Disney creates fabric 3D printer

Disney stamp - Wikimedia CommonsCarnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have teamed up to make a 3D printer that can use fabric and that can also include electronic circuits to interact with people.

So far, the team has limited itself to layer together laser cut sheets of fabric to make soft objects like doll clothing and phone cases.

Soft fabric things like plush toys are still made by hand and the team believes layered fabric printing will automate production of these things.

The machine includes two fabrication surfaces – one a cutting platform and the other a bonding platform. Fabric feeds from a roll into the printer and a vacuum holds the fabric, with the laser cutting a piece out and the made to the desired shape. Once the process is finished, the support fabric is torn way to show the 3D object.

If you want to make a two and a half inch bunny using the Disney technique, making one will take two and a half hours, using 32 layers of two millimetre thick felt.

Wiring can be produced to create, for example, touch sensors and an antenna that will light an LED.

You can find more information, including a picture of the bunny and a video, by going here.