3D Printing Wearables with a Net

If you want to build wearables, you need to know how to sew, right? Maybe not. While we’re sure it would come in handy, [Drato] (also known as [RobotMama]) shows how she prints designs directly on a net-like fabric. You can see a video of the process below.

The video after the break shows an Ultimaker, but there’s really nothing particularly special about the printer. The trick is to print a few layers, pause, and then insert the fabric under the printer before resuming the print.

[Drato] holds the fabric down after inserting it, and mentions you can use glue to hold it down, too. We wondered if some bulldog or alligator clips might work. The only thing we worried about is if the fabric were made of some synthetic, it might not take hot plastic without melting.

[Drato] mentions she uses Organza, which is a sheer fabric often found on wedding gowns. However, she doesn’t mention if she is using the polyester, silk, or nylon type of the fabric. A little research shows that polyester and nylon fabrics melt at about 295 C. Silk was harder to track down, but since you can iron it on a medium setting, that might work, too. Of course, the temperature where it melts and the temperature where it just deforms beyond use might be different, so some experimentation is probably wise.

What really piqued our interest was the application to creating wearables without sewing. We’ll be curious what other applications you could find for printing directly on a fabric substrate.

Even if you can 3D print on netting, you probably should still figure out the whole sewing thing. Or, you can just train a robot to do it.

5 thoughts on “3D Printing Wearables with a Net

  1. No I’m not into fashion, but I do recognize the potential this has…
    And it’s certainly useful for other things as well. Because, this is also a very effective way of making hinges that are relatively durable and flexible, and don’t require the hassle of flexible printing materials.
    The most interesting part you could print with a lot of hinges are tracks… tank tracks for your robot…
    Using this technique you could print tank-tracks without having to worry about the hinges on every piece of track.
    Think about it…

  2. Just tested it, and, as long as you set a new Z origin in the gcode to deal with the thickness of the cloth (minus a little to force the plastic into the material), you can print on top of other materials. I slowed my (PLA) print speed right down to 6, set my temp to 240C , and set my first layer height to the maximum my Maker Select v2 will allow. It worked really well.

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