May 16, 2015 | By Simon
Although we’ve seen quite the gamut of 3D printers launch off of Kickstarter’s crowdfunding platform, not all of them are wildly unique from existing 3D printers on the market - many utilize existing technologies and are just variations of size and cost. Alternatively, the popular crowdfunding platform has also been the go-to for some of the most exciting 3d printers as well, including the Form 1 SLA 3D printer from Formlabs and the recent Tiko delta-style 3D printer.
One of the more recent 3D printers that’s sure to knock your socks off - both literally and figuratively - is the Electroloom, which is being billed as “The World’s First 3D Fabric Printer”. We first heard about Electroloom in 2014 however this is the first time that the company has launched the technology.
Inspired by a combination of existing 3D printers, the Maker movement and accessible design, the Electroloom’s creators wanted to put technology in the hands of designers that would allow them to design and manufacturer clothes from scratch.
The printer - which is starting at $4,500 for the first 10 backers and is currently in a developer stage - is a tool for designing and manufacturing custom 3D fabrics. The machine omits the need for any thread, needles or sewing in favor of simple CAD skills to design various patterns for the printable garments.
“Behind the scenes, our technology reduces the traditional textile manufacturing process into a single step,” says Electroloom on their Kickstarter page.
“Instead of sending raw material through factories where it undergoes numerous processing steps to create a traditional textile, we are able to directly convert raw material to finished good.”
Among other clothing items that can be custom design and manufactured using the Electroloom include skirts, tank tops, beanies and children’s clothing - among others.
To create the garments, a mold is created of the desired clothing’s final shape. According to the company, even 2D graphics programs such as Adobe’s Illustrator can be used to create the final design for the molds. Once the mold has been created, it is placed inside of the 3D printer’s printing chamber.
To actually create the garment, a unique liquid solution developed by Electroloom is guided onto the mold via an electric field to create a layered nano-fiber structure that eventually becomes a seamless fabric and ultimately, a wearable garment. The company calls this process Field Guided Fabrication (FBF).
Currently, the company is working with a custom polyester/cotton blend which is compatible with the stock molds that the Electroloom ships with. While the company is still in the process of developing other fabric solutions, the existing material solution is compatible with all of the stock molds that ship with the unit and any DIY molds that are made by the user.
According to the company, this is just the beginning and they have lots of projects in the pipeline for the near future of Electroom and their Field Guided Fabrication technology - including the ability to create multi-colored garments with a single click.
The team has turned to Kickstarter to help raise $50,000 to bring their technology to market. With 30 days to go, the company has already raised over $13,000 of that $50,000.
“This is a new technology that has a considerable amount of development in its future,” added the company.
“Ultimately, this campaign is all about building relationships. We're here to support you--from helping with bugs, to providing design help, to even manufacturing and shipping you molds if you are unable to create them yourselves. We're excited to engage with you, and to help you be as creative as possible.”
Those who are interested in finding out more or even purchasing their very own Electroloom can head over to the company’s Kickstarter page.
Posted in 3D Printers
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AMnerd wrote at 5/18/2015 10:16:40 AM:
So how do they produce the mold? I'm not saying that liquid textiles are not innovative but 3d printing they are not
Michelle Warin wrote at 5/18/2015 3:05:01 AM:
Very exciting information!! I have a BS degree in Apparel Design & Textile Science From Iowa State University, graduated in 1992, yep just aged myself. I have experience in the area of garment construction and in working with a vast array of textiles. Watching your video took me back to the days of being in ISU's Textile Testing Laboratory. if you are interested in continuing a conversation regarding garment construction properties that could interface with 3D construction and printing, I might be of some assistance. Feel free to contact me via email or telephone. Best Regards, Michelle Warin firstname.lastname@example.org 641.780.7888