May 1, 2015 | By Simon

Although 3D printing is used in a variety of industries for completely different purposes on a day-to-day basis, it is perhaps the fashion industry that is having one of the biggest influences on what exactly the future of 3D printed products look like.  Considering that the industry is already responsible for helping shape the future of aesthetics for traditionally-manufactured products, this should come with little surprise.

Among other projects that we have seen that are helping to push the boundaries of both additive manufacturing tech and high fashion include the iconic, fully-articulated 3D printed gown, which was created by fashion designer Michael Schmidt, 3D printed in Nylon by Shapeways and famously modeled by celebrity Dita Von Teese in March of 2013.  More recently, in December of 2014, Boston-area design studio Nervous System presented a dress that was created using their custom Kinematics Cloth 4D printing system - which was soon after acquired by the Museum of Modern Art.  The dress, which is designed to flow like natural fabric, was able to be printed in one single print using Shapeways’ industrial 3D printers.  

An earlier interview with the designer

Now, Laura Thapthimkuna, a fashion designer who concentrates on avant-garde and conceptual design and is currently exploring the possibilities of 3D printing in her work, has created a unique neck piece design that look literally out-of-this-world; the "Endotracheal Tubation Neckpiece".

“In the past I have found inspiration in medical procedures and biology,” says Thapthimkuna.  

“For the neckpiece I was inspired by tracheal intubation, which is the insertion of a plastic tube into the throat in order to provide an open airway through the trachea. I wanted to create something that looks like an instrument meant to constrict and give life to someone at the same time, but also has a futuristic and alien-like feel to it.”

The piece was printed in Paintable Resin and finished to have a chrome appearance.  It is currently available as a material option when getting models printed through the materialise 3D printing service.  Although it doesn’t offer optimal functional performance, it does offer excellent surface qualities.  According to Thapthimkuna, the Paintable Resin is nice because it is lightweight but still has a rigid and strong quality, however she plans on experimenting with more materials in the future.  

Although she herself doesn’t use 3D modeling tools directly, she often collaborates with others on her work that use 3D modeling programs including Maya and ZBrush to bring her ideas to life.  Among others, she has collaborated with architects, video game designers and 3D artists.   

To develop her concepts, if she is designing by herself, she starts with sculpting materials such as clay directly on a mannequin model.  She enjoys this part of the process because she never knows if a design is going to come out exactly as she envisioned or if it will look entirely different.

When collaborating with others to develop her concepts, she usually goes back and forth between 2D sketching and 3D modeling to determine the final shapes and textures of what will ultimately be her final 3D printed design.     

“I have found it to be very rewarding though because I am able to create certain shapes and textures that wouldn’t be possible in the traditional manner of making [things] with my own hands,” she says.  

Although it appears that she doesn’t have any plans to continue her neck wear designs into a collection, Thapthimkuna is currently working on some new design concepts that incorporate emotion sensory technology and skin-like materials.

“The idea of creating garments that appear to be breathing and moving is something I want to explore in the future,” she adds.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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