3D printing and fashion

This blog post is for all the fashionistas out there…. if you haven’t heard about the influence of 3D printing on fashion, take note!


When Chuck Hull invented the 3D printer back in the early eighties, revitalizing the fashion world may have been the last thing on his mind. Fast forward to 2014, and Hull’s invention has proved instrumental in changing the way we’re creating clothes, shoes and jewelry, to name a few.

3D printing is uniting experts from different professions, as architects and fashion designers team up to take things to the next level.

Whether it’s a necklace packed with diamonds sold at a staggering $105,000, or a pair of football cleats by Nike perfectly designed to match your foot – 3D printing has found yet another market to sink its teeth into.

Besides ushering in a new wave of creativity, 3DP is also reducing fashion’s carbon footprint. Regardless of the increase in plastics that one may associate with printing’s penetration into the mainstream, commonly used materials like PLA are corn-based. This points to a reduction in the less environmentally friendly petroleum-based plastics.

It’s difficult to mention 3D printing’s finger in the fashion pie without this powerful image ofDita von Teese donning this stunning dress.

Architect Francis Bitonti and fashion designer Michael Schmidt teamed up to create this masterpiece, providing a necessary catalyst for the fashion industry to take this branch of technology seriously.

The burlesque star modelled the world’s first fully articulated dress at an exclusive event at the Ace Hotel in New York, hosted by the 3D printing marketplace, Shapeways.

The designer dress was created based off the golden ratio, a mathematical equation found throughout the universe which humans readily identify with beauty. For more on how the golden ratio (aka the Fibonacci sequence) was incorporated into the dress, check out this interesting Youtube video.

Courtesy of a 3D scanner, von Teese’s body was scanned down to the last curve and turned into a 3D model, giving the team behind the dress unprecedented customization abilities.

This special ensemble has 17 different pieces, which were adjoined, lacquered and fitted with over 13,000 Swarovski crystals. On top of that, the dress has 2,500 intersecting parts which had to be attached by hand.

Currently, this picturesque piece will only interest the wealthiest fashion aficionados and celebrities. However – so long as you don’t expect a few thousand diamonds on your average 3D printed dress – we can expect to see less glamorous garments made at home sometime soon.

Shapeways is the 3D printing company on the forefront of the fashion battle. But who else is involved in this fiery relationship between fashion and technology?

He may not be as stylish as Bitonti or Schmidt, but Google’s Head of Engineering Ray Kurzweil is causing shock-waves in the fashion world – by proclaiming that we’ll all be printing clothes at home within a few years.

By 2020, Kurzweil, aka “the restless genius” (as the Wall Street Journal branded him) foresees the sharing of 3D printable schematics as an everyday thing. Currently, 3D printing’s online fashion world has yet to blossom, but the seed has been planted.

Kurzweil emphasizes the importance of open-source development, a huge step towards the great transformation that the fashion world would go through – so long as the restless genius’ predictions are correct. Perhaps one day, a fashion equivalent of Thingiverse will emerge, symbolizing the shift in power in a fashion industry valued at $1.7 trillion in 2012 (according to FashionUnited’s statistics) in America alone.

by  | 9 July 2014

5 Awesome 3D Printed Gifts for Your Loved One

It’s that time of the year again! As cliche as many consider Valentine’s Day to be, there’s nothing that puts a smile on a person’s face like a well-thought out gift from their better half.

If you’re sick of buying your partner the regular 1-2 combo of flowers and chocolates, perhaps you should consider 3D printing a present.

The variety available means that there’s literally something for everyone out there. If you’re spoiled for choice, Malta 3D Printing can point you in the right direction. Here are 5 of our favourite presents for that special someone:

1) Gift Boxes

The traditional gift box has been revamped thanks to 3D printing – and customized to your liking. Break the news gently with an “It’s Over” gift box or offer yourself to the person you desire with the classic “Be Mine” box.

Hide a small present or an engagement ring inside, be creative!

If you’re not feeling so adventurous, there are a variety of heart-shaped boxes and other simple designs.

2) Valentines iPhone 6 Case

Is your clumsy better half always dropping their precious iPhone 6? Give it some added protection with this durable phone case which will help absorb the shock from a fall. Besides the practicality aspect, we’re also happy to customize this item to your liking.

3) Ornaments & Decorations

Whether your a hapless romantic or enjoy showering your partner with regular gifts, have a look at these heart-melting products. Our favourites include a classic red rose in a vase and an interlocking heart, but the cuddling salt and pepper pots pictured really caught our eye.

If you’d like to go a little overboard and spoil someone, check out this over-sized set of heart gears which are sure to have heads turning.

4) Cookie Cutters

Baking can be tonnes of fun for the family. A delicious treat can turn any frown upside down, especially if it’s a tasty cookie shaped in a clever way. This is one particular area in which 3D printing excels – the creation of unique shapes.

Two great examples of this are the ‘Heart Wings’ set and this delightful ‘Kids kissing’ cookie cutters. As usual Thingiverse, has a wide selection of similar products available.

5) Fashion Accessories

We’ve all heard of the fantastic items of clothing 3D printing has been able to produce. While we might not all be able to afford a printed dress fitted with Swarovski crystals, other options are always available.

Nothing says I love you better than a neat little bracelet made out of red and white hearts, or a customizable heart chain. If you’re not in the market for those kind of accessories, check out this cool fractal heart barrette, great for girls on the go!

Valentines day will soon arrive and be gone in a flash, but 3D printing is here to stay. Should you want any of the aforementioned products printed, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Malta 3D Printing.

If you’re interested in a 3D printed gift, but nothing was quite to your liking, then check out this Thingiverse page for a huge selection of Valentine’s Day presents. We wish you a happy Valentine’s!

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