3D Printers are currently capable of printing in a variety of materials, including plastics, metals, glass, ceramics, wood based agents, and most recently carbon fiber. However, no one has yet to accomplish a method of printing in cotton.
When you think about all the uses for 3D printing, one category that comes up is fashion. 3D printing has surprisingly caught on quite a bit within the fashion industry, even while considering that most of it has been manufactured using plastic based 3D printers. Who wants to wear clothing made out of plastic? Probably not too many people.
That is where a “Seeker” on a website called Innocentive comes into play. We don’t know who the “Seeker” is but they are seeking someone that can present to them ideas for 3D printing, using cotton fiber. They are giving away $7,000 to the best idea(s) presented to them, and so far 168 people have signed up to present their ideas.
“A futuristic application would be for the printing of apparel or other products,” reads the description of the ‘seeker’. “i.e. where an article of cotton clothing can be printed, constructed or formed directly on a 3D printer.”
The idea should only be presented if the final product includes at least 60% cotton fiber. However, polymers or other materials may be used as binders. The deadline for the submittal of ideas is February 23.
If the “seeker” ends up finding a solution to the current problem, 3D printing could take the fashion industry by storm.
“3D printing and fashion go hand-in-hand,” explained fashion designer, Jason Handler. “If someone can accomplish the feat of creating a 3D printer that can print in fabric-like material, it will catch on like wildfire.”
Custimization will become a key factor in 3D printing of clothing. Imagine purchasing a shirt that fits your body perfectly, and has a combination of colors to perfectly complement your jacket. Imagine having a clothing printer in your home, that allows you to download free designs from the internet to print on your own time. Wouldn’t that catch your interest? If the Innocentive campaign goes well, we could see this in the not too distant future.
What do you think? Will someone come up with a revolutionary idea, that creates the breakthrough needed in 3D printing to launch fashion into the future? Discuss this article at: http://3dprintboard.com/showthread.php?1705-Company-is-looking-to-3D-Print-using-Cotton-Fibers
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