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Textile fabrication has seen novel applications in custom clothing and texture-based devices thanks to a modified FFF 3D printer from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), in Pittsburgh.
Michael Rivera and Professor Scott Hudson of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at (CMU) pioneered the development of the open-source Prusa i3 for melt electrospinning capabilities. This has produced blended textile and 3D printed wearable objects.
Industry - Rivera - Doctoral - Student - Researcher
3D Printing Industry spoke with Rivera, a Doctoral Student Researcher, on this textile-based plastics method, and how it has enabled the creation of novel interactive items.
The HCII team tweaked the design of a Prusa i3 to have a larger, extensible build volume then added the modifications that support melt electrospinning. When asked about the inspiration behind this project, Rivera responded, “We previously explored how embedding textiles during a 3D printing process could create some useful and customized wearable objects like watch bands or a crown.”
Printer - Step - Textile - Fabrication - FDM
“This current printer is a step towards blending textile fabrication directly into a traditional FDM 3D printing process. With the two combined, users could create interesting digital designs that support both types of material and fabricate the designs in a single process.”
“Such designs could also leverage the electrospun textiles for sensing purposes that can detect the presence of liquids and moisture or changes in pressure. [Also] we can imagine creating custom clothing that actuates open when someone is sweating too much, or a soft shoe insole or seat cushion that can detect how active (or inactive) a person is.”
Mousepad - Plastic - Photo - CMU/Michael - Rivera
An interactive mousepad with electrospun plastic. Photo via CMU/Michael Rivera.
Electrospinning is widely used in biomedical engineering and material science communities to create tissue scaffolding and sanitary products such as bandages. Rivera adds, “We believe there are other interesting creative applications such as interactive clothing and tactile experiences. This process could also potentially be applied to create customized...
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