3D Printing Fabric with Thermoplastic Polyurethane

Share this Article

Israeli architect David Mussaffi is more than just a 3D print enthusiast, he’s a dedicated 3D print designer with an expert eye for fashion. Last year, he won second place in the Thingiverse #TrexRemix Challenge for his T-Rex High Heel which has the wearer placing her foot in the gaping maw of the carnivore as an intimidating set of teeth bristle threateningly from the surrounding jaw bone.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 11.17.07 AMHis latest 3D print creation springs from a material exploration using thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a filament that prints at an extrusion temperature of 200-220° Celsius (392-428° Fahrenheit). Mussaffi wanted to use this filament to create prints thin enough to be considered a type of fabric.

The idea of printing fabric is not new. In May the Electroloom, a 3D printer that has the ability to 3D print fabric using a process similar to metal electroplating, was introduced to the world through Kickstarter. The Electroloom was an exploration in the creation of a machine that would print in a particular form that would create the process for fabricating flexible, soft fabric with a 3D printer. Mussaffi’s project uses a standard 3D printer and investigates the possibilities for a particular material to become fabric-like.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 11.16.53 AMMussaffi’s prolific contributions to 3D printing knowledge belie the freshness of his introduction to the technology. In an interview with 3DPrint.com, Mussaffi explained his experience with additive manufacturing:

“I started my journey in the 3D printing world two years ago with a kit of the Printrbot Simple 1405 model (the ‘makers’ edition). My YouTube channel is full of the prints I did on this great machine. I now own a Robox 3D printer, a Zeepro Zim 3D printer and an Ultimaker 2. I have just received another Kickstarter printer, the ‘Ibox-Nano’ but I haven’t had time to try it yet.”

For this experiment in filament, Mussaffi printed at a slow speed of 15-20 mm/sec with the retraction disabled. As TPU is a filament that has a tendency to melt quickly, the prints were produced with some oozing and stringing. He has plans to try the prints again at a higher speed to see if it is possible to avoid some of those features; however, he acknowledges that he thinks these ‘defects’ actually add to the textile-like look of the prints.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 11.17.27 AMThe key to evaluating the suitability of these fabrics for various applications comes in the feel, or in textile terms, the ‘hand’ of the goods. Not everything has to have the feel of silk, but clearly its flexibility and softness would impact the use. Maybe this wouldn’t breathe enough to be worn close to the skin, but imagine textiles that are used to cover work station partitions or as the curtains in medical facilities and the possibilities expand. Combine this technology with the self-cleaning properties that have been documented in water lilies and you could quickly end up with a self-cleaning fabric.

In that case, I think I will have my children’s clothing printed out of it – comfort be damned.

Let’s hear your thoughts on 3D fabric printing in the 3D Printing with Polyurethane forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.42.04 AM

 

 

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing for the Fourth of July

3D Printing News Briefs, July 3, 2020: ExOne, 3D Printz & Monoprice, CNPC, Liqcreate



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D printed automobiles

3D Printed Food


You May Also Like

COVID-19: Ivaldi’s Nora Toure on 3D Printing and the Supply Chain

Last year, Nora Toure made a very interesting talk on the impact of 3D printing on the global supply chain. The topic was a prescient one, given the events to...

Straumann Group 3D Printing Ceramic End-Use Dental Parts with XJet Tech

In 2017, Israeli additive manufacturing solutions provider XJet announced a new inkjet method of 3D printing ceramics, based on its existing NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ) 3D printing technology. According to a...

Velo3D Lands Largest Metal 3D Printer Order to Date, from Aerospace Customer

Recently, Velo3D received its largest order in company history since its launch commercially in 2018. An existing aerospace customer placed an order worth $20 million for Velo3D’s innovative, industrial metal...

ORNL Licenses ExOne to 3D Print Parts for Neutron Scattering

It is always exciting to see the work of dynamic industry players merging, as in the latest deal between The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and ExOne,...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.