3D printing is getting better at printing in flexible material, but fabric is still a little on the tricky side. Disney Research is hard on the case; after its “3D printing” needle-felting machine a year ago, the film company’s research arm has revealed, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, another fabric “3D printer” that taps into additive manufacturing.
The so-called “Layered Fabric 3D Printer” works along principles similar to those used in polymer deposition. A 3D model is broken down into slices, which are translated into the 3D printer. This is where the two techniques diverge.