MakerBot, which last week we saw reproduce a small garden gnome and a variety of other under-8 inch objects via one of the first viable personal 3D scanners, is gearing up to get 3D printed fabrics into the hands of the layperson.
Their Flexible Filament, which debuted over the summer on the Verlan dress (above and at left) from designer Francis Bitonti, should be ready to order in the next few weeks. The polyester-based material, which moves and flexes with the body, was first used by Bitoni while 3D printing his design during a workshop at Pratt. Using two of MakerBot’s Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers for 24 hours a day over two weeks, the designer and his students were able to produce the “second skin” design, so called for the way it replicates a body’s muscles and tendons.
With the advent of commercially available Flexible Filament just around the corner, Bre Pettis, MakerBot’s CEO, is looking forward to finally putting together 3D printing and clothes: “We’ve always known it was a very successful tool for modeling and prototyping hardware and jewelry associated with fashion, but to see the evolution into clothing, especially using new materials like our MakerBot Flexible Filament, is very exciting,” he said. “It is especially exciting to us to see the fashion industry embrace 3D printing.”
Bonus: if you live in New York, you can hear Bitoni speak at the MakerBot store tonight. The event is $5 and starts at 7:30 pm.