Sinterit & Flexible Materials used 3D Flexa Soft in Opera Costumes

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Textiles, engineering and 3D Printing are different industries with different growth patterns, but they have something in common: structures. Additionally, each of these industries have to struggle with limitations in order to build products for less money and materials and at a higher rate of speed. But rapid prototyping has changed how these things are built and opened the door to numerous new possibilities.

Selective laser sintering (SLS) Additive Manufacturing, known as powder bed fusion, is an accurate and durable technology that, while perhaps not the fastest method in time to part, is definitely a good choice when it comes to machines that can provide repeatable results or that print batches of many things at once. It gives users more design freedom.

But engineers aren’t typically interested in textile applications, which is why the fashion industry is driving the push to reproduce flexible features through Additive Manufacturing…leading to the invention of such innovations as hexagonal shapes corresponding to hinge joints with a pivoted angle. This kind of textile structure does not have a flexible, elastic surface, but can bend under pressure and deform.

3D printing is our media to probe creative possibilities generated from merging unlike/dynamic elements, such as digital technology and craft, traditional opera and modern performance, as well as East and West.”

.Mingjing Lin, PhD candidate

Two years ago the two began working with Polish desktop SLS 3D printer manufacturer Sinterit on creating costumes for Beijing Opera performances of “Farewell My Concubine.” Lin’s specialty is Additive Manufacturing, while Huang’s is in pleating, and the two were challenged to create 3D printed costumes that were both sustainable and flexible. In this opera, the costumes are an extremely important part of the performance and had to be utterly amazing.

The material used for the costumes needed to fulfill two functions: successfully create and hold the shape that the artist designed, while also being wearable enough that the performers could move freely about the stage.

Clearly, this was no job for sewing mere materials like silk and cotton: Additive Manufacturing was needed to create more “dramatic geometry,” as Sinterit designated it.

For this daunting task, Lin and Huang used the company’s Lisa 3D printer and special Flexa TPU material, which comes in Black, Soft, and Bright for use in various applications. Flexa is very wearable, and the costumes created with the material were able to synchronize with the performers’ bodies while at the same time retaining their shapes, which would not have been possible to achieve using more traditional materials. The deep color of Flexa Black made it perfect for this particular opera, though Flexa Bright may be a better choice for textile fiber and costume designers, as this durable material can be dyed into different colors; Flexa Soft has the lowest hardness of the series, and is often used to design sportswear prototypes and sensory fabrics.

Obviously, those who work in textiles can find a myriad of uses for 3D printable materials that are both strong and flexible. Imagine the kinds of products engineers could make with materials, like Sinterit’s Flexa, that are strong enough to hold the specific shapes that are needed for different applications but are also flexible enough to bend and deform under pressure and then spring back into position.

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Source: Sarah Saunders 3DPrint.com Sinterit’s SLS 3D Printing and flexible materials used to make string textiles for opera costumes https://3dprint.com/237610/sinterit-flexible-strong-textiles-for-opera-costumes/, published on Mar5, 2019 and was re-edited by Rob Parker on Mar6, 2019;

 

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