3D printed dress made from 2,279 triangles and 3,316 hinges

Designer Jessica Rosenkrantz writes, "I made this 3D printed dress and the MoMA just acquired it. This video, filmed at Shapeways factory showing the printing and depowdering of the dress (there's also this one, documenting the dress's sounds and movements).

Nervous System's custom-fit dress is an intricately patterned structure of 2,279 unique triangular panels interconnected by 3,316 hinges, all 3D printed as a single piece in nylon. While each component is rigid, in aggregate, they behave as a continuous fabric allowing the dress to flexibly conform and fluidly flow in response to body movement. Unlike traditional fabric, this textile is not uniform; it varies in rigidity, drape, flex, porosity and pattern through space. The entire piece is customizable, from fit and style to flexibility and pattern, with a web-based design app.

Bodies are 3-dimensional but clothing is traditionally made from flat material that is cut and painstakingly pieced together. In contrast, Kinematics garments are created in 3D, directly from body scans and require absolutely no assembly. We employ a smart folding strategy to compress Kinematics garments into a smaller form for efficient fabrication. By folding the garments prior to printing them, we can make complex structures larger than a 3D printer that unfold into their intended shape automatically.

The Museum of Modern Art has added the dress and the software that generated it to their permanent collection.

Kinematics Dress

(Thanks, Jessica)

Notable Replies

  1. This is amazing. It worked!

    I still want to make clothing with displays on it that's this flexible. It is a bit harder to do than making clothing without electronic stuff on it, but this gives me hope.

  2. At first I thought they were making a bunch of pieces to be assembled, but it's actually all one piece and printed as a unit. That's pretty damn cool. The folding part is really interesting. I'm not sure I can imagine any "practical" applications for this, but the very fact that it advances consumer 3D printing makes it worth the effort.

  3. Expandable personal shelters that could be quickly printed on demand after natural disasters.

    Custom-built unfolding splints/casts/braces for field hospitals.

    As you said, most current large printed objects are made with many small pieces assembled by hand. The ability to print "large" (volume, not mass) objects in a small printer, already assembled and ready to unfold has a lot of potential applications, mostly I'm thinking construction techniques, like a geodesic dome frame or something.

  4. So-called 'bricks' allow for easy manual 3D-printing of shelters, even of multi-level height.

  5. Re: shelters...
    Years ago (1960s?) Union Carbide ran TV ads showing off their new expanding polyurethane foam:

    Half inflate a weather balloon, spray foam all over it, use a chain saw to cut some holes for a pre-hung door and window. Insulated shelter in about 30 minutes...

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