Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Disney and Carnegie-Mellon University Develop a 3D Printer That Prints With Yarn

Sometimes the target end-users don't care about your cobalt-chromium laser sintering capabilities.
From 3Ders.org:
Disney Research along with Scott Hudson of Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute have developed a new type of 3D printer that is capable of turning wool and wool blend yarns into fabric objects into soft, interactive objects.
A 3D printer developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh feeds yarn into desired shapes and uses a needle to turn the yarn into a loose felt. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University/Disney Research Pittsburgh
The device looks something like a cross between a 3D printer and a sewing machine and produces 3D objects made of a form of loose felt. Scott Hudson, a professor in CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute who developed the felting printer with Disney Research support, said the results are reminiscent of hand-knitted materials.

According to Hudson's research paper, 'Printing Teddy Bears: A Technique for 3D Printing of Soft Interactive Objects,' the printer 'allows the substantial advantages of additive manufacturing techniques (including rapid turn-around prototyping of physical objects and support for high levels of customization and configuration) to be employed with a new class of material. This material is a form of loose felt formed when fibers from an incoming feed of yarn are entangled with the fibers in layers below it. The resulting objects recreate the geometric forms specified in the solid models which specify them, but are soft and flexible – somewhat reminiscent in character to hand knitted materials. This extends 3D printing from typically hard and precise forms into a new set of forms which embody a different aesthetic of soft and imprecise objects, and provides a new capability for researchers to explore the use of this class of materials in interactive devices.'

...MUCH MORE (it's actually a kinda big deal)