DIY solution for clear soles for MAG shoes

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cavx

Master Member
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I have actively been following all threads on the MAG shoes and whist there have been a few radical breakthroughs, they are not something for the DIY or home hobbyist. The main challenge has been finding a product for casting the clear sole inserts of the shoe. All the products I have seen threads on far are toxic and require specialized equipment (vacuum chamber for degassing) which is fine if you intend to go into production, but not viable for a one off.

So today, in between tasks, I found a place (local to me) that might just have the product we all need and have been looking for.

The product is made my ERA and is part of their "optically clear" range. It is supposedly a non toxic, "cold cast poly urethane elastoma". After making contact with the business owner we both agreed that I should come in and inspect the samples, so off I went.

The samples I saw were of varying "shore (spelling?) hardness from OC20A (which is very soft) to OC80C (very hard - like acrylic hard, but did not seem brittle). In the middle of the A range was OC45A and OC60A. I am no materials expert, but from the feel in my hands (and because the parts we want to make are for an outer sole), I would be leaning towards the OC60A. The OC45A might be a bit soft and wear down faster. The OC20A would be awesome for the mid sole if anyone wanted to do that part as well.

The product can be tinted in a variety of colours and I was specific about the slight blue tint which he said is best as too much tint can affect the product.

Price is based on weight and 2.1KG (just under 1 pound) is about $190AUD with an 8KG can at just under $500. He showed me the size of the 2.1KG can and it would make allot of soles given they are only about 3mm (1/8") thick.
 
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airair

Sr Member
I have actively been following all threads on the MAG shoes and whist there have been a few radical breakthroughs, they are not something a for the DIY or home hobbyist. The main challenge has been finding a product for casting the clear sole inserts of the shoe. All the products I have seen threads on far are toxic and require specialized equipment which is fine if you intend to go into production, but not viable for a one off.

So today, in between tasks, I found a place local to me that might just have the product we all need.

The product is made my "ERA" and is part of their "optically clear" range. It is supposedly a non toxic, "cold cast poly urethane elastima". After making contact with the business owner we both agreed that I should come in and inspect the samples, so off I went.

The samples I saw were of varying "shore (spelling?) hardness from OC20A (which is very soft) to OC80C (very hard - like acrylic hard, but did not seem brittle). In the middle of the A range was OC45A and OC60A. I am no materials expert, but from the feel in my hands, and because the parts we want to make are for an outer sole, I would be leaning towards the OC60A. The OC45A might be a bit soft and wear down faster. The OC25A would be awesome for the mid sole if anyone wanted to do that part as well.

The product can be tinted in a variety of colours and I was specific about the slight blue tint which he said is best as too much tint can affect the product.

Price is based on weight and 2.1KG (just under 1 pound) is about $190AUD with an 8KG can at just under $500. He showed me the size of the 2.1KG can and it would make allot of soles given they are only about 3mm (1/8") thick.
good stuff.

would this be easy to simply cut out shapes from?

for the soles, i think you could cut out 3 shapes. the top circle part, the main sole part. and then a seperate cut for the side part of sole for el light (that is if the material can't be curved easily or is very hard to flex).

if its easy to curve, then it should be even better, just cut out the shape and glue it down.

has anybody ripped out the rubber from their k mag soles yet? i wonder how thick it is? it looks fairly strongly glued down.

if this clear material is easy to cut, it could be a great solution. all we do is rip out the rubber from k mag sole, and just cut out the clear rubber and glue on.
 

