3D printing is used to manufacture custom objects on demand. Today, the technology is gaining widespread acceptance at homes, and commercial suppliers and retailers to create custom objects.
Typically, 3D printers print an object using materials such as plastic, ceramics and metal.
Disney has now invented a 3D printer that can print objects using fabric. The fabric may be a natural fiber, such as wool, cotton, silk, linen; or a synthetic fiber such as nylon, polyester, acrylic, rayon, spandex; and may even be semi-synthetic fibers.
The 3D printer cuts a fabric into multiple layers, which, in turn, are bonded together to create the 3D object being printed. The printer includes a laser to cut each layer of the fiber. The adjacent layers are then bonded together.
For example, the Stanford bunny model (shown in the figure above) can be printed with invented 3D printer. The bunny model consists of 32 layers of acrylic felt fabric resulting in a 64 mm high final product. The printing process preserves most of the details in the underlying 3D digital model, like the nose and ears.
Further, the cutting strategy used by the 3D printer automatically provides support to overhung features, as the fabric from the bounding shape of the previous layer serves as support for overhangs.
Publication number: US 20160288417
Patent Title: Three-Dimensional Printer with an Inverted Cutting Surface and a Movable Platform for Creating Layered Objects
Publication date: 6 Oct 2016
Filing date: 30 Mar 2015
Inventors: James McCann; Huaishu Peng; Scott Hudson; Jennifer Mankoff;
Original Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.