Return to Video

Why 3D printing clothes is NOT the future

  • 0:00 - 0:11
    36C3 preroll music
  • 0:14 - 0:21
    Herald Angel Noujoum: Hello and
    welcome to our next talk,
  • 0:21 - 0:27
    Why 3D printing clothes is NOT the future.
    Short question to the audience:
  • 0:27 - 0:32
    Who of you has already 3D printed anything?
    Please raise your hand.
  • 0:32 - 0:36
    That's what I thought, I estimate that's about
    80 % of the audience in this hall.
  • 0:36 - 0:39
    I am not surprised, it is the topic of this talk,
    that's why you are here.
  • 0:39 - 0:42
    Second question: Who of you
  • 0:42 - 0:47
    has already tried 3D printing clothes?
    Please raise your hand again.
  • 0:47 - 0:55
    I see four people.
    So, how did it go?
  • 0:55 - 0:58
    One person indicates
    that it worked out well,
  • 0:58 - 1:02
    the others are showing hand gestures
    of "not that well".
  • 1:02 - 1:06
    Who of all the people that have
    already 3D printed
  • 1:06 - 1:10
    has thought about printing clothes?
  • 1:10 - 1:13
    Ok, about 10 people have thought
    about that.
  • 1:13 - 1:18
    Our next speaker, Rebekka, will tell you
    why it might not be the best idea
  • 1:18 - 1:22
    to 3D print clothes.
    On the internet
  • 1:22 - 1:27
    and especially Twitter, Rebekka is known
    by her nickname Kurfuerstin
  • 1:27 - 1:32
    and she is a clothing technician. Her
    research includes
  • 1:32 - 1:35
    traditional apparel production, she has
    worked in a fashion company,
  • 1:35 - 1:39
    at the theater and at a tv show.
  • 1:39 - 1:42
    Also, she is researching innovative
    techniques such as 3D printing
  • 1:42 - 1:47
    and virtual clothing simulation,
  • 1:47 - 1:51
    meaning software that realistically
    simulates clothes
  • 1:51 - 1:56
    on a virtual avatar.
  • 1:56 - 1:59
    Have fun with the talk ,
    I hope you will learn a lot
  • 1:59 - 2:02
  • 2:02 - 2:04
    and please welcome Rebekka with a
    round of applause. Thank you.
  • 2:04 - 2:08
    applause
  • 2:08 - 2:12
    Speaker Rebekka/Kurfuerstin: I just
    received some mail really quick,
  • 2:12 - 2:17
    but that won't stop me from giving
    my talk. Welcome,
  • 2:17 - 2:22
    nice to see you all here, in this hall
    and on the live stream and...
  • 2:22 - 2:26
    additional mail, okay, a lot happening
    on this stage. I will maybe read that later,
  • 2:26 - 2:33
    but it is great to know that the
    post office system works!
  • 2:33 - 2:38
    The title of my talk is "Why 3D printing
    clothes is not the future".
  • 2:38 - 2:44
    It will be about the properties of
    3D printed clothes and
  • 2:44 - 2:51
    what would need to happen in order
    for it to be a serious alternative
  • 2:51 - 2:54
    for everyday wear. I was just introduced
    as a clothing technician.
  • 2:54 - 2:58
    In case you don't know what this strange
    combination of words means,
  • 2:58 - 3:04
    clothes and technology, a short
    explanation.
  • 3:04 - 3:07
    When clothes are made, at one side,
    you have the design, the idea.
  • 3:07 - 3:13
    But the realization, the production,
    happens somewhere else entirely
  • 3:13 - 3:17
    and by some other person.
  • 3:17 - 3:21
    In a simplified way, a person creates
    the design for a dress
  • 3:21 - 3:24
    and says: I designed this dress.
  • 3:24 - 3:30
    So they have a nice picture from which
    you can learn some information, but not much.
  • 3:30 - 3:34
    And they go to a factory and say: please make this dress.
  • 3:34 - 3:38
    The production will kindly ask: where is the table of information?
  • 3:38 - 3:42
    Because the production site wants to have all the information about the dress.
  • 3:42 - 3:47
    And the designer then asks: what?
    And the production then asks: what?
  • 3:47 - 3:50
    And that would be the end of it.
  • 3:50 - 3:54
    Because the factory wants to know,
    which fabric do we need for the dress,
  • 3:54 - 3:59
    and how much? Which sizes will be made, and
    how many dresses in which sizes?
  • 3:59 - 4:02
    Which machines do we need for that, what
    text will be on the care instruction labels
  • 4:02 - 4:06
    and what will be the exact position of the
    labels on the side seam in cm?
  • 4:06 - 4:11
    All those questions cannot be answered
    by the illustration of the dress.
  • 4:11 - 4:15
    And that is where clothing technology comes in,
    as the intersection between design and production.
  • 4:15 - 4:21
    It's about the technical feasibility and
  • 4:21 - 4:25
    what needs to be done
    to manufacture clothes.
  • 4:25 - 4:30
    It's about materials, quality,
    prices and locations.
  • 4:30 - 4:35
    Where should the production take place,
    and when?
  • 4:35 - 4:38
    All these questions need answers
    and that is the responsibility
  • 4:38 - 4:43
    of clothing technicians. And this kind
    of reality check,
  • 4:43 - 4:48
    the perspective of feasibility, is the perspective
    I also chose to examine 3D printing.
