3D Printed Swimsuit echoes the motion of crashing waves

Fashion designers have some pretty incredible things with fabric over the years but 3D printing is bringing something brand new to the table. The garment that designers can create with 3D printing software and materials can take on a distinct feel. Fashion is a funny thing. One day a style may attract all the hype, while the next day it is totally forgotten.

This swimsuit was designed by one Panamanian woman, named Nadir Gordon, currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and studying Fashion and Textile Design at the Universidad de Palermo, 3D printing became something fascinating to her. As part of her thesis for her class project, and asked her to create something innovative that represents the future of fashion.

3d printed swimsuit

“I began to study the vast world of 3D printing and became fascinated by it, seeing it as an opportunity to create garments and accessories in an innovative way,” Gordon tells 3DPrint.com. “Designers like Iris Van Herpen and Francis Bitonti, with their sculpture-like pieces, inspired me to experiment with this technology that provides tools to create volume and shapes that are almost impossible to construct with fabrics and the traditional ways of creating a garment.”

After a very brainstorming session she came up with a concept that involved waves, their constant motion, and how they crash against the see’s surface and coastline. She decided to come up with a design for a swimsuit which would capture the action of crashing waves as well as the mix of feelings, such as “peace and fierceness,” that is exuded in this marvelous phenomenon of nature.

For this project, which she calls “Waves,” Gordon began sketching her designs in 3D and then started working with a man named Jonathan Guerra, who is a 3D generalist based in Panama City, Panama.

3d printed swimsuit

“Designing it took less than a day,” Guerra tells 3DPrint.com. “Using Sketchfab really helped me and Nadir check and revise the suit to make sure it reflected her ideas. The complicated part was slicing and prepping for print. Once we decided the suit was ready to 3D print, I sliced it and exported it as 14 separate STLs. Since it came pre measured all I did was add it to Makerware and it already fit the tray, sometimes it told me that the mesh was bigger than the available space but I disregarded that.”

The finished design was then broken down into 14 pieces, and then printed on Guerra’s Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer. In all it took about 70-90 hours of print. Once all the parts were printed out, Guerra used a soldering iron to fuse them together. The initial plan was to 3D print the swimsuit using flexible PLA filament, but it proved to be too difficult to work with on such a complex mesh. After a couple hours of printing it with this material, the pieces started to wobble and become unstable, so they had to revert to using regular PLA.

“We certainly would like to do a 2.0 version of this prototype and use all the knowledge I got from this project,” Guerra tells us. “Also seeing the Nervous System’s Kinematics Dress gave us a lot of ideas on what to try next.”

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