It’s finally here: The first 3D printer for clothes is now a reality. A team of biomedical, mechanical and computer engineers has been working on a machine that “prints” real clothes called Electroloom. Liz Bacelar, founder of Decoded Fashion, gave last year an estimate to Mashable: In three years we will have printed clothes. Well, with technology, we should know by now that reality beats any prediction. Electroloom has launched a Kickstarter campaign to test the technology for the first time after more of a year of development. The team won a competition and they were working on this project in a tech accelerator in San Francisco. The price for this first examples is for a “technology (that)reduces the traditional textile manufacturing process into a single step. 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.” Cool, right? Well, what I found more interesting is how the team came up with the idea. As you read before, this is a team of biomedical engineers…So what has this in common with textile design? 3dprintingindustry has the answer:
“During their time studying biomedical engineering, they were inspired by the way in which blood vessels could be engineered using cardiovascular tissue. “While we dreamt of digitizing clothing, and sharing garments as files across the Internet, the actual technological solution seemed elusive. Until we made a strange connection between metal chopsticks and blood vessels.” They then applied the same principles to bond fibers using metal chopsticks and an electric field.
Listen, this is the kind of innovation we want to see in fashion and the pivotal change we were talking in our last post. Multidisciplinary teams and new ways to do things.
“Most people say it looks like magic. We tend to agree. By the time the job is done, the numerous fibers that have been deposited will have formed a single, seamless piece of fabric that retains the shape of the mold.”
You can support their campaign in Kickstarter and even get your hands on one of the first 3d printers for clothes. The prices go a bit high, but still, 100$ for a cutting edge tank top doesn’t seem too crazy if you think that for that price you don’t even buy a t-shirt by Kenzo. Ready to print some clothes?