3D printers have been around since the start of the 21st century, but as machines become more sophisticated and also more affordable (Makerbots sell for anywhere between $2000 – $3,000), 3D printing has become a hot topic these days.
How does it work:
3D printing uses one machine to create a 3 dimensional object by adding thousands of layers of material together. Digital code tell the machine how to distribute the layers and in what shape to end up with the final object.
At the moment the materials used to create these objects are slightly limited. Metals, sandstone, ceramics and various types of plastics can now be used. If however, you think that printing off a new outfit is impossible – think again as Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitoni have printed off the first fully articulated 3D-printed dress.
That’s right, you are looking at the first fully articulated 3D-printed dress. Printed off at Shapeways. The dress was designed by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitoni specifically for burlesque star Dita Von Teese.
The is made up from 17 different pieces and 3000 joints which enables it to move like a regular dress. Sprinkled with 13,000 Swarovski crystals gives it that little extra luxury factor.
More broadly, 3D printing is a really exciting concept for the fashion industry. At Paris Fashion week in January, designer Iris van Herpen sent some amazing 3D printed sheaths down the catwalk. Imagine if you could custom order the right size and fit of a product off the runway and receive it in 2 weeks?
It won’t be long before we will be able to walk into a changing room, get a 3D scan, and get the garment printed exactly to our fit.
Clearly, there is a big opportunity in manufacturing. In fact, in this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama cited 3D printing as a key to revolutionizing industrial manufacturing. Imagine factories printing new parts? Or personally being able to print the replacement parts for your espresso machine at home rather than mail order it?
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