3D Printing With Yarn and Silicone

This one is apparently a few years old, but the idea looks so good that we’re left wondering whatever happened to it.

[Seyi Sosanya] made what amounts to a 3D printer, but one that prints in a unique way: wrapping yarn around pillars and then post-dipping them in a silicone glue. The result is a tough, flexible 3D mesh that’s lightweight and looks fairly resilient. We’re not at all sure what it’s good for, but watching the video about the project (embedded below) makes us want to try our hand at this sort of thing.

So what happened? Where did this project go? Is anyone else working on a glue-plus-fabric style printer? Is anyone doing this with carbon fiber and epoxy? We can also imagine that with the right adhesive this could be used less like a loom and more like a traditional FDM machine, although weaving the layers together may provide additional strength in what would be the Z direction, and for that you’d need the supports.

Our Hackaday-search-fu turned up this hybrid 3D printing and carbon fiber build method, and this project where they’re headed in exactly the direction we were thinking of, albeit with an incredibly expensive robot arm.

What about it, 3D-printing nerds? Adding ground-up wood or metal or pixie dust to your plastic filament is one thing, but if you want tensile strength in the X-Y plane, it’s going to be hard to beat a continuous fiber. What do you say?

8 thoughts on “3D Printing With Yarn and Silicone

  1. Yes; it might be old – but it is impressive. I’m not sure it its easy to do, though. Perhaps the mechanical and programming complexity has put people off. But perhaps the mechanical complexity, with all that preparation for each different print, means it is a more practical trade-off, for most prints, to just accept the lower strength of a non-woven print. So this might be thought of as a useful variation of what we call 3D printing; but a variation for a specific purpose. It’s a bit like saying you can mould things from concrete. That’s true, and easy to do, but some structures need need to be moulded around a skeleton built from Rebar (steel rod) to do their particular job.

  2. First thought was: What are you gonna do with it?
    Second thought: I don’t want to be cleaning dog pooop out of those shoe soles.
    3rd. Hmm.. Has a big resemblance to the robot building a rope bridge.

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