  • 4:48 - 4:52
    If you search for the words "3D print" and
    "clothes", you will get headlines like these.
  • 4:52 - 4:59

    For example: 3D printing will bring
    flexibility into the fashion industry.
  • 4:59 - 5:03
    Or: The fashion of the future. Or: Will the
    street wear of the future be 3D printed?
  • 5:03 - 5:08
    Or: Can 3D printing fundamentally
    change the fashion industry?
  • 5:08 - 5:12

    A few years ago, the headlines were
    even more sensational.
  • 5:12 - 5:16
    They were predicting that by 2020, we
    would print a sweater in the morning,
  • 5:16 - 5:19
    melt it down in the evening and then
    print a new one the next day.
  • 5:19 - 5:22
    Nowadays, the predictions have
    become a bit more careful,
  • 5:22 - 5:24
    at least with a question mark at the end.
  • 5:24 - 5:29
    But even from these headlines,
    you get the sense that something
  • 5:29 - 5:33
    will fundamentally change the
    fashion industry.
  • 5:33 - 5:38
    There is also the hope of
    a sustainable production
  • 5:38 - 5:41
    with the argument, that the procedure
    of 3D printing is sustainable.
  • 5:41 - 5:45
    Sustainability is a major topic
    in the fashion industry.
  • 5:45 - 5:49
    The question is if 3D printing
    might be the solution.
  • 5:49 - 5:55
    Clothes have already been 3D printed,
  • 5:55 - 5:58
    it's not even that new or unrealistic.
  • 5:58 - 6:02
    There are entire 3D printed collections and
    I will show some examples now.
  • 6:02 - 6:08
    In Israel, Danit Peleg printed her entire
    final collection of five outfits.
  • 6:08 - 6:13
  • 6:13 - 6:18
    One example is the two piece outfit on
    the right, a top and a floor length skirt.
  • 6:18 - 6:25
    The skirt has been printed using
    only desktop printers,
  • 6:25 - 6:30
    meaning that it consists of
    modules of A4 size
  • 6:30 - 6:34
    that have been connected afterwards.
  • 6:34 - 6:38
    It is flexibel, because it was printed
    with a flexible filament,
  • 6:38 - 6:42
    but also because it made up
    of a zigzag structure
  • 6:42 - 6:46
    that allows for it to pull on it.
  • 6:46 - 6:51
    If you pull it up, it bounces up and down.
  • 6:51 - 6:55
    The jacket is the first
    3D printed ready-to-wear
  • 6:55 - 7:00
    article of clothing that
    you can order online,
  • 7:00 - 7:05
    in limited edition of 100 pieces.
  • 7:05 - 7:10
    It costs 1500 $.
  • 7:10 - 7:14
    You can choose the color and
    some writing on the back
  • 7:14 - 7:18
    and then the jacket will be
    printed in 100 hours.
  • 7:18 - 7:24
    Another example is from the
    design collective Nervous System,
  • 7:24 - 7:29
    who have developed the Kinematics System.
  • 7:29 - 7:33
    It consists of triangles
    that are connected by hinges,
  • 7:33 - 7:38
    making the whole structure flexible.
  • 7:38 - 7:44
    But it is made of a hard material.
    It can move, but it is not elastic
  • 7:44 - 7:49
    and it rattles a bit when you move.
    They also developed an opaque version.
  • 7:49 - 7:53

    The dress on the right is based
    on the same triangle structure,
  • 7:53 - 7:58
    but there are some kind of
    petals on top of it.
  • 7:58 - 8:04
    So the dress is opaque.
  • 8:04 - 8:10
    A third example is the Pangolin Dress
  • 8:10 - 8:13
    which is also made of a structure
    of interlocked modules
  • 8:13 - 8:16
    that can move on top of
    and into each other,
  • 8:16 - 8:22
    thus making the structure flexible.
  • 8:22 - 8:27
    You can move in the dress and the
    dress adjusts to your movements.
  • 8:27 - 8:31
    One of the people working on it is
    Travis Fitch, a designer working in New York.
  • 8:31 - 8:35
    I contacted Travis and said: I am a
    clothing technician, I love numbers.
  • 8:35 - 8:39
    How do you know if a newly developed
    structure is suitable for a dress?
  • 8:39 - 8:44
    How do you know if the elasticity
    is high enough
  • 8:44 - 8:50
    to use it in a piece of clothing?
  • 8:50 - 8:54
    Do you do laboratory tests?
  • 8:54 - 9:00
    And he answered, well, I pull at it and then
    I either say it is okay or not.
  • 9:00 - 9:03
    So the clothing technician in me
    came through and said,
  • 9:03 - 9:08
    well how about numbers? So I offered
    to test some of his structures,
  • 9:08 - 9:15

    to conduct some laboratory experiments
  • 9:15 - 9:19
    in order to examine how the properties
    can be expressed in numbers and units.
  • 9:19 - 9:23
    Those were only three examples.
    There are many more
  • 9:23 - 9:29
    on catwalks and in fashion shows. It is clear
    that those examples are not everyday wear.
  • 9:29 - 9:34
    They are special made-to-order products,
  • 9:34 - 9:38
    it takes months to create them,
  • 9:38 - 9:43
    they consist of 300 different pieces
    that need to be assembled.
  • 9:43 - 9:47
    But the headlines about fundamentally
    changing the fashion industry
  • 9:47 - 9:51
    are about everyday wear.
