and φmax.

[0192] Steps 2310-2334 can check if the shoe last point is close to which threaded rod as well as within which of the conical volume's four planar triangles by comparing θpoint with θmax and θmin, and φpoint with φmax and φmin of every threadedrods 410 covering the hemisphere shell 508.

[0193] Steps 2336-2364 can keep the four of the shoe last points that are closest to the threaded rod and can discard the rest.

[0194] As shown, from step 2305, connector C couples FIG. 23A to FIG. 23B.

[0195]FIG. 23B covers the same steps as above for the cylindrical sections with different sets of limits.

[0196] Step 2366 can calculate the shoe last point vector in cylindrical coordinate system.

[0197] Step 2368 can calculate the threaded rod's θ, θmax, θmin, zmax and zmin.

[0198] Steps 2370-2396 check to which threaded rod the shoe last point is closest within which of the conical volume's four planar triangles by comparing θpoint with θmax and θmin, and Zpoint with Zmax and Zmin of every threaded rods 412 covering the cylindrical tube 506, half-cylinder tube 512 and the access hatch 516.

[0199]FIG. 23C covers the same steps as above for the other hemisphere shell 510 with different set of limits.

[0200]FIG. 23D illustratively depicts an exemplary embodiment of a flow chart according to the present invention. FIG. 23D begins with connector E and continues as shown through connector F which is coupled to FIG. 24A.

[0201] Step 2397 can calculate the distance of the threaded rod's inner tip from the center 420 of the hemisphere shell 510.

[0202] Step 2397A can calculate the useful threaded rod length.

[0203] Process 2398 can calculate the distance of the threaded rod's inner tip from the center 420 of the hemisphere shell 508.

[0204] Process 2398A can calculate the useful threaded rod length.

[0205] Step 2399 can calculate the distance of the threaded rod's inner tip from the capsule-shaped container assembly centerline 222.

[0206] Process 2399A can calculate the useful threaded rod length.

[0207]FIGS. 24A, 24B, and 24C, collectively referred to as FIG. 24, depicts an exemplary embodiment of the flow charts of a program that can optimally determine which one of the threaded rods 210 covering the capsule-shaped container assembly 202 should participate (the participating threaded rods 310) in the making of the cavity 304 and which one should be withdrawn (the non-participating threaded rods 308).

[0208] According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the approach divides the threaded rods 210 inner tips coordinates into manageable rings along the capsule-shaped container assembly centerline 222, within each ring find which threaded rod is colliding with the neighboring threaded rods, decide which one of the colliding threaded rods can be withdrawn such that the least number of threaded rods are withdrawn (more threaded rods participate in creating the cavity smoother the cavity's curvature). In case of the hemisphere shells 508 and 510, after withdrawing the colliding threaded rods from one ring there is a need to find which of the neighboring ring threaded rods collide with the current ring threaded rods and be withdrawn. All the threaded rods covering the hemisphere shells 508 and 510 are moving toward the center of the hemisphere shells 420, therefore the threaded rods of one ring can collide with the threaded rods from the neighboring rings covering the hemisphere shells 508 and 510. To optimally withdraw the threaded rods from the rings covering the hemisphere shells 508 and 510, each ring is subdivided into sub rings.

[0209]FIG. 24A begins with connector F and continues eventually with step 2402, and on until connector G which is coupled to FIG. 24B.

[0210] Steps 2402-2406 can calculate the threaded rods' inner tip coordinates with respect to the global coordinate system.

[0211] Step 2408 can translate the threaded rods' inner tip coordinates from the current global coordinate system to the new global coordinate system that its origin is located at the tip of the hemisphere shell 508 along the center line 222.

[0212] Step 2409 can sort the threaded rods' inner tip coordinates with descending Z value order, to prepare the data for dividing them into rings.

[0213] Steps 2410 and 2412 can divide the threaded rods 210 inner tips into manageable rings (for example—ring width can be 0.25″) along the capsule-shaped container assembly centerline 222.

[0214] Steps 2414-2418 can find which threaded rods of rings 426 and 472 collide with the threaded rods of ring 470 and 474 and need to be withdrawn.

[0215]FIG. 24B can begin with step 2418.

[0216] Steps 2418-2420 can find which threaded rods of rings 426 and 472 collide with the threaded rods of ring 470 and 474 and need to be withdrawn.

[0217] Steps 2422-2444 can find which threaded rods within each ring covering the cylindrical tube 506, half-cylinder tube 512 and the access hatch 516 are colliding with the neighboring threaded rods and decide which one of the colliding threaded rods should be withdrawn. These steps are optimized to minimize the number of threaded rods to be withdrawn.

[0218]FIG. 24B continues through connector H which couples the flowchart to FIG. 24C.

[0219]FIG. 24C depicts a flowchart illustrating an exemplary embodiment of the present invention that can find which of the threaded rods 410 covering the hemisphere shell 510 are colliding with the neighboring threaded rods and needs to be withdrawn. The same steps can be applied for the hemisphere shell 508 using number_of_rings_on_hemisphere_508 as the loop limit.

[0220] Steps 2446-2452 can subdivide the rings covering the hemisphere shell 510 into sub rings (for example—sub ring width is 0.05″).

[0221] Steps 2454-2476 can find which threaded rods within each sub ring are colliding with the neighboring threaded rods and decide which one of the colliding threaded rods should be withdrawn. These steps are optimized to minimize the number of threaded rods to be withdrawn.

[0222] Steps 2478-2482 can find which of the neighboring sub rings threaded rods collide with the current sub ring threaded rods and are withdrawn. These steps are optimized to minimize the number of threaded rods to be withdrawn.

[0223] Steps 2484-2488 can find which of the neighboring ring threaded rods collide with the current ring threaded rods and are withdrawn. These steps are optimized to minimize the number of threaded rods to be withdrawn.

[0224]FIG. 24C continues through step 2490, where the flow chart can complete.

[0225] While various embodiments of the present invention have been described above, it should be understood that they have been presented by way of example only, and not limitation. Thus, the breadth and scope of the present invention should not be limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodiments, but should be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their equivalents.

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US7950432Jun 24, 2009May 31, 2011Nike, Inc.Method of customizing an article and apparatus including an inflatable member
US8162022Oct 3, 2008Apr 24, 2012Nike, Inc.Method of customizing an article and apparatus
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US8574387Mar 7, 2012Nov 5, 2013Nike, Inc.Protective member for graphic transfer process
US8578534Apr 25, 2011Nov 12, 2013Nike, Inc.Inflatable member
US20100095556 *Apr 30, 2009Apr 22, 2010Nike, Inc.Articles And Methods Of Manufacture Of Articles
Classifications
U.S. Classification12/133.00R, 12/1.00R
International ClassificationA43D3/04, B29C49/00, A43D3/02, A43D1/04, B29D35/00
Cooperative ClassificationA43D1/04, B29L2031/50, B29C49/00, A43D3/04, A43D3/027, B29D35/0018
European ClassificationA43D3/04, B29C49/00, A43D3/02H, A43D1/04, B29D35/00B2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 6, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: SAJEDI, MOHAMMAD H., NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEMAMI, AHMAD;REEL/FRAME:011684/0581
Effective date: 20001220