PART 8: The future?

So what am I going to do with all this new gained knowledge about 3D printing, design process and working methods?
In February I attended a workshop held by the local school for 8th graders, who had a weeks assignment working with the complete design process from idea to final product. I was invited to talk about my experiences working with 3D print, how I got started, and especially how my working methods had been.

teaching_courses

teaching_courses02

This kickstarted me into the idea that I should teach others about design method, working process and idea generation with focus on using a new technology, 3D print, and how to access that.
I am now working on offering week courses and elective courses to schools with focus on design, and who may have a 3D printer, and maybe also someone who knows how to use it, but where the students still haven´t really started using it. My role is being the link between the creative students and the technical wizards, to make the technology more accessible and easy to understand and work with, so we hopefully in the future will have a lot more people working with 3D print.
I will still be investigating the world of 3D printing, trying to push what is possible to make, and developing new methods to integrate it into fashion design.
If you are interested in getting me to come and teach a course at your school, please get in touch!

PART 7: Summing it up

Trying to sum up what I have done the last 9 months working with 3D print, I can definitely say, that I have learnt a lot! I have developed a technique for how to use 3D printing in the fashion and accessories world, and maybe even in the arts.
I think that I got the tactility and esthetics into a world, that I did not think was neither very tactile nor esthetic when I started 3D printing.

board

Looking back at my process, I can now see, that I have been working a lot with design method, and the ways we work with designing.
Usually you work very method based, and go through several steps in the development phase, before you end up with a final product.
In the process I have been through with 3D printing, I had to put away all my “known” and safe methods, and start working in a completely different way, by testing and testing again and again.
I didn´t have any plan or timeline for what I had to end up with, and it was the trials and errors I did that showed my next path to explore.
In the light of this, it has not only been an exploration of a for me totally new technology, but also an exploration of design working methods and trying to push a little to the way we traditionally are taught to work as designers.

board_02

PART 6: The Constellations_00 jewellery collection

Another thing I was working on alongside the dotted 3D printed fabric was developing accessories.
It all came out of a test print that I made, which I thought was going to be an ornament on a top.
When the 3D print was done, and I took it off the heat bed, it just looked so much like a necklace, that I wasn´t able to let go of it.

star_constellations

star_constellations_test

The print was inspired by star constellations, and I had developed three different ornaments.
I tried printed out another of the ornaments, but this time I added holes in the top for putting in some sort of string, making it into a necklace.
I made the print on mesh, and after it was done, I cut off the fabric surrounding the print, and left the fabric in between the shapes. This way, the print is made by different printed parts, but held together by the mesh fabric, making it flexible, so it follows the body when moving.
I added leather strings to give it some edge and natural references, and voila, I had a final prototype! I printed all three necklaces, and named them The Constellations_00 series, because they are inspired by star constellations.

Constellations_001
Constellations_001

Constellations_002
Constellations_002

Constellations_003
Constellations_003

PART 4: Printing on other materials than mesh

So, now I had actually succeeded in making a 3D print on fabric, and I wanted to see if I could expand the possibilities.
I had another piece of fabric that I wanted to try to print on. It was a thin and stiff polyester, that was very dense in the weave, which would make it impossible for the PLA to melt onto itself on the other side. I made a new shape based on the Zaha Hadid Prima istallation by the firestation in Basel.

Zaha Hadid 3D-Print

The first test of course turned out to peal off immediately after I took it off the heat bed.

3Dprint_on_fabric Zaha Hadid

3Dprint_fail

Martin and I discussed what we could do to make it stick, and we then came up with the theory, that if we turned the heat up and at the same time turned the speed down, maybe the nozzle would have time to heat up the fabric, and the print could melt directly onto the fabric instead.
This actually turned out to work, and this was definitely one of the larger break throughs for me, because I was now able to print on various kinds of materials, and not only on mesh.

print_on_fabric

I was still depending very much on Martin helping me make the 3D models on the computer, so I decided that it was time for me to start learning to do it by myself.
Martin recommended me to start out with Blender, which is the most popular 3D design program amongst 3D printing communities.
It is a huge program to learn, and even though I find myself quite good at learning new programs, and I am an advanced user of many of the Adobe programs, it was quite a challenge.
A began by searching for basic tutorials on Youtube, and from then I just sat down and got started.
I still have a lot to learn, and I find that it takes a lot of time and effort, and even though I think I have a basic understanding of the program now, I would still like to get even better at it.
But by browsing tutorial after tutorial, I got good enough to be able to design some simple shapes, which I could try to print out.

One of the first things I made entirely by myself, was a shape that came out of another collage I had made.
I scanned the collage, and opened it in Illustrator, where I made it into simple lines, and saved it as an SVG.
From there I opened the SVG in Blender, and filled out the shapes. I the used the extrude function, to make it some centimeters high. After that I collapsed the shapes into diamond-looking pointed shapes, and saved the file as an STL.
I opened the STL file in ReptierHost, and sliced the file, so it created a GCode.
Before saving the GCode, I manually wrote the pause code into the code after 3rth layer.

collage

collage_3dprint

Another print I made like this was based on triangles, placed side by side, so the final print was almost like a flexible piece of fabric.

Triangles

When I started out my journey with 3D printing, I also started an Instagram account, where I put out (and still do) my process and tests, and I had already gotten some followers from the 3D print community.
When I posted this print, it was seen by the big online 3D print community called Maker Addictz, so when they shared my post, I got a lot more followers, and I also got more convinced, that what I was doing was unique and interesting to others!

