The reality of 3d printing within the fashion industry is now upon us, technology such as HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3d printers are giving designers the opportunity to manufacture customisable bespoke solutions that fit exactly to an individuals shape/form, on demand and at a speed/price point that is commercially acceptable.
Here at Europac3D we recently teamed up with Annie Foo, a young Fashion designer who studied at Central St Martins before recently completing a masters degree in Fashion Womenswear at the Royal College of Art in London. Annie’s vision is to explore innovative methods of making whilst merging style with desire to help reduce the impact fashion has on the future environment. A keen eye on combining traditional shoe making with new and innovative technologies that will push the boundaries of industrial fashion design and manufacture.
Annie started her quest by 3d scanning shoe lasts and human feet to create a digital base model from which to develop her designs around. Using software such as Gravity Sketch VR, Annie’s freehand brush strokes were captured perfectly while still conforming to the underlying base digital model. The designs were then refined in software such as Rhino3D and a 3D printable solid model was created in the form of an STL file.
The use of 3d scanning technology to scan the human form is highly significant in moulding the way we will acquire fashion in the near future, the time whereby completely customised fashion garments are manufactured on demand and fit exactly to the individuals form is just6 around the corner.
3D Printing shoes on HP 4200 Multi Jet Fusion
The next task was to 3d print the designs in a material that was strong enough for functional prototypes to be made. Annie worked in close collaboration with the engineers at Europac3D to calculate the optimal material for production of a working shoe that could withstand the weight of a human, without compromising the original design aesthetics.
The second iteration of designs was a complete success, the shoes were 3d printed using a HP 4200 Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printer based at our offices in Cheshire, UK. The material chosen was a PA12 Nylon, which offered an excellent balance between strength and flexibility for this application. A pair of shoes takes just 3 hours to build and the raw material cost is at a point that would not be out of place on the high street. The significance of this is 3d printing until recently has been limited primarily to concept modelling and early prototypes, before manufacture being switched to traditional methods for mass production. The HP technology now offers an alternative route to manufacture with the added benefit are being able to digitally manufacture each individual shoe to a person’s shape/form or to customise each item bespoke to the individual.
The final pieces that were used for the catwalk were painted and finished with leather. Annie comments, “There is no such things of zero waste fashion unless we don’t consume,”. “The only solution is to buy less and select fashion products carefully. Only buy the clothes and shoes that perfectly fit your body and use materials that last for longer.”
With these sustainability issues in mind, Annie decided her creations not only needed to look good visually, they also needed to meet demands of durability. The use of innovative scanning and 3D printing technology has enabled Annie to show us the future fashion manufacture whereby items will be custom made on demand, but still with an eye on sustainability and traditional processes.
For more information about the HP 5200 3d printer series in the UK please contact us on 01270 216000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.