Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D printing technique for making cuddly stuff: Printer uses needle to turn layers of wool yarn into loose felt

Date:
April 28, 2014
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
A new type of 3D printer can turn wool and wool blend yarns into fabric objects that people enjoy touching. The device looks something like a cross between a 3D printer and a sewing machine and produces 3D objects made of a form of loose felt.

A 3D printer developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh feeds yarn into desired shapes and uses a needle to turn the yarn into a loose felt.
Credit: Carnegie Mellon University/Disney Research Pittsburgh

Soft and cuddly aren't words used to describe the plastic or metal things typically produced by today's 3D printers. But a new type of printer developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh can turn wool and wool blend yarns into fabric objects that people might actually enjoy touching.

The device looks something like a cross between a 3D printer and a sewing machine and produces 3D objects made of a form of loose felt. Scott Hudson, a professor in CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute who developed the felting printer with Disney Research support, said the results are reminiscent of hand-knitted materials.

"I really see this material being used for things that are held close," Hudson said. "We're really extending the set of materials available for 3D printing and opening up new possibilities for what can be manufactured."

That could include apparel, accessories such as scarves and hats and even Teddy Bears. It also might be used to produce parts for so-called "soft robots" -- robots designed to touch or be near people. Hudson will discuss the felting printer April 28 at the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Toronto.

Like other 3D printers, Hudson's machine can make objects by working directly from computerized designs. It thus can be used for rapid prototyping of objects and to customize products.

In fact, the operation of the machine is similar to Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM, the most common process used in low-end 3D printers. In a FDM printer, melted plastic is extruded in a thin line into a layer; subsequent layers are added to achieve the object's desired shape, with the layers adhering to each other as the plastic cools.

In the felting printer, however, the printer head feeds out yarn instead of lines of melted plastic. A barbed felting needle attached to the printer head then repeatedly pierces the yarn, dragging down individual fibers into the yarn in the layers below, entangling the fibers and bonding the layers together.

Hudson said the printer doesn't achieve the same dimensional accuracy as conventional 3D printers because the yarn is much thicker than the layers of plastic deposited in FDM printing. The felt also is not as strong as typical fabric, he noted, so if the soft objects are to be attached to a hard object, a layer of nylon mesh fabric must be incorporated during the printing process. This provides reinforcement to prevent the material from ripping away at the attachment point.

Hudson demonstrated techniques for bridging between the soft and hard materials, for manipulating the degree of stiffness in the soft objects and for incorporating electronic components.

These techniques require some assembly of objects because the printer now produces only fabric objects. But Hudson said it should be possible to design a printer that could produce both fabric and plastic elements in a single fabrication.

"A number of researchers are looking at mixed materials in 3D printing," he added. "That's one of the most interesting challenges now."

A video showing how the felting printer works and how it might be used is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qc-tGbMN9Ms


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "3-D printing technique for making cuddly stuff: Printer uses needle to turn layers of wool yarn into loose felt." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428121339.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2014, April 28). 3-D printing technique for making cuddly stuff: Printer uses needle to turn layers of wool yarn into loose felt. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428121339.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "3-D printing technique for making cuddly stuff: Printer uses needle to turn layers of wool yarn into loose felt." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428121339.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins