N12: 3D Printed Bikini
Developed in partnership with Continuum Fashion
, the N12 is the first fully 3D printed Bikini, ready to wear and available for purchase from the Conitnuum's Shapeways Shop
Designed by Continuum Fashion, the N12 if the first completely 3D-printed, ready-to-wear, item of clothing. Previous experiments into the use of 3D printing in clothing have remained purely experimental, haute couture items not available to purchase. This represents the first affordable design that will lead the way for more items fabricated using 3D printing technologies.
“The bikini's design fundamentally reflects the beautiful intricacy possible with 3D printing, as well as the technical challenges of creating a flexible surface out of the solid nylon. Thousands of circular plates are connected by thin springs, creating a wholly new material that holds its form as well as being flexible. The layout of the circle pattern was achieved through custom written code that lays out the circles according to the curvature of the surface. In this way, the aesthetic design is completely derived from the structural design.” Mary Haung, Continuum Fashion
The N12 is named after Nylon 12 (WSF
), the material in which the bikini is 3D printed. Nylon 12 makes an ideal swimsuit material as it is innately waterproof. As well as being the first 3D printed bikini, it is also the first bikini that actually becomes more comfortable when it gets wet.
The N12 was designed using Rhino
3D CAD software and specially written algorithmic script to create the structure of the 3D printed fabric. The algorithm uses a complex 'circle packing' equation on an arbitrarily doubly curved surface (the bikini). The size of the circles responds to curvature and edge conditions of the form, creating smooth edges and a responsive pattern.
photography: Ariel Efron
model: Bojana Draskovic
Digital Fabrics and Patterning
The patterning starts with a curved surface, some geometry to indicate edges and value ranges for the circles sizes and tolerance parameters. The pattern begins placing circles at a point near the edge. Each subsequent circle tries to stay as near to the nearest edge geometry at possible. The circle’s size is determined using this nearness and the local curvature of the surface. Curvier areas get small circles and flatter areas larger, both to help with accurately approximating the surface and to ensure flexibility where it is needed and efficiency of pattern where it is not.
Every time a bend or elbow is encountered in the surface edge, a small gap will be left in the pattern. Gaps will also occur near the middle distances between edges where the placement of the next circle is less certain. After the first level of pattern has been created, these open areas are infilled with smaller circles to ensure complete coverage, and to create a more interesting aesthetic pattern.
One of the goals of the circle patterning system is to be able to adapt it to any surface, at any size. This means that future articles of clothing can be produced using the same algorithm, this could be taken a step further into absolute customization by using a body scan to make a bespoke article of clothing, 3D printed to exactly fit that person only.
About Continuum FashionContinuum Fashion
is comprised of Mary Haung and Jenna Fizel (left to right).
designs and programs interactive environments at Small Design Firm in Cambridge, MA. She has previously worked at KPF in computational geometry and has her BSAD in Architecture from MIT. Jenna is interested in reinterpreting traditional crafts and manufacturing using computational tools.
has a BA in Design and Media Arts from UCLA, and a MA from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID). Most recently, she worked in interaction design at Local Projects in NYC. Her other notable work includes Rhyme & Reason--a collection of LED dresses, and TYPEFACE--a software piece combining facial recognition and typography.