Aug 30, 2017 | By Benedict

Simon Sorensen, creator of the YouTube channel RCLifeOn, has uploaded a video tutorial for making 3D printed t-shirt designs. The maker uses NinjaFlex flexible filament to 3D print patterns directly onto cotton t-shirts.

Most of us wear our love for 3D printing on our sleeves, at least in a figurative sense. But what if you could actually use your beloved 3D printer to print designs onto your garments—sleeves and elsewhere?

That’s the thinking behind maker Simon Sorensen’s latest tutorial, which shows you how to make “crazy flexible 3D printed t-shirt designs.”

In the seven-minute video uploaded to the RCLifeOn channel, Sorensen explains how he ditched an unsuccessful PLA printing approach (the designs came off in the washing machine) and decided to attempt using a flexible filament—NinjaFlex—to make new and improved decals.

The results are pretty impressive.

While you wouldn’t normally think of strapping a plain t-shirt onto your print bed (and for good reason!), Sorensen seems to have found some success with the approach.

The secret, he says, is getting stuck into your printer g-code to find the optimal settings for printing on cotton.

“We are looking for the filament to really fuse into the fabric—that’s that's the goal here,” Sorensen explains.

After discovering that two layers caused the design to easily peel off from the t-shirt, Sorensen switched to a single layer, and the result is an intricate design that stays attached to the cotton even when it is scrunched up, scratched, and generally put through its paces.

The only big problem with flexible filament was the presence of “blobs” of material left on the t-shirt when the nozzle hopped across large areas of the design. This, Sorensen says, does take a bit of cleaning up if you’ve chosen a particularly fine and intricate pattern to print.

But the biggest test, of course, was putting the 3D printed t-shirt through the washing machine. Would the 3D printed pattern remain, or would water, detergent, and high-intensity spinning cause the colorful creation to fall apart?

After washing and drying the garment, Sorensen found that the 3D printed design survived without any damage, proving that flexible filament can be used to create awesome t-shirt decals that will last—for at least a few spin cycles.

Sorensen says he made his t-shirt designs in Adobe Illustrator and Fusion 360, slicing the design using Simplify3D. The maker uses a Creality CR-10 Golden 3D printer, but any machine compatible with flexible filament (and with a print bed large enough to lay a t-shirt on) will do the job.

Of course, Sorensen isn’t the first maker to try 3D printing designs onto clothes. Last year, maker Simone Fontana made a similar tutorial showing you how to 3D print graphics directly onto t-shirts.

Interestingly, Fontana recommended using three layers, while Sorensen found that a single layer worked best. However, that could be because Fontana opted for PLA, something Sorensen advises against because of its incompatibility with the washing machine!

Experts say that 3D printed clothing could be commonplace sooner than we think. We’re not sure if this counts, but 3D printed decals are a great way to whip up a customized garment at home. 3Ders t-shirts, anyone?



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



Maybe you also like: wrote at 12/15/2018 2:48:22 PM:


RVC wrote at 7/30/2018 5:31:26 AM:

High Density Printing already exists to stunning effect with none of the teething or cost of production problems just for that finish. Perhaps now you have a viable base that fuses, you can build UP and OFF the Surface of the garment - like the 3D pen does! that would be new and especially progressive...GET TO IT!! :)

Mark Fireman wrote at 10/4/2017 7:17:10 AM:

Amazing. I would like to speak with you and have a bunch of questions regarding printing on clothing. can I email you? Thank you Mark

I.AM.Magic wrote at 8/31/2017 7:34:24 AM:

Is it really 3D when it is one layer thick?

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