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3D-printed lace enclosures will ensure your shoes never come untied again

Ever have the problem of shoelaces that come undone? If so, and provided that you own or have access to a 3D printer, then additive manufacturing gurus Noe and Pedro Ruiz may have just the DIY solution for you.

Having previously created such memorable 3D printing projects as a Bluetooth-controlled Daft Punk helmet with working LED lights, the Ruiz siblings’ latest project involves as a step-by-step tutorial for anyone wanting to 3D print their own magnetic shoelace closures.

“There are a number of these products on the market, so we wanted to create an easy-to-edit design that could teach people about engineering concepts,” Pedro Ruiz told Digital Trends. “Everyone has had that moment when [they’re] walking around with their hands full and realized they have an untied shoe. Everyone wears shoes, so it’s a problem anyone [can] have, making it relatable to a lot of people.”

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The project is designed to be educational by teaching CAD skills and problem solving. As Ruiz said, it’s also the perfect illustration of what 3D printing can achieve, since the project involves each creator making slight alterations to fit his or her shoe.

“Every shoe is different in terms of size, color, and shape,” Ruiz said. “Making a customizable design is the killer app for 3D printing.”

To have a crack at the project, you simply download the parts from Autodesk 360, Thingiverse, Youmagine, or Pinshape, then follow the instructions. At the end of it, provided you follow the instructions correctly, you’ll have had a good entry level lesson in 3D printing — and a snazzy shoe hack for good measure.

Oh, and did we also mention it’s free? “You can’t buy any of the designs we make, you have to edit and print them out yourselves,” Ruiz said. “The files are free to download. [However] we do sell the raw components like filaments, materials, magnets and 3D printers to make your own completely customized version of our projects. Our goal is to empower the next generation of engineers to make useful designs.”

If you enjoy this project, you can get involved with the brothers’ weekly assignment, which can be found here, in addition to regular live shows about design and engineering on their YouTube channel. If only every lesson was this rewarding.