The Search Begins for 3D Printed Cotton Textiles
Kyle Maxey posted on February 10, 2014 |

cotton, 3d printing, research, printerWhile 3D printing has been making its mark in the fashion world for some time, the technology has yet to extend itself into the world of textiles. In a call for ideas posted at crowd-sourced research service Innocentives, a mystery investor is searching for a method to create a cotton-based 3D printer.

According to the unnamed investor, “The Seeker desires proposals for 3D printing technology that use cotton fibers, or material derived from cotton fibers, as the printing material or substrate. The Seeker is interested in ways that cotton can be used with currently existing 3D printing technology, or a novel 3D printing technology that uses cotton. A futuristic application would be for the printing of apparel or other products – i.e. where an article of cotton clothing can be printed, constructed, or formed directly on a 3D printer.”

With the window for proposals set to close on February 23 there are only few short weeks for solutions to be submitted. As part of the call for solutions, the Seeker has said a minimum $5,000 cash prize will be awarded to the “best” submission with the possibility of one or two $1,000+ prizes being awarded to other noteworthy designs.

Although $5,000 seems rather stingy for what could become a game changing 3D printing technology, the call for entries also states that any submitted solution isn’t immediately the property of the Seeker. “The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker. Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solvers grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal.”

If a 3D printing solution for textile production could be developed, custom fit clothing could be designed to accentuate other fabrics or fit a person precisely. What’s more, if the ability to 3D print textiles were a reality, performance fabrics could be stitched into any section of cloth, possibly increasing the effectiveness of such items.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

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