I finally got around to 3D printing on fabric. It worked out okay. I need to experiment a bit more to perfect it, but for a first attempt, it worked out okay.
I used OpenSCAD to design a bump, and then made a field of bumps. (It’s a low-poly half sphere, actually. Really simple to do in OpenSCAD.)
Also really easy to generate a bunch of them in OpenSCAD by using two for loops. I know OpenSCAD isn’t for everyone, but if you think in code, it might work for you.
I used this organza fabric to print onto. It’s a mesh material, so the process of printing on it involves printing a few layers, then pausing the print, moving the print head out of the way, laying down the fabric, securing it to the bed, then continuing the print. The fabric gets embedded within the layers of the print.
My Maker Select Plus did not allow me to pause the print and move the extruder using the on screen controls, so I added some custom gcode to my print. Cura has a post-processing plugin that allows you to inject gcode bits into your script. I had make an edit to get it to work with my printer. And then I actually made my own version so I don’t lost the changes when I upgrade Cura next time.
So what use is this? It allows you to wrap a print around something. It an be used to create fake armor for cosplay, or to wrap anything cylindrical, or add an interesting texture to something. Over at Milwaukee Makerspace we may have something in the works for Maker Faire Milwaukee this year.