  • 9:51 - 9:55
    Custom-made items on a catwalk
    do not change the whole industry.
  • 9:55 - 9:59
    Something needs to happen
    before that applies to everyday wear.
  • 9:59 - 10:04
    That is why I ask, what kind of properties
    do clothes need to have
  • 10:04 - 10:08
    in order to be everyday wear,
    meaning clothes
  • 10:08 - 10:14
    that we can wear every day and
    for every occasion?
  • 10:14 - 10:19
    First of all, clothes need
    to be comfortable.
  • 10:19 - 10:24
    There are four aspects of wearing comfort.
  • 10:24 - 10:30
    First, the psychological wearing comfort
    which is about fashion trends,
  • 10:30 - 10:36
    societal norms and individuality.
  • 10:36 - 10:40
    The fact that I am standing here
    in a t-shirt and a hoodie
  • 10:40 - 10:44
    is particularly apt for this congress.
  • 10:44 - 10:48
    On another business conference I might
    have worn something different.
  • 10:48 - 10:52
    And that people are driving around
    in onesies and goose costumes
  • 10:52 - 10:58
    is also very specific for this group right here.
    laughter
  • 10:58 - 11:02
    What I mean by this is that people feel
    comfortable wearing this in this specific context
  • 11:02 - 11:04
    and might not feel at ease
    in another context,
  • 11:04 - 11:07
    although the clothes themselves
    have not changed.
  • 11:07 - 11:11
    That is the psychological wearing comfort.
  • 11:11 - 11:16
    The next-to-skin-comfort is about
    the feeling of something on the skin.
  • 11:16 - 11:21
    Surfaces can be soft or scratchy,
    they can also cause allergies.
  • 11:21 - 11:26
    So it is about the direct contact
    on the skin.
  • 11:26 - 11:31
    The physiological wearing comfort is very
    important as well. It's about the climate control
  • 11:31 - 11:35
    of the body and about how clothes can keep
    us warm but also allow for moisture to evaporate.
  • 11:35 - 11:39
    The human body has this amazing system
    of protecting us from overheating.
  • 11:39 - 11:44
    We start to sweat and
    the moisture evaporates.
  • 11:44 - 11:50
    But the evaporation has to happen
    through the fabric of our clothes.
  • 11:50 - 11:54
    Some clothes allow for better evaporation
    than others.
  • 11:54 - 11:59
    This aspect is incredibly important for our
    comfort when wearing clothes.
  • 11:59 - 12:05
    The fourth aspect is the
    ergonomical wearing comfort
  • 12:05 - 12:11
    which is about freedom of movement
    and that is what I examined in detail.
  • 12:11 - 12:15
    Freedom of movement in clothes is
    achieved by the fit of a piece of clothing,
  • 12:15 - 12:20
    mainly meaning how tight it is on the body.
  • 12:20 - 12:26
    Secondly, it is achieved by the elasticity
    of the materials used.
  • 12:26 - 12:29
    This is very important because there are parts
    of our body where we need 50% stretching,
  • 12:29 - 12:35
    for example at our knees and elbows.
  • 12:35 - 12:39
    If you move your arm like this, then the
    clothes need to allow this movement
  • 12:39 - 12:42
    without tearing apart.
  • 12:42 - 12:48
    Without elasticity,
    the sleeve would be destroyed
  • 12:48 - 12:52
    or would change its form and create buckles.
  • 12:52 - 12:57
    If we have a very tight sleeve
  • 12:57 - 13:00
    made from a material that is not elastic
  • 13:00 - 13:03
    the sleeve at the elbow would take
    the shape of our elbow.
  • 13:03 - 13:08
    So we need a material with
    the capability to rebound.
  • 13:08 - 13:11
    After we have moved the arm like this,
    the sleeve at the elbow
  • 13:11 - 13:15
    will go back to its original shape.
  • 13:15 - 13:19
    So if a material is not elastic,
    it is not that suitable for clothes.
  • 13:19 - 13:22
    It is possible, but then it needs to be
    compensated by the cut of the clothes,
  • 13:22 - 13:25
    in that case, it cannot be too tight.
    If a piece of clothing is loose fit,
  • 13:25 - 13:29
    the elasticity of the fabric
    is not that important.
  • 13:29 - 13:35
    I wanted to examine the influencing
    factors on the elastic properties
  • 13:35 - 13:39
    of 3D printed structures in order
    to actively influence the elasticity.
  • 13:39 - 13:43
  • 13:43 - 13:47
    This could be used to enhance the
    wearing comfort of 3D printed clothes
  • 13:47 - 13:54
    and thereby get us a bit closer to
    3D printed everyday wear.
  • 13:54 - 14:00
    Elasticity in textile structures, fabrics,
    is achieved by two aspects.
  • 14:00 - 14:04
    First, a material itself can be elastic.
  • 14:04 - 14:08
    In fabrics, this is mostly elastane.
  • 14:08 - 14:12
    Elastane can be stretched 300%
    and will return to its original length.
  • 14:12 - 14:16
    It is used in a majority of clothes,
  • 14:16 - 14:23
    mostly in the ratio 98% cotton and 2% elastane.
  • 14:23 - 14:27
    2% are enough to make a shirt
    elastic enough to easily put it on
  • 14:27 - 14:32
    while at the same time being tight
    and not starting to buckle after wearing.
  • 14:32 - 14:36
    The second possibility is structural elasticity.
  • 14:36 - 14:41
    In clothing, this is mainly achieved
    by creating knitwear.
