Tag Archives: Inside 3D Printing Chicago

3D Printed Fashion: From Fantasy Gowns to Accessible Couture – Inside 3D Printing Chicago

3D Printed Fashion Dita Von Teese

3D Printed Fashion Stuns in Chicago

As part of our coverage of this week’s Inside 3D Printing Conference in Chicago, On 3D Printing brings you an industry perspective on the latest developments in 3D printing for fashion and retail.  In addition to providing an in depth review of their successful collaboration with Shapeways in creating the first fully-articulated 3D printed gown, designers Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti encouraged the 3D printing industry to continue its pursuit of applications in the fashion industry.

Schmidt and Bitonti’s articulated gown was custom designed and famously worn by burlesque star and style icon Dita Von Teese, and unveiled this past March during a showcase event at the Ace Hotel in New York City.  Describing the dress as a “flight of fantasy” inspired by Fibonacci’s golden ratio, Schmidt welcomed the opportunity to work with 3D printing technology.

Schmidt and Bitonti emphasized printing process and material selection as critical to their success. Having ruled out a range of the available 3D printing technologies as incompatible with their design ends, they moved forward with laser sintering, which they felt would provide the necessary flexibility.  While it took several months to develop the concept and code for the dress, the printing process itself took only four days.  Because the dress applied the Fibonacci’s sequence throughout the design to create a truly custom fit to Ms. Von Teese, no two parts of the dress are alike.

All told, the dress is made of 3,000 printed nylon joints, which were printed in 17 sections using a selective laser sintering process, whereby layers of nylon powder are selectively fused together by a laser.  While most custom gowns require at least several rounds of fitting to ensure a perfect fit, Schmidt and Bitonti were pleased to discover that “the dress fit really well right out of the box.”

Illustrating the importance of post-processing and hand finishing, Schmidt and Bitonti indicated that the printed pieces were expertly extracted at Shapeways to remove the nylon powder residue from within each joint in the dress.  After the sections were printed and shipped to Schmidt’s studio, they were rip dyed, joined together by a hinged mechanism (also 3D printed) and hand encrusted with over 25,000 Swarovski crystals.

While Schmidt and Bitonti’s articulable dress stands as a testament to what’s possible, the designers also addressed the limitations of current technology.  ”We are limited at the moment to these fantastical garments.  We aren’t able to print in materials that have the qualities of a successful garment until we develop these materials to meet the needs of the body itself – that’s the holy grail,” Schmidt said.

One of the biggest issues in Schmidt and Bitonti’s view is the need to build fluidity of movement into the printing process itself, as the current selective laser sintering process renders the nylon powder stiff.  They also noted that current technology does not provide the option to print in organic materials like cotton or silk.  Both designers are hopeful for the future of the technology, however, and are currently developing a line of jewelry.

Below is a video of the 3D printed dress being displayed at the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago.


Authored by On 3D Printing contributor Lisa M. Pérez, co-founder of Heart Design Inc.


Simulation-Based Design for 3D Printing: Special Effects and the Store of the Future

3D Printing Simulation Based Design

In a two-part lecture during the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago, artist and designer Isaac Katz of Electronic Art Boutique gave us an overview of the powerful 3D modeling software programs available on the market today.  He considers these programs to be essential creative tools, which he uses to create works of art, jewelry and sculpture in a process he calls “simulation-based design“.

Katz employs sculpting programs like Zbrush and Mudbox, and the more CAD-centered Rhino to create powerful and detailed images which he projects onto canvas, and exports to 3D printers to create sculptures and jewelry casts.  These tools are commonly to create visual effects for 2D media, but can have a broad range of other applications, including architecture, industrial design, jewelry, sculpture and others.  Katz emphasized that programs like Zbrush and Mudbox harness a great deal of mathematical power, and are capable of generating an “incredibly high level of detail” that extends even beyond what current 3D printers are capable of rendering in a physical model.

However, Katz noted, 3D printing capability continues to catch up and is poised to grow exponentially, and the intersection of 3D simulation technology and 3D printing has the power to change our visual experience of the world.

3D Printing Simulation Based Design

For designers, Katz explained that this process presents a completely new way of looking at design and product creation that allows them to both capture more detail and project a range of organic and fluid shapes that may otherwise be difficult or impossible to obtain.  Increasingly, if you can imagine and create a character, you can animate and print that same character using motion capture technology, as well as other non-traditional, non-CAD software, and thanks to 3D printing technology, you can also create a physical model of your character.

For investors and business owners, the combination of simulation technology and 3D printing provides “a glimpse into the design process…and some vision for what’s possible,” both today and in the years to come.

In the second part of his lecture, Katz articulated his vision for the future of retail in a world that continues to trend toward greater personalization.  Katz drew a sharp contrast between the retail store of the present, in which producers and customers alike are forced to transact around pre-designed and pre-fabricated products, and the store of the future, in which customers will be able to purchase clothing and other goods that are uniquely made to their specifications at or after the time of purchase.

