November 21, 2013

Life in 3D

When we think of 3D printing we think of the future but do we actually realize how real the idea of being able to create these prototypes is becoming? We've read about it, watched videos, maybe even seen it in shops, on celebrities, or TV shows like Project Runway and the point is it's happening right now.

video via CNN

It's no longer just conceptional and soon enough it will be a household commodity. Just imagine purchasing a design for a dress online, customizing it to your fit and being able to print it right in the comfort of your own home instantly. We are even beginning to explore the fourth dimension which symbolizes change over time. With design, production and manufacturing becoming more democratizing, the possibilities really are endless.

photo via Shapeways

While many dimensionally printed objects are made out of plastics and metals, N12 is the first completely 3D printed bikini that's not only affordable but made out of the waterproof material, Nylon 12. Designed by Continuum Fashion, this swimsuit surprisingly gets more comfortable the wetter it gets. The bikini is currently sold at Shapeways, the same company that printed pieces for the most recent Victoria's Secret Fashion Show as well as creates 3D jewelry that is sold at Neiman Marcus.

photo via vogue.com

The jewelry industry is at the forefront of the 3D printing realm with the ability to create prototypes for more expensive, personalized pieces like engagement rings. They can now test a product in a variety of materials, colours and design details before putting something into actual production and guarantee customer satisfaction in the interim. Just look at Kimberly Ortiz who introduced dimensionally printed jewelry on the runway at her Spring show or Pamela Love who is now combining 3D printing with her infamous hand metalwork. While Love is committed to doing things "old school," she also realizes that this advanced process of design can take her admiration for artisan work to an entire other level.

photo via Shapeways

And then there is the topic of footwear. While Nike has been utilizing 3D printing for years, they have yet to generate an entire shoe from start to finish using such precise technology as high powered lasers, until now. Named Nike Vapor Laser Talon, these football cleats are sleek, durable, and lightweight at 5.6 ounces to help athletes achieve faster speeds and better performance.

video via Protos Eyewear

Our imaginations are more experimental, our understanding more channeled and as a result, we have more options than ever. 3D printing is not only revolutionizing the face of fashion but the entire supply chain from start to finish. According to Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, "These 3D printers are the sewing machines of today."

From guitars to clothing to eyeglasses, it's not only about personalization but saving money, the environment, and time. Anyone can design and now anyone can easily create as well. The real question is, would you own a 3D printer and if so, what would you design? Click here for some inspiration and to see which cool 3D prototypes have already been made. 

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