We’ve covered this topic before; however, with recent advancements in Disney Research’s 3D-printing efforts, we couldn’t help but discuss this topic some more!
Not much is left to the imagination when it comes to 3D printing. After all, we’ve covered topics like 3D-printing with Nutella and even 3D-printing an International Space Station among others. Well, today, we want to take a better look at Disney Research’s take on 3D printing.
Over a year ago, Disney Research unveiled its needle-felting machine. This time around however, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, the innovative duo has released another fabric 3D printer!
The “Layered Fabric 3D Printer” works in a way that a 3D model is broken down into slices, which are then translated into a 3D printer. From this point, lasers are used to cut the outline of each layer from a roll of thick felt. This layer of felt is then placed on the print bed when a layer of heat-sensitive adhesive is activated by a warm disc that’s located on the print head.
This process is then repeated over and over again until the object is fully “printed.” Once this is all said and done, a soft, flexible layered object is revealed.
The printer doesn’t work exclusively with felt; in fact, it works with multiple materials and can integrate two types of fabric into one object. It’s this innovation that Disney says can allow them to invent custom creations on demand that also are interactive electrical objects.
Now, there are some drawbacks to this technique that was designed by Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University. For instance, the Stanford bunny test print, which was 2.5 inches tall took around two and a half hours to print and the layers of this object were more prominent due to the fact that the bunny was relatively small in comparison to the felt that was used to print.
According to Disney Research scientist Jim McCann, there could be a trade-off and that would be that thinner fabric could be used to create a larger bunny. The layers would then be less pronounced; however, the downside to this new process would be that the printing time would increase.
Take a look at this video to get a better look at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University’s latest innovative 3D-printing endeavor:
Copyright Inventionland, 2015