3D printers are all the rage, creating everything from prosthetic arms to 3D versions of your child’s drawings. Leave it to Disney (and their collaborators at Cornell and Carnegie Mellon) to put a twist on the 3D printing game by building a 3D printer that uses fabric as a soft building alternative to plastic. The technique is pretty cool: the creations are built from pieces of adhesive felt which are laser cut and then assembled layer by layer using heat to fuse the pieces together. The extra supportive fabric material is pulled away at the end of the printing process to reveal the finished, flexible fabric product (watch the video above: the process reminds us a little of the Michelangelo quote about creating his famous David sculpture: “I just chipped away everything that did not look like David”). Although the printer is meant to be used for Disney’s own purposes and is unlikely to be mass-produced, we can only imagine the dozens of Frozen-themed toy prototypes that will be created on it that will become must-have’s on our children’s wish lists by the next holiday season.
via Tech Crunch