PART 3: First tests printing on fabric

Next up in my 3D printing journey, was to try printing directly onto the fabric.
Martin helped me create the first file. I had a collage made by hand, that I scanned and made into vector graphics in Illustrator. I then saved it as a SVG, and after this Martin took over. He opened up the file in OpenSCad, and made the shape 3 dimensional, simply by putting on some height to the shape.

Printpattern01

We started out the first test by printing on a thin cotton voile, and it quickly turned out, that it wasn´t that easy as it seamed, as the print pealed off as soon as the print was done, and I took it off the heat bed.

3Dprint_on_cottonvoile

Luckily I had also brought another fabric, a thin mesh. Mesh is almost like tulle, but more stretchy, and like tulle it is like a fine net.
I tried this as the next print, and it actually worked! I started the print by printing 3 layers directly on the heat bed, and then adding a pause into the G-code (G-code is, very short explained, the coding language that the 3D printer speaks). Martin again helped me by creating the pause code, and adding it to the G-code.
When the printer was on pause, I added glue stick to the print on the heat bed, and then put the fabric on top of this. When the glue was dried, I continued the print.
By doing it like this, Martin and I discovered that the print would melt onto itself on the other side of the fabric, through the small holes in the mesh, and in that way you would not be able to remove it again.
We did not know from the beginning, that it was going to happen like that, but, because of our tests, we found out that the best fabric to print on was something like mesh, tulle or other net-like materials.

3Dprint_on_fabric

PART 2: Actually printing something

So now the next chapter of my 3D printing journey began.
I had found the Mesostructre file, that I wanted to print, and I then brought it to Labitat, where Martin helped me print my very first print.
I was literally blown backwards by how cool it was to se a 3D printer in action. To start out with a file on the computer, and then seeing the 3D printer print the exact same file out in real 3D was crazy! I was sold at once, and from there on it could only get better.

Mesostrucure_onscreen

Mesostructure

The next prints Martin and I did, where also something I found on Thingiverse. I printed a chainmail, and also a flat constructed flexible shape, made by horizontal lines, connected asymmetrically in one end and the other, which made it super flexible.

3d print

Flexible_shape

I then ran in to my first big obstacle, which was how to move forward with this technology, if I was only able to print things that other people had designed. One of my best skills is designing and developing, but I had a very little understanding of 3D programs, which are the number one tool you need to learn to develop your own prints.
I was also still in a lot of doubt about how to be able to use this technology in a way that would make sense for me. I was very focused on trying to develop some sort of “fabric”, that you could make clothes from, because I couldn’t think of any other options at that time.

Martin came to my rescue, when he told me that he had heard about some people experimenting with 3D printing directly onto the fabric, and that they were still in the test phase with this.
I was immediately blown away by the idea, and was ready to test it right away, because I found that I perhaps would be able to find what I was missing in 3D printing, which was working with tactility and surface.
As a fashion designer you work with a lot of different kinds of fabric and materials, and this is actually one of the things that I am good at – finding and putting together fabrics, working with their texture, surface, the fall of the fabric, combining transparent and opaque materials and so on.
One of the first questions I met when I told people in the fashion industry that I had started working with 3D print was “So, what it is made of?”. When I told that it is made of plastic (PLA), it felt like people weren´t that interested anyways, because classically PLA is not a very nice material to work with in fashion.
By combining 3D print with fabric, I wanted to shift focus from “What is it made of?” to “Wow, can you do that with 3D print as well?”.

My journey through the world of 3D printing – PART 1: The journey begins!

My journey in the world of 3D printing started in august 2015. I only knew a little bit about the technology, and on one hand I was not very impressed about what I had seen, as most of it was little keychains, pencilholders and Darth Vader masks.
On the other hand it felt like it wasn´t something you could just ignore, as I kept seeing people writing about 3D print, and that it was a new and fantastic technology.

Originally I am from the classic world of fashion design, and I work within the field of cashmere knit and outerwear. To jump to working with 3D print did not seem like the next move for me, but I have always bee very fascinated with technology and everything that goes on “behind” the computer screen, so I decided to dig into it anyways.

One of my friends, Martin, is a regular at the makerspace Labitat on H. C. Ørstedsvej in Copenhagen. I contacted him, because I knew that he built his own 3D printer, and that he works with 3D printing every day.

3DPrinter

Se suggested that I started out by going to the website Thingiverse.com, which is a site, where users can upload their designs, so they are available to everyone to use.
On Thingiverse there is a lot of different stuff, and I had to scroll through a lot of Star Wars figures and weird little thingies, before I found something that I found interesting.
I was looking for something, where I could see the technology being used for something else than “just” printing a small plastic thingie, that you would be able to buy in any cheap shop.
Something where the esthetics also played a role, and that I could see it in a larger design context, especially in the field of fashion.
It turned out to be more difficult that I thought, but after a while I found a pattern, that a guy had developed, called Mesostructure. It is a pattern, put together by lines meeting in points 3 by 3, or 4 by 4, and in that way it created a flexible surface.
A designer called Danit Peleg had already used this structure for her graduate collection, and it was the first thing I had seen that combined 3D print and fashion in a way, where I could se the esthetic aspect as well, so this was a good way for me to start testing 3D printing, and see what it was capable of.

Danit_Peleg