Sunday, August 01, 2010

Thermoplastic Chainmail

3D printers (sometimes called replicators or fabricators) use various techniques to create complex shapes from molten or powdered plastics, and now their operators are turning their attentions to the ripe possibilities for couture.

In best Star Trek fashion replicated garments are created in exactly the right size and shape, without need for tailoring or wasted materials, and as with most emerging technologies we are assured that the possibilities are endless. Current techniques either use knotted “stitches” that are an affront to the gods of topology, or linked pieces resembling chainmail - assuming that medieval artisans had access to wire in disco-era dayglo colours, that is.


Making clothes in this way is not a new idea, even outside science fiction, with work by pioneering designhaus Freedom Of Creation dating back ten years or more, but as the fabricators themselves are spreading from the big R&D labs to the basements of physics geeks, there is a growing chance of encountering homebrew implementations of such couture at the cons and fairs. The reception that these pioneers receive, of course, will remain to be seen…

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