New 3D printer reduces textile manufacturing ‘to a single step’

A novel 3D printing project launched on Kickstarter
late last week creates sheets of polyester cotton and other fabrics using an electric
field.

3Dprint.com reports that the Electroloom can design and
manufacture clothes “from scratch”.

A user creates a template by hand or in a CAD program. Solutions
are converted into fibres by electro-spinning, which are guided onto the template
by “an internal electric field”.

The San Francisco, California-based team calls the
process “Field Guided Fabrication” or FGF.

The Electroloom’s Kickstarter claims the process “reduces the traditional textile
manufacturing process into a single step.

“Instead of sending raw
material through factories where it undergoes numerous processing steps to
create a traditional textile, we are able to directly convert raw material to
finished good.”

The team behind the project is currently using a custom
polyester-cotton solution, and are working with silk and acrylic blends.

They are currently offering alpha test versions of their machines via Kickstarter for $US 4,500 (and accepting smaller pledges in exchange for FGF created items). 

Image: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/electroloom/electroloom-the-worlds-first-3d-fabric-printer/video_share