Fair Play

Member
I think cavx is referring to a material that can be poured in moulds. As far as I understand it's not something hard that can be shaped by a cutter or something else, but a liquid that hardens into an elastic state. Like the stuff used to make rubber molds only in clear and a bit harder. That's why he mentioned the different shores, meaning different types of durability and hardness. You need to have a mold, though.
 

cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
good stuff.

would this be easy to simply cut out shapes from?
It is actually a 2 part liquid mix. If you wanted sheets of the stuff to pattern cut, you would simply fill a shallow baking tray or similar container.

for the soles, i think you could cut out 3 shapes. the top circle part, the main sole part. and then a seperate cut for the side part of sole for el light (that is if the material can't be curved easily or is very hard to flex).
The samples I saw today had three different thicknesses - 3mm, 6mm and 12mm. Even the harder compounds had flex on the thinner sections. from what I understand is that the issue with gong to hard (whilst it might seem to be longer lasting) is tearing if it bends to much.

if its easy to curve, then it should be even better, just cut out the shape and glue it down.
From what I saw today, I can't see why you could pour a flat section and bend and glue this stuff inn place. I also found a plastic floor covering today that has an almost perfect reversed shape for the 'waffle' effect as well. maybe it is possible to attach this stuff to the base of the container first, then pour the liquid over the top.

has anybody ripped out the rubber from their k mag soles yet? i wonder how thick it is? it looks fairly strongly glued down.

if this clear material is easy to cut, it could be a great solution. all we do is rip out the rubber from k mag sole, and just cut out the clear rubber and glue on.
Unless there is someone in the US or UK that want to source some and give this a go, I might as well be the guinea pig.

I think cavx is referring to a material that can be poured in moulds. As far as I understand it's not something hard that can be shaped by a cutter or something else, but a liquid that hardens into an elastic state. Like the stuff used to make rubber molds only in clear and a bit harder. That's why he mentioned the different shores, meaning different types of durability and hardness. You need to have a mold, though.
Exactly, it is 2 part kit that you mix (I believe in equal amounts) part A and Part B. The guy said that this does not need degassing so long as you don't intentionally mix air into it. We briefly discussed mixing techniques to have no bubbles today as well. The guy was a bit aloof on the phone, but more than helpful to answer any questions when I met him face to face.
 

cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
PS, I think this stuff might also be useful in making a better heel cap as well. I have an idea to cast that part, so stay tuned. The really hard stuff (OC80C) would be ideal for the strap buckle, but you would need a proper mold to do this.
 

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airair

Sr Member
PS, I think this stuff might also be useful in making a better heel cap as well. I have an idea to cast that part, so stay tuned. The really hard stuff (OC80C) would be ideal for the strap buckle, but you would need a proper mold to do this.
what do you think would be the easiest way to create the heel cup mold and the back strap piece holder?
 

cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
what do you think would be the easiest way to create the heel cup mold and the back strap piece holder?
I am no expert here, but I think that if I mask up the shoes really tight, I should be able to take a print of the heel cap in plaster. Because the shoe cap is flexible, it should release fairly easily. From there, pour a solid rubber version to sculpt (I'd like to add a textured NIKE). Then off to make a proper mold in RTV.

Like the heel cap, the ankle buckle needs a proper master (I've made a start on this using 100mm PVC as a base) before any molds can be made.

The guy I was hoping to help me with this seems a bit stand offish right now. I sent him a 3D drawing of this part, and he has not been his usual enthusiastic self wanting to "make stuff" like he usually is.
 

cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
UPDATE: Last week I found a flooring material that I think would make a close to match uniform pattern for the clear cold cast elastomer. I am planing a flat pour at this stage due to lack of casting experience and wanting to keep costs to a minimum. And I think a slight blue tint is in order as well.

Some Images


So this is a sample piece I got this morning.



A closer looks shows the size of the pyramids. They appear to be about 5.5mm with 0.5mm gap. The square blocks on my size 10 K-MAGs are 4mm with a 1mm gap between each. On the Size 8 pair, the squares are 3mm with about 0.5mm gap.

The only other stuff I found that I though might be OK is a screen door mesh called "Pet Mesh" which is about 1.5mm squares and just under 1mm gaps. I thought this was too small for this project.

Of course, based on the simplistic pour method, the actual elastomer sole will be a reverse to what we see here so should look closer to the 'waffle' on the screen shoes than the small extended squares we have.
 

Risu

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The flat grid part looks a little skinnier than perfect, but this will look great. Did they say how tall those pyramid points are?
 