Such a world, in Katz’s view, would not only allow retailers to save costs by eliminating the need for complex distribution chains, but it would also invite users into the creative process as part of the retail experience.


Authored by On 3D Printing contributor Lisa M. Pérez, co-founder of Heart Design Inc.


3D Systems CEO Predicts Moore’s Law Will Hit 3D Printing Technology – Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Avi Reichental Keynote Inside 3D Printing Chicago

3D Printing Will Change the Face of Business

Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3D Systems, opened up this morning’s keynote speech at Inside 3D Printing Chicago with an enthusiastic and insightful view of the present and future of 3D printing. His presentation, Manufacturing the Future, focused on the democratization of 3D printing that will make it ubiquitous and empower anyone to become a maker. For example, one thing 3D Sytems has done is offer the service Cubify, which allows people to use their industrial printers to make objects in plastics, nylon and Zprint. Reichental noted, “whether you’re a deep pocketed corporation or a garage entrepreneur looking to start, it gives anyone access to 3D printing through the cloud.”

3D Systems Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Throughout his presentation, he pointed to examples of how 3D printing already impacts our lives in will exponentially continue to do so. From applications in medicine to fashion to automotive, he is a firm believer that additive manufacturing will be an integral part of our everyday lives both in the industrial world and in the comfort of our own homes. He explained how Moore’s Law has begun for this industry and that, “printers are going to double up on performance and double down on costs. Expect printers to become real powerful home appliances. The train has left the station.” Bre Pettis at MakerBot for example, has been a key figure in beginning the process of lowering price to make printers accessible for regular consumers.

Despite rapid growth, there are numerous skeptics that ask: Does 3D printing really scale? Reichental however, emphatically answered “absolutely yes!” To answer skeptics, Reichental presented the example of Invisalign. Last year, he noted, 17.2 million Invisalign braces were made. Each one of them was manufactured in a 3D printing, 24/7, lights out manufacturing faciility. What is also amazing is that each of these designs are unique and distinct to adapt to people’s mouths. Furthermore, it seems like GE believes it will scale with over $3 billion they have invested in advanced digital manufacturing.

3D Systems Inside 3D Printing Chicago

To put his money where his mouth is in terms of democratizing 3D printing, Reichental announced two important partnerships for 3D Systems. The first is a partnership with Google – Motorola, where 3D systems has outfitted Google/Moto trucks with their latest technology in order to teach people, mainly teens, how to use 3D printing technology. The trucks will go around college campuses, maker fairs and any other type of creative space where people want to create. The trucks will have the ProJet 3510 and the Projet 460 plus.

On the industrial end, Reichental announced, “this morning we have launched a game changing partnership with Deloitte Consulting to accelerate the way that companies can harness, adapt and implement this disruptive technology into their business model and their manufacturing operations.“ Together, they seek to help companies get educated about the technology and make decisions directionally on what they can do.  After speaking with 3D Systems Chief Marketing Officer, Cathy Lewis, it is clear that education is a big focus for the company and clearly they are doing something concrete about it with these major partnerships. In sum, Reichental believes that this revolution is just beginning and we can expect to see completely new ways to design and manufacture from architecture to medicine and almost anything we can imagine.


Authored by On 3D Printing contributor Rodrigo Garza Zorrilla, technology entrepreneur and advisor.

Avi Reichental image courtesy of @3dsystemscorp. Other photos by On 3D Printing.

Inside 3D Printing Conference Chicago: Day 1 Top Stories

Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Inside 3D Printing Chicago: Day 1

Day 1 of the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago kicked off in high gear and built momentum throughout the day. Below are the top stories from the day.

MakerBot and Stratasys Take Center Stage at the Inside 3D Printing Chicago Keynote

Scott Crump of Stratasys and Bre Pettis of MakerBot kicked off the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago with a vision of the future 3D printing.

3D Printing Sparks Innovations in Art – MGX by Materialise at Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Joris Debo talks about a brave new art world pioneered by Materialise with their Mammoth Stereolithography 3D printing technology.

Microsoft Confirms Plans to Take 3D Printing to the Masses at Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Microsoft wants to create a consumer operating system that is available to everybody that works fluidly with 3D printing.

Top Photos from Inside 3D Printing Chicago Conference Day 1

We are covering the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago this week. Here are some of our top photos from the conference on day 1.


Stay tuned or follow us on Twitter @on3dprinting for more updates from Day 2.

Top Photos from Inside 3D Printing Chicago Conference Day 1

We are covering the Inside 3D Printing conference in Chicago this week, from the MakerBot and Stratasys keynote, to innovations in art by MGX, to Microsoft’s confirmed support for 3D printing and more.

Below is a gallery of some of our top photos from the conference on day 1.


Photos by On 3D Printing contributor Lisa M. Pérez, co-founder of Heart Design Inc.