Have you heard that you may soon be able to 3D print clothing in your home? That’s right – although the reality may be some way off.
For now, it’s super interesting to keep up with developments in 3D clothing. From dresses made to fit perfectly onto one woman’s body, to 3D printed knitwear, there are some seriously cool projects out there.
Read on to for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about 3D printed clothing.
How does 3D Printing Work for Clothing?
Seen examples of 3D printing but not sure how that will translate to clothing?
You’re right to be confused.
It’s notoriously difficult to find durable 3D printing materials that function like regular fabrics. It’s tough to get the kind of loose, draped effect you’d expect when you’re working with materials that behave more like plastic or rubber.
However, smart designers are finding ways around this.
A rubbery, flexible material called FilaFex is favored by designer Danit Peleg, and it curves to fit the shape of the body nicely.
3D printed clothes typically contain lots of gaps, which helps the remaining material flex to fit the model, and achieves more of a ‘draped’ effect than a solid piece of clothing could.
Some designers 3D print separate components for their garments, then assemble them by hand. This allows for greater flexibility than trying to print items in one solid piece.
For now, it looks like 3D printed clothes will remain a rather stiff, rubbery affair. However, new developments in material and technique mean that the possibilities are growing all the time.
What Kind of Clothing Has Already Been 3D Printed?
Want to see what’s already been achieved in the wild world of 3D printed clothing? Keep reading to learn about some of the most cutting-edge garments that have been created so far.
3D Printed Clothes Fitted to Your Body
Ever imagine a magical, futuristic world where your body is scanned and clothes are designed to fit it perfectly?
Imagine no more.
With 3D printing, it’s 100% possible to create items that are tailored exactly to the precise curves and contours of your body.
The Kinematics Dress by US design studio Nervous System was printed as one piece, made up of triangular components, and based on a 3D scan of the model’s body.
The dress was designed to be comfortable and easy to move in. The ease of 3D printing also made it easy to print several different versions to test out.
Sounds like the dream, right?
If this technique goes mainstream, we’ll be the first in line to add the ultimate fitted dress to our wardrobe.
Colorful 3D Printed Clothes
Many early 3D printed garments stuck to basic black and white shades, but that’s all changing now.
Many 3D printers allow the use of multiple different colors and materials, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Designers can choose one bold shade to print an entire garment or print many components in different colors, then connect them by hand.
3D printing makes it simple to design a single item and then print it out in many different colors, which is great for designers who struggle to decide on colors. In the future, it could mean owning your favorite top in every color under the sun.
3D Printed Knitwear
Ever tried to sit down and knit your own sweater?
You probably lost interest pretty quickly, right?
Luckily, 3D printing is already being utilized to create unique knitted pieces, without the need for hours of human labor.
Most designers currently print the components of their clothes, then use separate knitting machines to create the finished product. In the future, we may see machines which can complete the entire process in one place.
Knitted 3D printed clothes may be more breathable than traditional knitting, and could be perfect for wear during sports. They’re durable, flexible, and made from materials that won’t contribute to overheating.
Sadly, until softer materials are able to be 3D printed, we probably won’t be printing any super cozy sweaters or cardigans.
3D Printed Fashion Accessories
3D printing offers so many opportunities when it comes to accessories like shoes, socks, ties, hats, and more.
Since these items are typically made from more solid materials and don’t need to be as ‘flowy’, the problems with rubbery materials are less important.
Unique 3D printed ties are already taking off, with some seriously cool geometric designs available. If you’re looking for a true one-of-a-kind piece for your collection, 3D printing is the way to go.
Custom 3D printed accessories like this could easily be utilized by groups or brands.
Imagine a 3D printed hat with your brand name on. Pretty cool, right? Click the link to see more on designing your own custom beanies, 3D printed or otherwise.
It looks like 3D printed fashion accessories will be some of the first to go truly ‘mainstream’, so now is a good time to start thinking about what you’d design if you could.
What Could 3D Printed Clothes Look Like in the Future?
With 3D printing developing fast, there’s no telling where the world of 3D printed fashion might take us.
It’s likely that 3D printed shoes and other accessories will go mainstream first, followed by practical clothing, like sportswear.
If enough progress is made in developing new materials, we could start to see everyday items of clothing, like jeans, T-shirts, jackets, and dresses. Having clothes made to fit perfectly to your body shape is sure to take off.
And who knows, maybe one day 3D printed clothes could be printed right from your own home.
No dress for the party tonight? Just print one!
Why Keep Up With 3D Printed Clothing?
The 3D printed clothing world is changing all the time, and keeping up with the latest trends ensures that you’re always on the cutting edge of fashion.
Whether you’re an aspiring designer or just love clothes, you can’t afford to ignore 3D printing.
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