Hair Enthusiasts Rejoice! Synthetic Follicles Are Now 3D-Printable

If you’ve been performing painstaking hair-plug procedures on your 3D-printed troll dolls, then prepare to have your world rocked! [Chris Harrison, Gierad Laput, and Xiang “Anthony” Chen] at Carnegie Mellon University have just released a paper outlining a technique they’ve developed for 3D printing fur and hair. Will the figurine section of Thingiverse ever be the same?

The technique takes advantage of a 3D printing effect that most hobbyists actively try to avoid: stringing. Stringing is what happens when the hot end of a 3D printer moves from one point to another quickly while leaking a small amount of molten filament. This results in a thin strand of plastic between the two points, and is generally perceived as a bad thing, because it negatively affects the surface quality of the print.

brush_highresTo avoid this particular phenomenon, 3D printing slicers generally have options like retraction and wiping. But, instead of trying to stop the stringing, [Chris Harrison, Gierad Laput, and Xiang “Anthony” Chen] decided to embrace it. Through extensive experimentation, they figured out how to introduce stringing in a controlled manner. Instead of random strings here and there, they’re able to create strings exactly where they want them, and at specific lengths and thicknesses.

Examples of what this can be used for are shown in their video below, and include adding hair to figurines or bristles to brushes. Of course, once this technique becomes readily available to the masses, the 3D printing community is bound to find unexpected uses for it. 

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Desktop Decepticon repurposes cell phone


We’ve got a few old cell phones sitting around and apart from salvaging the LCD screen we’re not quite sure what to do with them. [Gingerpete50] turned his into a desktop Decepticon figurine. This masterpiece is a delightful conversation piece and when he’s tired of it decorating his cubicle, we’re sure there will be plenty of people he can hand it down to. The figure doesn’t transform back into a cell phone and it uses a few extra parts he had on hand, but neither of these things bother us. What it does have is some articulated joints and a few LEDs that you can see above. We haven’t tried our hand at custom model building, but after seeing this you can be assured it’s on our list.