  • 14:41 - 14:47
    If you pull at knitwear,
    the loops will change their shape.
  • 14:47 - 14:51
  • 14:51 - 14:55
    In this manner,
    you can create an elastic structure,
  • 14:55 - 15:00

    even with materials with low elasticity.
  • 15:00 - 15:05
    For example, cotton fibers are
    not very elastic. But if you create a knitwear
  • 15:05 - 15:08
    made of cotton threads,
    the fabric can be very flexible and elastic.
  • 15:08 - 15:14
    In 3D printed structures,
  • 15:14 - 15:19
    an elastic material can be used as well,
    for example TPU.
  • 15:19 - 15:23
    TPU is short for thermoplastic polyurethane.
    Polyurethane is a primary part of elastane, too.
  • 15:23 - 15:28
    So TPU and elastane have very similar
    properties based on their chemical composition.
  • 15:28 - 15:38
    Structural elasticity is also possible.
  • 15:38 - 15:44
    It is possible to print meshes,
  • 15:44 - 15:48
    but you can also create different shapes
    like curves, arches, helices or springs.
  • 15:48 - 15:53
    In short, shapes that you can compress
    or pull at,
  • 15:53 - 15:58
    so that you will first pull at the structure
    before pulling at the material itself.
  • 15:58 - 16:02
    However, the design depends
    on the printing method. There are several
  • 16:02 - 16:06
    different methods and not all of them are
    equally suited to create certain shapes.
  • 16:06 - 16:12
    For my research, I focused on two of them.
  • 16:12 - 16:16
    First, the FLM,
    short for fused layer modeling,
  • 16:16 - 16:21
    sometimes also called FDM,
    short for fused deposition modeling.
  • 16:21 - 16:25
    You heat a thermoplastic filament
    and push it through a nozzle
  • 16:25 - 16:30
  • 16:30 - 16:34
    The nozzle then lays the strand of material
    on the printing bed.
  • 16:34 - 16:40
    All layers on top of each other
    make the object.
  • 16:40 - 16:46
    If an object has an overhang
    like the shape on the left,
  • 16:46 - 16:51
    you need support structures.
  • 16:51 - 16:56
    In every layer, the extruder will also
    build the supporting columns.
  • 16:56 - 17:00
    When the object is finished,
  • 17:00 - 17:05
    the support structures can be removed.
  • 17:05 - 17:09
    This is not a problem for hard materials,
  • 17:09 - 17:14
    you can easily break it off
    and sand the surface.
  • 17:14 - 17:18
    But for elastic materials,
    it's a different situation.
  • 17:18 - 17:22
    If you pull at it, it will not break off,
    but simply stretch.
  • 17:22 - 17:27
    So if you want to print elastic shapes
    with overhangs or interlockings,
  • 17:27 - 17:32
    this method is not recommended.
  • 17:32 - 17:35
    The support structures
    cannot be broken off,
  • 17:35 - 17:38
    they would have to be cut off
    with scissors,
  • 17:38 - 17:41
    so that would take a long time.
  • 17:41 - 17:43
    Interjection: Water soluble support structures!
  • 17:43 - 17:47
    Speaker: Yes, good idea, unfortunately
    that does not work for TPU yet.
  • 17:47 - 17:50
    Waterbased support structures
    are usually made of PVA.
  • 17:50 - 17:54
    you can remove them with water afterwards.
  • 17:54 - 18:02
    But the melting temperatures
    of PVA and TPU do not match.
  • 18:02 - 18:07
    TPU requires a very high temperature,
    I printed with 215°C.
  • 18:07 - 18:11
    At this temeprature, PVA is already decomposing,
    its melting temperature is lower.
  • 18:11 - 18:17
    So it is a good idea, but at the moment
    it does not work yet.
  • 18:17 - 18:21
    I am sure that something will be developed
    to solve this problem, though.
  • 18:21 - 18:27
  • 18:27 - 18:30
    The other method is SLS,
    short for selective laser sintering.
  • 18:30 - 18:34
    An entire layer of powder is laid
    on the build plate.
  • 18:34 - 18:40
    A laser melts the fine grain powder in order
    to create the desired shape layer by layer.
  • 18:40 - 18:44
  • 18:44 - 18:50
    In this case, the powder itself is the support structure,
    so you do not need to print
  • 18:50 - 18:56
    supporting columns. In the end, the entire
    printer is filled with a block of powder
  • 18:56 - 19:01
    and somewhere in there,
    the object can be found.
  • 19:01 - 19:07
    The powder is removed and can be reused.
  • 19:07 - 19:14
    For my research,
    I examined several structures.
  • 19:14 - 19:18
    The ones on the left and in the middle
    are created from powder.
  • 19:18 - 19:25
    So it was possible to create some height
    and chain-like shapes.
  • 19:25 - 19:32
    I had different sizes.
  • 19:32 - 19:37
    The smaller size is much more flexible,
  • 19:37 - 19:43
    you can easily move it and fold it.
  • 19:43 - 19:46
    The modules can be shifted
    into each other.
  • 19:46 - 19:51
    You can compress it and pull at it
    and the structure is very flexible.
  • 19:51 - 19:58
    As I said, for the other 3D printing method,
    the possibilities in shape were limited.
  • 19:58 - 20:02
    This structure is based on a pattern of rhombs
    that was extruded.
