Use Blueprint Process To Print On Fabric With Lasers

[Shih Wei Chieh] has built a laser cyanotype printer for fabrics. You know, for art!

How do you get an inkjet head on a shoe or a couch? Most printing processes require a flat surface to print. But hearkening back to the days when a blueprint was a blueprint, a mixture of an iron salt and an acid are mixed and applied to a surface an interesting reaction occurs when the surface is exposed to UV light. The chemicals react to form, of all things, prussian blue. After the reaction occurs simply washing away the remaining chemicals leaves a stable print behind.

[Shih Wei Chieh] uses two galvanometers and a laser to cure the fabric. He uses a slightly newer process which reduces the exposure time required. This lets him print very large pictures, but also on uneven surfaces. As you can see in the video, viewable after the break, the effect is very pretty. There’s a new way to have the coolest pen plotter on the block.

11 thoughts on “Use Blueprint Process To Print On Fabric With Lasers

      1. Indeed the focusing issues were my first thought on reading the comment (not that DLP’s are bad for focus).
        But DLP is definately the way to go if you want to use this method to print many large flat sheets. Its easy to hang a sheet in the right place and print huge with a DLP doing whole sheets potentially in one pass. This would be alot easier at least for hackers than building or buying (and then storing when not in use) a huge x-y inkjet mechanism.

      1. Maybe you should build a removable UV filter to put over the lens to line up the picture, get the prefect focus, etc and then zap it with the UV (in a dark room for I assume half an hour given the intensity of the UV vs. a laser.)

    1. Cyanotypes do need quite a bit of light to expose – even direct sunlight takes a minute or three. I bought a 60W black light to do prints without depending on the sun, and it takes ~10 minutes, and it’s only 3 in from the paper.

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