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Cellular Textiles
Posted by Bradley Rothenberg 06-04-14
For hundreds of years, textiles have been made through two inherently 2D operations: weaving and knitting. Weaving uses 2 sets of lines (warp & weft) that go over and under on another, whereas knitting uses one line that loops back on itself.
single-thread looping of kniw

single-thread looping, knitting

Weaving

 3D printing gives us a new method for making textiles consisting of 3-dimensional interlocking units. We can control the geometry (i.e, stretch, opacity, thickness, drape etc) of these units to create different textile performances … As the resolution of 3D printers improve, this method will become the new “jacquard loom” for textile making.

 
3D printings impact on textiles is also reminiscent of the invention of spandex. When spandex was introduced, it was the first fabric that could stretch in multiple directions, revolutionizing fashion, especially for athletic wear. Similar to 3D printing, the majority of people using spandex kind of used it as a gimmick. However, about 5% of designers saw the potential in this new material and really took advantage of it’s capabilities. 
 
Imagine a store in the future that has no stock. Instead, you walk in and see the clothes on a screen draped on a 3D scan of yourself. Unlike traditional textile manufacturing methods, there is little waste in additive manufacturing. The process of weaving a textile, then cutting the patterns, and sewing them together is reduced into one step, originating in the computational design. This technology creates a vertical integration that makes this a viable method for bringing fabrication into a retail experience. 

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