  • 20:02 - 20:09
    If you pull at it, the shape
    of the rhomb changes
  • 20:09 - 20:13
    before the material itself is strained.
  • 20:13 - 20:17
    Again, I had different variations in size and height
  • 20:17 - 20:22
  • 20:22 - 20:26
    in order to examine the influencing factors
    on the elastic properties.
  • 20:26 - 20:30
  • 20:30 - 20:36
    How can you examine
    elastic properties at all?
  • 20:36 - 20:41
    With a so-called tensile test.
  • 20:41 - 20:47
    You don't test a piece of clothing,
    you only test a fabric swatch.
  • 20:47 - 20:53
    The swatch is clamped into a tensile test machine
    which then pulls with constant velocity.
  • 20:53 - 20:58
    The corresponding software automatically
    creates a diagram like the one on the right.
  • 20:58 - 21:03
    It shows the elongation in %,
  • 21:03 - 21:08
    meaning how long the fabric swatch
    has been stretched,
  • 21:08 - 21:12
    and on the other axis
    the tensile strength in N,
  • 21:12 - 21:18
    how much strength is needed in order to
    achieve this elongation of the fabric swatch.
  • 21:18 - 21:23
    This diagram shows the elongation,
    the elasticity and the tensile strength.
  • 21:23 - 21:27
    I need to stress that elongation and
    elasticity is not the same.
  • 21:27 - 21:33
    You can stretch something and it
    might have just gotten longer.
  • 21:33 - 21:37
    If I stretch something
  • 21:37 - 21:41
    and it returns to its original length,
    it is elastic.
  • 21:41 - 21:46
    So that is a different property,
  • 21:46 - 21:51
    which you can also gather
    from the stress-elongation-diagram.
  • 21:51 - 21:57
    I tested all of my structures this way.
  • 21:57 - 22:01
    Of course, you need to test several specimen
    in order to generate average values.
  • 22:01 - 22:06
    So I had my numbers and units.
  • 22:06 - 22:10
    But what do I do with that?
  • 22:10 - 22:17
    I still need to know if these numbers are
    good or bad. There is a recommendation
  • 22:17 - 22:23
    by the Dialog Textil Bekleidung in cooperation
    with the German Fashion Mode Verband,
  • 22:23 - 22:28
    It is not a standard or a law,
    clothes do not have to have these properties.
  • 22:28 - 22:32
    But it is a recommendation, what stretch properties
    clothing should approximately have
  • 22:32 - 22:38
    and what kind of forces
    they should withstand.
  • 22:38 - 22:41
    This is a small extract.
    It is divided by products,
  • 22:41 - 22:46
    so trousers and skirts have different
    specifications opposed to underwear.
  • 22:46 - 22:50
    If it is far from the body, meaning loose fit,
    lower tensile strengths suffice.
  • 22:50 - 22:55
    If a piece of clothing is loose fit,
  • 22:55 - 23:01
    the stretching properties
    are not that important.
  • 23:01 - 23:03
    So I compared these numbers to mine
    and I found
  • 23:03 - 23:08
    that the elongations of my structures
    were great.
  • 23:08 - 23:14
    But the maximum force was not reached.
  • 23:14 - 23:18
    So I can stretch my structures just fine,
  • 23:18 - 23:24
    but I do not need a lot of force to tear
    them apart and that is a bad result.
  • 23:24 - 23:29
    If I bend my elbow
    and the sleeve is destroyed,
  • 23:29 - 23:33
    I do not want to use this structure
    for clothes.
  • 23:33 - 23:36
    So the tensile strength of the
    3D printed structures is lower
  • 23:36 - 23:41
    than the recommended
    properties for clothes.
  • 23:41 - 23:45
    I also wanted to examine the influencing
    factors on the elastic properties.
  • 23:45 - 23:51
    From my results, I could see that the size of
    the modules influences the properties.
  • 23:51 - 23:57
    The larger sizes show higher values
    than the smaller variations.
  • 23:57 - 24:02
    However, the larger variations do
    not feel and move like fabric.
  • 24:02 - 24:07
    The smaller variations are
    more fabric-like,
  • 24:07 - 24:11
    but they didn't show very good
    tensile strengths.
  • 24:11 - 24:15
    Aside from that, there was another
    influencing factor: the slicing software.
  • 24:15 - 24:23
    The slicing software has two main tasks.
  • 24:23 - 24:29
    Firstly, it slices the object into layers. Secondly,
    it transfers the information to the 3D printer,
  • 24:29 - 24:35
    where the extruder has to be in order to
    create the shape of each layer.
  • 24:35 - 24:39
    For example, if you want to print a vase
    like the one on the left, the first layer
  • 24:39 - 24:44
    would be filled completeley, because we want
    to fill the vase with water and it should not leak.
  • 24:44 - 24:48
    The path of the extruder could look like this,
    it would go in rows
  • 24:48 - 24:52
    from one side to the other in order to
    completely fill the circle.
  • 24:52 - 24:56
    The second layer would be a ring
    and the extruder might
  • 24:56 - 25:01
    take a path like this, but a different
    path is also possible.
  • 25:01 - 25:07
    There are many different slicing programs
    with many setting options.
  • 25:07 - 25:13
    I took a closer look and I found
    that the extruder
  • 25:13 - 25:18
    took a very specific path for
    my rhomb structures.
  • 25:18 - 25:23
    It went to the intersection and then
    turned around. Under the microscope,
  • 25:23 - 25:28
    you can see that this is exactly the place
    where the structure was torn apart.
