Nike 3D Prints Seemingly Impossible Ferrofluid Shoe Display

RAPID

Share this Article

3dp_nike_ferrofluid_2

Originally created by NASA to be used in rocket fuel, a ferrofluid is precisely what it sounds like, a liquid with magnetically reactive properties. The intention was for it to be bonded to a fuel source that could be used in a weightless environment. The fuel would be drawn towards the engines with a simple magnetic field rather than complicated pumps or the need for gravity. But these days it is generally used to make those cool GIFs that get shared on social media, allowing that guy that you sort of knew back in highschool to make poorly conceived Terminator jokes. But one of NASA’s weirdest forgotten toys has been resurrected by Nike to help sell the new Kevin Durant line of sneakers in a rather striking promotional display.

Gif courtesy Gizmodo.

GIF courtesy Gizmodo.

A ferrofluid is made when you combine nanoscopic magnetic materials with a carrier fluid that will suspend them in liquid form. Each individual particle of the magnetic material has been coated with a compound that prevents them from clumping together unless they are specifically exposed to a strong magnetic field. As the material is exposed to magnets, it will pulse, ripple and flow against the pull of gravity, and even follow the magnet wherever it moves. Sadly the effect is only temporary, so as soon as the magnetic field dissipates, the material will revert
to its resting, liquid state.

The Nike display was created by a design studio that calls themselves Guild, which is sort of like an advertising company but all the men have scraggly beards and they call their work experiences. What looks like an unassuming metal display case showing off a simple, jet black shoe is actually a demonstration of how the inky ferrofluid reacts to moving magnets and I must admit it is a pretty cool way to get people talking about over priced sneakers. Watching waves of ferrofluid ripple up and down the surface of the sneaker is pretty mesmerizing and clearly the kind of once in a lifetime sight designed to be shared on social media.

3dp_nike_shoe_printingThe Guild folks started by creating a 3D printed replica of one of the new Kevin Durant shoes. The extremely detailed print shows off every lace, stitch and crease on the sneaker, and at first glance you would never know that the shoe inside of the display wasn’t actually real. But for the display to work, the shoe needed to have powerful magnets mounted inside of it to show off the amazing way that the ferrofluid reacts to them. A real shoe simply wouldn’t have been a practical option. Thankfully with top of the line 3D printers, the Guild was able to create an ultra-detailed plastic shoe instead.

The unassuming display features the plastic shoe sitting on a platform suspended above a pool of the black ferrofluid material. Two powerful neodymium magnets are mounted inside of the shoe and move back and forth on tracks hidden inside of the hollow sneaker. The magnets pull the ferrofluid up from the pool and cause some pretty eye popping geometric shapes to form. As the magnets move, the liquid rolls up and down the surface of the shoe in mesmerizing patterns, creating seemingly impossible spikes and gravity defying ripples. It’s pretty amazing to see in action, and it almost feels like you’re watching a living creature trying to digest the shoe.

Gizmodo posted a video of the ferrofluid display up close:

GUILD x NIKE – KD8 Launch from Guild on Vimeo.

Unfortunately ferrofluid doesn’t stick around very long and will eventually evaporate, leaving a messy black stain of magnetic material behind. I’m pretty sure that NASA magnet juice isn’t exactly cheap, so don’t expect Nike to keep their display running for very long. If you want to see it in person, and yes you want to see it in person, you can check it out at Nike’s New York Niketown NYC location where it has been put on display at the front of the store. Just look for the crowd making Terminator jokes.

Share this Article


Recent News

Navy’s Afloat Additive Manufacturing Program Creates Scalability Model for 3D Printing Industry

UW-Madison Engineers 3D Print RAM Devices in Zero Gravity with NASA Funding



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing Financials: Protolabs’ Q1 3D Printing Revenue is Flat, Company Advances in Technology Push

Protolabs (NYSE: PRLB) has kicked off 2024 with a mild boost in revenue, revealing how the Minnesota-based company manages to adapt and thrive even in uncertain market conditions. While the...

NASA Backs Project for 3D Printing Space Sensors

NASA granted $300,000 to Florida State University (FSU) and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) to pioneer a project using 3D printing to develop cutting-edge sensors capable of withstanding the...

Further Understanding of 3D Printing Design at ADDITIV Design World

ADDITIV is back once again! This time, the virtual platform for additive manufacturing will be holding the first-ever edition of ADDITIV Design World on May 23rd from 9:00 AM –...

Daring AM: Rocket Lab Shoots for the Stars, Astrobotic Wants to 3D Print on the Moon

Once again, space exploration teams up with the 3D printing industry, launching projects that could change how we explore space. Pioneering space manufacturer Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) secured a $14.49...