# Fabrics (newbie question)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lardzor, Dec 8, 2011.

1. Lardzor New Member
I know that some pretty cool fabrics have been made with 3D printing. using interlocking pieces. I've only ever been able to find small examples of what I was hoping for. Here are a few things I found online:

http://tinyurl.com/7bvl5s9

Is it possible to design an entire garment (say a shirt) from these or some similar (hopefully cooler) material and 'pre-fold' it inside the computer software so that it fits into the printable area of a 3D printer. I know they sell small 3D printed bikinis, but I wasn't impressed with the materials used, and I don't wear bikinis.

Regards,
Lardzor

2. stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
Is it possible? Sure. Interlocking, folded, are all things that can be included in the design decisions.

Is it reasonable? That's another question.

Your first problem is going to be that the items are going to be EXPENSIVE. Let's use a rough measure of eight square feet of "cloth" for a small shirt. That's ~7500 cm2 of plastic. At 2mm thick, that'd be 15,000 cm3 of plastic. WSF at \$1.40 per cm3 means that shirt is going to cost you some \$20,000 to print a shirt.

The second problem is that as you run into the larger shirt sizes, you will start filling up the "build volume" of the printer, and may have limitations as to how much can be printed at one time.

The other problem you will run into quickly is the million triangle limit. People run afoul of that limit now with small 10cm models, I can only imagine how many triangles would be required for a full shirt.

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This technology is getting better, and will continue to do so. Some day, we will be able to print at the near-atomic level in 50 or 100 separate materials, all at the same time. It's just not "reasonable" yet today.

And, FYI.. if you DO have that kind of money.. I'd be happy to design such a shirt for you. <grin>

Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
3. Lardzor New Member
Odd. When I buy shirts in the store, they come pre-folded. Usually around a piece of cardboard with pins stuck all through them. The whole thing seems to be in a package about 25x40x2 centimeters in size. A block that size is 2000 square centimeters. I'm probably off on the dimensions, but I don't think I'm off by a factor of 7. Still prohibitively expensive, but not as much. I was also thinking that computers software might allow for more efficient folding than sweat shops in Malaysia are producing. (I always check the label for "Made in Malaysian sweatshop" before I buy)

Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
4. JamesSaunders New Member
I think you are off by an order of magnitude; at 2mm thick you are looking at about 1500 cm^3, a price of about \$2000. Still, not exactly cheap

5. stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
One thing that is going to be a major factor here is that the current printing materials do not allow for the thickness (thin-ness?) that you would need to simulate normal fiber-based cloth. Even a coarse cotton would have a thread count at least over 50, which would translate roughly to 1/2 mm threads.

With the current printing materials, you're going to have to be up over 1mm thick. This is due in part to the strength of the material, but also the limitations with resolution of the printer at this time.

That makes an equal area of cloth at least double the thickness, and therefore couldn't fold down as compact.

The mechanized fiber-based technologies are well over 100 years old. Just imagine what we'll be able to do with 3d printing 100 years from now. <grin>