  • 25:28 - 25:33
    The extruder did not cross the
    intersection even once.
  • 25:33 - 25:37
    At this point, the strands of material
    are only connected when a new,
  • 25:37 - 25:41
    hot strand melts a little bit into
    the other, already cold one.
  • 25:41 - 25:45
    But due to the fact that the extruder
    did not cross the intersection, it created
  • 25:45 - 25:53
    a predetermined breaking point. That
    is exactly where the structure was torn apart.
  • 25:53 - 25:58
    In another variation that was based on the
    same shape, the slicing software decided
  • 25:58 - 26:02
    something else. The extruder took the path
    to the bending point of the rhomb.
  • 26:02 - 26:07
    Consequently, this is the point
    where it was torn apart.
  • 26:07 - 26:12
    That is why the test samples look
    differently after the tensile test.
  • 26:12 - 26:19
    That also explains the low tensile
    strength of the structures.
  • 26:19 - 26:22
    The tensile test machine did not pull at the
    material as much as at these connection points
  • 26:22 - 26:28
    and depending on how strong these are,
  • 26:28 - 26:34
    the structure can be torn apart easily.
  • 26:34 - 26:38
    This means that the method itself
    limits the tensile strength.
  • 26:38 - 26:43
    Now, I tested eight different structures,
    eight different variations.
  • 26:43 - 26:46
    You might ask now how I came to the
    conclusion that 3D printing clothes
  • 26:46 - 26:53
    is not recommended in general.
  • 26:53 - 26:59
    Maybe a different structure would show
    a higher tensile strength.
  • 26:59 - 27:04
    Yes, maybe. But the method itself creates
    limitations concerning the properties.
  • 27:04 - 27:10
    We have to go deeper and look
    at the molecules.
  • 27:10 - 27:17
    Textile fibers naturally have a
    very high tensile strength.
  • 27:17 - 27:24
    On the inside, natural fibers like cotton,
    wool or linen show a regular
  • 27:24 - 27:30
    arrangement of molecular chains.
  • 27:30 - 27:36
    There are amorphous parts
    and crystalline parts.
  • 27:36 - 27:42
    The strands that you can see on the
    right depict molecular chains.
  • 27:42 - 27:47
    The amorphous parts,
    where the molecules are
  • 27:47 - 27:51
    tangled like a plate of spaghetti,
    are not stable.
  • 27:51 - 27:58
    The crystalline parts, where they show a
    regular arrangement, are stable.
  • 27:58 - 28:04
    Natural fibers show a high degree of
    crystalline parts which translates
  • 28:04 - 28:09
    to a high tensile strength. Fibers naturally
    show higher tensile strengths
  • 28:09 - 28:14
    than my 3D printed structures
    could ever have.
  • 28:14 - 28:18
    And for synthetic fibers, there are
    measures we can take to even influence
  • 28:18 - 28:24
    and increase the tensile strength.
  • 28:24 - 28:31
    There are several ways to spin a fiber,
    at least one of them is very similar to 3D printing.
  • 28:31 - 28:37
    You melt synthetic material and press it
    through a nozzle.
  • 28:37 - 28:41
  • 28:41 - 28:45
    The difference is that you have several
    possibilities to influence the property
  • 28:45 - 28:49
    of the extruded strand or fiber.
  • 28:49 - 28:54
    The degree of crystallinity depends on
    the rate of controlled cooling.
  • 28:54 - 29:00
    The slower a fiber cools off the more
    time do the molecular chains have
  • 29:00 - 29:04
    to arrange themselves regularly.
  • 29:04 - 29:08
    That is why the spinning chambers
    are really hot
  • 29:08 - 29:13
    in order to allow for a very slow rate
    of controlled cooling
  • 29:13 - 29:19
    so that the fibers show high degrees of
    crystallinity, resulting in high tensile strengths.
  • 29:19 - 29:22
    We do not have this opportunity
    in 3D printing.
  • 29:22 - 29:27
    We can use a heated build plate. But that
  • 29:27 - 29:31
    only influences the first few layers.
  • 29:31 - 29:35
    Besides, we need the printed strands to
  • 29:35 - 29:40
    cool off quickly so that they keep their shape.
  • 29:40 - 29:47
    We can only print the next layer
  • 29:47 - 29:49
    if the layer underneath
    has already hardened.
  • 29:49 - 29:54
    We cannot keep a constant high temperature
    like we can in the spinning chamber.
  • 29:54 - 29:58
    The SLS method allows
    for better conditions
  • 29:58 - 30:03
    concerning the tensile strength
  • 30:03 - 30:07
    and the structures did show better values.
  • 30:07 - 30:11
    We have a second possibility to increase the
    tensile strength of synthetic fibers
  • 30:11 - 30:15
    which is by stretching them
    after spinning.
  • 30:15 - 30:21
    The fibers are guided through cylinders
    and subjected to tensile forces.
  • 30:21 - 30:31
    This increases the degree of
    crystallinity even more.
  • 30:31 - 30:36
    The molecules are forced
    to align even more.
  • 30:36 - 30:40
    This decreases the fiber diameter and
    makes the fiber more fine, more soft
  • 30:40 - 30:46
    and at the same time stronger.
  • 30:46 - 30:51
    That explains why textile fibers have
    much higher tensile strengths
  • 30:51 - 30:56
    while at the same time being much finer
    than anything you can 3D print at the moment.
