Multimaterial 3D printing is opening up a brave new world of fashion possibilities, and the Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 is leading the charge. Gruppo Meccaniche Luciani -- a Corridonia, Italy-based manufacturer of moulds and other tools for making footwear -- has designed a collection to showcase its new service called rapid prototyping.
"3D printing enables us to offer a new line of items to our clients. We can design and 3D print realistic prototypes in a matter of hours and incorporate any required design iterations before starting full production," said Gruppo Meccaniche Luciani's Elisa Luciani.
The collection consists of six items: thee pairs of shoes, a bustier, a bracelet and a rigid, single-material handbag, designed to showcase the intricate work that can be achieved with 3D printing -- both with multiple materials, in different colours and textures, achieved with the printer's triple-jet design; and in the complexity of the designs themselves.
The bustier features a cutout in the middle, bordered by black curves contrasted with a pointed prism pattern, and filled with curved lines, in a soft, flexible material -- Stratasys' family of rubber-like materials -- that is more comfortable to wear than hard PLA material.
"Our main requirement was to produce a highly-detailed, realistic wearable. Using Stratasys' materials, we were able to 3D print a top with varying levels of softness that could be worn in direct contact with the skin," Luciani explained. "The ability to combine rigid and soft materials simultaneously is unique and would have otherwise entailed manual manufacture and individual assembly of each material.
Meanwhile, one of the pairs of shoes is printed in both rigid and soft materials in two colours for a visually compelling, brightly coloured look; another has a complex, angular latticed design, which fits around the curved shape of the shoe itself.
"When designing the shoe we were concerned about the rigidity and resistance of the heels, but the 3D printer's ability to combine varying densities of rigid and soft material simultaneously enabled us to manufacture the whole shoe in one print," Luciani said.