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cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The flat grid part looks a little skinnier than perfect, but this will look great.
Yeah, on my size 10s, the gaps should be 1mm and these are less than that at just over 0.5mm. Should still look good though.

Did they say how tall those pyramid points are?
I don't have a set of calipers on hand, but measuring my sample on a part where their cut goes through the apex of a few of the pyramids on the edge, the material thickness is just 2mm in total and 1.5mm for the actual pyramids.
 

Risu

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
In that case you may have to go with a 4mm thickness so the material doesn't tear at the points of the pyramids. If you do a small test pour you can do some abuse tests on it before pouring a whole plate.
 

cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
In that case you may have to go with a 4mm thickness so the material doesn't tear at the points of the pyramids. If you do a small test pour you can do some abuse tests on it before pouring a whole plate.
And why I had initially thought 3mm. A test pour would be well worth the time I think. I do want to see what this stuff can take. I've got some nasty stuff in mind including 40 grit sand paper :love
 

lukebrynycz

Well-Known Member
That looks very accurate for the undersole of the official Mags, well played :thumbsup Do you have a prototype at all, or a date in mind to offer me a set on a VIP list ;)
 

cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This project kind of got put on the back burner because it is a time/money thing. I need to have both at the same time :rolleyes

To make just 1 set of soles is going to cost the same as probably 4 (or more) pairs, so when I find some spare ca$h, I'll hook right in and get this sorted. I am prepared to offer any one that wants to share this load at cost + postage for their slab of rubber.
 

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lukebrynycz

Well-Known Member
This project kind of got put on the back burner because it is a time/money thing. I need to have both at the same time :rolleyes

To make just 1 set of soles is going to cost the same as probably 4 (or more) pairs, so when I find some spare ca$h, I'll hook right in and get this sorted. I am prepared to offer any one that wants to share this load at cost + postage for their slab of rubber.

Drop me a pm with rough costs and i'll see what I can do. I've just got a puppy and we're hopefully starting a family soon so have to see how much we're talking :lol
 

cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Haven't really done anything on this for a while, but tonight decided to look at the Sketch Up drawing I started on the clear sole.



Pouring the actual shape is still route I would like to take, but given the trouble I found in pattern making so far, the "slab pour" is going to be the safest for now.
 

cavx

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
OK after much discussion, deliberation and even some procrastination, I am ready to go ahead with this.

My concerns appear to have been addressed. I'll list them here just in case some one out there is a materials expert and wants to chime in. Because this is going to be used as the clear soles on the MAGs, I needed to know the following:

  1. Abrasion - I've decided to with OC80A after taking another look at the samples. The choice of OC45A and OC60A were just a touch too soft IMO.
  2. Adheshion - I was told that you can't glue this stuff, but after speaking to the expert today, I am relieved to know why I was told that this stuff won't stick. Apparently when you cast this stuff and use a release agent, a very small amount of the release agent impregnates the surface and prevents other things sticking. In my case, I will pour into a shallow mold, so the side that needs to be stuck to the shoe later on will only be exposed to air. The rep told me it should bond really well.
  3. Degassing - I don't have a vacuum chamber anymore (kind of wish I had kept that now) and I have been able to mix and pour casting resin bubble free, so I feel confident that I can do a shallow pour without issue.
  4. Heat forming - Because this will be cast at about 3mm think, it will be flexible and will not need to be heat formed. The rep I spoke to said that I should be able to just glue this in place without issue.

So I have ordered the cold cast clear elastomer (1.8KG?, I thought it was 2.1KG)) and so I need to re-calculate my mold size and I should have product on Friday ready to pour. I'll be doing one pour (I think) and it will be all tinted a very light blue.
 

MitasTouch

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This is just a guess, and results would just be for show, but wouldn't taking that pyramid mat, putting translucent rubber over it, and using a heat gun to form it to the mats work? The movie soles aren't completely clear, so that's why I went with translucent. Plus the cost would be way less than this.
 

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