  • 30:56 - 31:00
    Furthermore, textile fibers have the advantageous
    capability of warming us by isolating air.
  • 31:00 - 31:04
    Every little chamber that can entrap air
    turns a fabric into a warming structure
  • 31:04 - 31:09
    when worn on the body.
    Fabrics consist of threads
  • 31:09 - 31:14
    and threads consist of fibers,
  • 31:14 - 31:18
    as you can see on this microscope picture.
  • 31:18 - 31:22
    It's not a picture of a carpet,
    it's fabric
  • 31:22 - 31:29
    and the little single fibers would not be
    visible with the naked eye.
  • 31:29 - 31:34
    The gaps between the fibers
    isolate air.
  • 31:34 - 31:38
    At the same time, the gaps are important
    for the transportation of moisture.
  • 31:38 - 31:41
    Sweat can evaporate and go through the fabric.
    In conclusion,
  • 31:41 - 31:46
    fabrics can warm us and at the same time
    protect us against overheating.
  • 31:46 - 31:51
    At the moment, we cannot 3D print such fine
    miniature fibers. We are still quite limited
  • 31:51 - 31:58
    when it comes to fineness. We cannot efficiently
    3D print chambers to entrap air
  • 31:58 - 32:04
    like the ones we can find in fabrics
    made of textile fibers.
  • 32:04 - 32:09
    Some things cannot be done yet
    in 3D printing. But what can we do
  • 32:09 - 32:15
    in 3D printing instead? We have an immense
    freedom of design that can be applied
  • 32:15 - 32:21
    mostly in shoes and accessories,
  • 32:21 - 32:25
    for example bracelets, necklaces
    or glasses.
  • 32:25 - 32:29
    The benefits can be used for costumes.
  • 32:29 - 32:35
    For example, in the movie "Black Panther",
    several crowns were 3D printed.
  • 32:35 - 32:40
    Theoretically, the process is sustainable,
  • 32:40 - 32:44
    just because it is additive manufacturing.
  • 32:44 - 32:48
    Material is only built where it is needed
    for the desired shape.
  • 32:48 - 32:54
    This is in stark contrast to the
    production of clothes.
  • 32:54 - 32:59
    When you cut the fabric, you can achieve
    a utilization ratio of maybe 90%.
  • 32:59 - 33:03
    Just because pattern pieces
    have many different shapes,
  • 33:03 - 33:07
    10% of the fabric is thrown away.
  • 33:07 - 33:15
    3D printing is more sustainable
    in this aspect.
  • 33:15 - 33:18
    Also, the materials can be reused.
  • 33:18 - 33:21
    Recycling is another problem
    in the fashion industry.
  • 33:21 - 33:24
    So it is a good thing that you can
    reuse the powder after printing.
  • 33:24 - 33:30
    3D printing is also very suitable for
    made-to-order production.
  • 33:30 - 33:35
    In the fashion industry, made-to-order
    items always lead to high costs.
  • 33:35 - 33:39
    Also, it is possible to create different
    material properties in the same product.
  • 33:39 - 33:43
    When I have the shoulder
  • 33:43 - 33:47
    and want it to be a bit more firm,
  • 33:47 - 33:51
    I can already prepare that in the
    3D model. I can decide
  • 33:51 - 33:55
    to create more layers. If I created the same
    piece of clothing in fabric,
  • 33:55 - 33:58
    I would need to have a seam, I would reinforce
    it with another fabric
  • 33:58 - 34:02
    or another layer of fabric. Using a 3D printer,
    this could happen in the same step.
  • 34:02 - 34:07
    Theoretically, it is also possible to
    integrate additional functions
  • 34:07 - 34:13
    like cables, LED or sensors.
  • 34:13 - 34:18
    There is still a question mark
    behind that.
  • 34:18 - 34:23
    First of all, this would not
    be everyday wear,
  • 34:23 - 34:29
    and secondly, this is not
    state of the art yet.
  • 34:29 - 34:33
    Another benefit might be to create the
    whole garment piece in one step.
  • 34:33 - 34:37
    Right now, a fabric is created out of
    threads out of textile fibers.
  • 34:37 - 34:39
    Then, the fabric needs to be cut, the
    pieces need to be sewn together,
  • 34:39 - 34:42
    maybe it is dyed after that.
    Different processes,
  • 34:42 - 34:46
    executed at different locations.
    With 3D printing,
  • 34:46 - 34:52
    everything could happen in the same step.
  • 34:52 - 34:56
    But only if the garment can fit into
    the build volume of a printer.
  • 34:56 - 35:00
    If we print A4 sized pieces and
    assemble them afterwards,
  • 35:00 - 35:05
    we are still in the same situation of
    having to connect many pieces.
  • 35:05 - 35:11
    The software developed by Nervous System
    is a smarter solution.
  • 35:11 - 35:15
    The software digitally folds the dress.
    The dress is then printed in the folded state,
  • 35:15 - 35:20
    significantly reducing
    the needed build volume.
  • 35:20 - 35:26
    The dress is hidden somewhere
    in the block of powder.
  • 35:26 - 35:30
    The powder is removed,
    a bit like in archeology,
  • 35:30 - 35:34
    the dress will get cleaned off
    and opened.
  • 35:34 - 35:37
    This is a good option to really
    use the benefits of 3D printing.
