It’s 3D Printed, and It’s Flexible

By on February 14th, 2014 in Design, research


At NYC’s 3D Printshow this week there are plenty of amazing items to check out. One that caught our eye was very flexible. 
Designed by 3D print service Digits2Widgets as a means to demonstrate the possibilities of 3D printing, the “fabric” is quite flexible. So flexible it’s almost comfortable against your skin. It’s like cloth, as it droops when lifted (see above image). 
It’s composed of zillions of tiny interlocked pieces, some offering “shields” for the “exterior surface”, which we think is how the feel of the “fabric” is achieved. This is in spite of the fact that each individual piece is made from hard, 3D printed SLS nylon material. 

These 3D print samples are quite unlike other flexible items we’ve seen. Other items may be flexible because they offer a couple of joints, while others are made with rubbery material. These are neither. The material has a delicate, light feel that almost seems warm. The material even has a pleasant soft sound when it’s flexed. 

Currently 3D printed fashions are mainly “hard” accessories or simple flexible items like chains. These “fluid samples” are quite different. 

Digits2Widgets Design Director Jonathan Rowley hopes artists and designers pick up on this concept and begin to 3D print “real” flexible garments that are actually light, comfortable and totally flexible. We hope so too.