In preparation for the launch of the innovative, Fuse 1 desktop SLS system, Formlabs contacted leading 3D printing designers N-e-r-v-o-u-s S-y-s-t-e-m about using some of their Kinematics dress designs for their new secret project. They were particularly interested in printing a Kinematics garments, but the Fuse 1 machine is MUCH smaller than the 3D printer that fabricated previous Nervous Systems garments.
The dresses are usually printed on the largest EOS printer at Shapeways, which has a build volume of 65x55x35 cm. The Formlabs Fuse 1 is only 1/14th the size of that machine. A Kinematics Dress definitely wouldn’t fit in there. Rather than dismiss the idea of being able to print clothing in such a small build volume, Nervous System built a new chainmail system to achieve much greater compression.
The Nervous System due started thinking about applying the design+simulation techniques of their Kinematics system to other types of textile structures like chainmail a few years ago. The Kinematics Dress is made up of hinged triangles which tessellate to cover the body. The hinges not only create a garment with fabric-like motion but also enable folding of the garment computationally to produce a smaller configuration for efficient 3D printing. Hinges have a very limited range of motion though, only allowing for rotation around a fixed axis. A loose, unconstrained structure like chainmail should be able to compress much more compactly.
Nervous System were able to fit a Kinematics Link bodice (US size 6) in about half the build space of the Fuse 1. The bounding box of this prototype was 13x13x16.8cm, approximately 4% of the bounding box of the unfolded design. That’s a lot of compression! The Kinematics Link Bodice is composed of 11,311 interlocking parts, making it the most intricate garment we’ve ever created (the most intricate kinematics dress we’ve made only had 3,212). With this level of detail, the resulting garment is considerably lighter, more flexible, and more fabric-like than our previous garments.
The Kinematics Link simulation reduced the bounding box of this bodice to 13x13x16.8cm (a mere ~4% of its original bounding box), making it possible to print as a single piece in the Fuse 1 printer. This is still an early phase of the project. Once it is a little further along, the designers will release more information about the design system and simulation invented to make this garment possible.