  • 35:37 - 35:47
    The disadvantages or challenges are
  • 35:47 - 35:51
    the insufficient tensile strength,
    resulting from the process itself
  • 35:51 - 35:56
    and there is not a lot we can
    do about it. We are still very limited
  • 35:56 - 36:03
    in terms of fineness. The standard nozzle
    diameter is 0.4 millimeters.
  • 36:03 - 36:09
    Fiber diameters are more
    in the micrometer range.
  • 36:09 - 36:14
    That is a significant difference. The fineness
    is very important for the next-to-skin-comfort,
  • 36:14 - 36:18
    for the transportation of moisture and for
    the capability to warm us.
  • 36:18 - 36:25
    This is fundamental and without it,
    the aspects of wearing comfort
  • 36:25 - 36:31
    cannot be guaranteed
    when we 3D print textile structures.
  • 36:31 - 36:36
    Time and costs are still
    quite problematic in 3D printing.
  • 36:36 - 36:41
    It takes af long time
    and it is very expensive.
  • 36:41 - 36:45
    Again, this is not suitable for
    everyday wear, only for individual pieces.
  • 36:45 - 36:48
    We also still have to discuss
    care instructions.
  • 36:48 - 36:51
    Can you wash a 3D printed garment
    at all? If I wear a piece of clothing every day,
  • 36:51 - 36:55
    I want to be able to wash it.
  • 36:55 - 36:58
    When we talk about garments,
    we also need to talk about fastenings,
  • 36:58 - 37:02
    you need to somehow get inside
    the piece of clothing.
  • 37:02 - 37:06
    So, zippers, buttons, hooks, eyelets,
    all of this needs to be thought of
  • 37:06 - 37:13
    if we want to print
    everything in one piece.
  • 37:13 - 37:17
    In conclusion, the construction of fabrics
    made from threads made from fibers
  • 37:17 - 37:23
    is still unbeatable in regards of
    wearing comfort.
  • 37:23 - 37:28
    There are not yet applicable solutions
  • 37:28 - 37:40
    to imitate the properties in 3D printing.
  • 37:40 - 37:44
    At the current state of the art,
    3D printed clothes are not only not the future,
  • 37:44 - 37:47
    they aren't even the present.
    Because the present means
  • 37:47 - 37:51
    fabrics made of textile fibers and that
    works really well for our wearing comfort.
  • 37:51 - 37:55
    3D printed structure cannot
    provide that yet.
  • 37:55 - 37:59
    That does not mean that we
    should stop the research.
  • 37:59 - 38:01
    Whoever said before that they had
    success when printing clothes,
  • 38:01 - 38:05
    I am very interested to hear about that.
    Maybe there are some aspects
  • 38:05 - 38:12
    that I have not thought about.
    But we should not forget
  • 38:12 - 38:17
    the basic function of clothes. The 3D
    printed clothes that I showed in the beginning,
  • 38:17 - 38:22
    those are amazing artworks, I love
    them and I want to see more of them.
  • 38:22 - 38:25
    But I want to remind everyone that
    clothes should warm us,
  • 38:25 - 38:28
    that in general, it should be opaque
    and that the climate exchange
  • 38:28 - 38:34
    and the transportation of moisture has
    to be guaranteed. I find it a bit difficult
  • 38:34 - 38:38
    to put so much hope on 3D printing
  • 38:38 - 38:44
    to fundamentally change
    the whole fashion industry.
  • 38:44 - 38:49
    Because the fashion industry has
    a lot of serious problems,
  • 38:49 - 38:54
    ecological problems,
  • 38:54 - 38:57
    but also social and societal problems.
  • 38:57 - 39:01
    But I don't think we should simply hope
    to develop new technologies
  • 39:01 - 39:04
    and tell us that the sustainability problem
    can be solved by 3D printing
  • 39:04 - 39:10
    all of our clothes. Please conduct
    further research.
  • 39:10 - 39:16
    But please don't forget the basic
    functions of clothes and do not think
  • 39:16 - 39:20
    that a new technology will solve all the
    problems of the fashion industry.
  • 39:20 - 39:27
    I advise everyone
    to revolutionize the fashion industry.
  • 39:27 - 39:33
    But please do not think that 3D printing
    is the universal solution for that.
  • 39:33 - 39:37
    And now I am finished with my
    presentation and I thank you all for listening.
  • 39:37 - 39:47
    applause
  • 39:47 - 39:50
    Herald Angel Noujoum: Yes, thank you,
    that was quite a precision landing, I'm afraid
  • 39:50 - 39:53
    we don't have time left for questions, I am sorry
    to everyone flocking to the microphones right now.
  • 39:53 - 39:57
    But you can see here where you can
    talk to Rebekka,
  • 39:57 - 40:01
    you can find her and ask her questions
    on Twitter under @Kurfuerstin.
  • 40:01 - 40:04
    You can also talk to her right now after
    the talk. Maybe not right here,
  • 40:04 - 40:07
    but somewhere in the back.
    She also needs to read her post cards.
  • 40:07 - 40:11
    I'm sure there will be time
    and the possibility
  • 40:11 - 40:15
    to talk to her or each other about
    3D printing and 3D printed clothes.
  • 40:15 - 40:18
    Please give another round of applause.
  • 40:18 - 40:19
    applause
  • 40:19 - 40:22
    postroll music
  • 40:22 - 40:30
Title:
Why 3D printing clothes is NOT the future
Description:

more » « less
Video Language:
German
Duration:
40:46

English subtitles

Revisions Compare revisions