Oct 25, 2015 | By Kira

This week marked an important date in both science and pop culture, as the past caught up with the present, and brought us back to the future. That is, this past Wednesday, October 21st , the world celebrated the ‘actual’ date that 1980s pop-culture heroes Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to in the infamous Back to the Future trilogy. In the film’s vision of 2015, flying cars and hoverboards get us from point A to B, while on the fashion scene, self-lacing shoes and self-fitting jackets are the norm. Yet, as us millennials know, so far none of those predictions have really come true. Rather than waiting for some future designer to make it happen, wearable’s technology expert and Instructables member Lara Grant used 3D printing technology and some nifty sewing tricks to recreate the auto-adjusting jacket that put the ‘fly’ in Marty Mcfly.

“My love for dynamic wearable’s and the movie Back to the Future Part II sparked the desire to make Marty McFly’s auto-adjusting jacket a reality,” said Grant. As in the movie, the jacket was created around the idea that clothes could be purchased ‘on-size-fits-all’, and if the sleeves are too long, a pulley system would see them self-adjust to the correct size. By simply pushing a button on the jacket hem, cables threaded internally throughout the jacket and sleeves are wound around a 3D printed pulley mechanism, drawing the sleeves up.

The pulley was inspired by this 3D printed bear with driven miter gear design, uploaded by Instructrables user Paolo Salvagione, who printed his on an Object 500 Connex printer in Veroclear, so he could see through to the moving parts. For Grant’s jacket, the 3D printed parts include the motor mount, bevel gear, Y connector and a sewable attachment. Grant also thanks fellow Instructables user and 3D software designer JON-A-TRON for contributing to the jacket’s creation.

To achieve the most authentic look possible, she ordered a jacket online that was actually inspired by the movie, but insists that any jacket with sleeves would work as well. She also suggests finding one made with a heavier material, such as real or faux leather, since thinner materials may sag under pressure from the movement. As for the exposed gears? Those were an intentional design choice: “In my opinion, adding a cover to the mechanism would add unnecessary bulk plus the gears look very cool on their own,” she said.

No stranger to combining technology with fashion, self-described “sewing and soldering” expert Lara Grant currently teaches an interactive fashion and textile class called Wearable and Soft Interactions at California College of the Arts. She also has a background in costume design and pattern-making, which explains her commitment to accuracy and authenticity in recreating Marty’s iconic look.

October 21st, 2015 may have come and gone, but the Back to the Future films—as well as their optimistic vision of our technology-driven future—are as timeless as ever. Besides, with 3D printed super high-tech wearables already hitting the scene, with or without flying cars, the future is now.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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