3D printing fabrics is easier than you think

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Conventional textiles made of woven yarns are very useful materials. [Sara Alvarez] has had some success creating fabric-like materials through 3D printing, and while they aren’t identical, they have similar properties that make them unique and useful.

Fabrics are made by weaving or knitting many threads into a cohesive whole. [Sara]3D printed fabrics are different because the printer cannot easily weave individual fibers together. Instead, a variety of methods are used to create similar materials.

Perhaps the simplest is the chain mail method, where many small individual links join together to form a relatively stiff material. Alternatively, G-code or careful modeling can be used to create fabric-like patterns, which are printed directly into a flexible material to become a fabric-like sheet. Finally, the infill method takes advantage of code embedded in a slicer to create a pattern that can be 3D printed to create a fabric-like material by removing the top and bottom layers from the print.

[Sara] shows the creation of a simple “cloth” sample using the slicer method and demonstrates the qualities of the finished product. It also shows various applications that can take advantage of this technique.

If you’re a 3D printing enthusiast who also enjoys making clothes and clothes, consider printing shoes, like the ones we’ve seen before. Video after the break.

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