3D printing isn’t known for creating soft toys that you would want to pick up and hug, nor that you would want to put into the hands of young children. They’re often made from hard plastics that can be quite brittle and they’re certainly not suitable for all kinds of toys. With that in mind, Disney have been working to create something a little more soft and play time friendly with a 3D printer that uses layers of felt.
The Disney researchers working at Cornell University and Carnegie Mellon University created the felt 3D printer. It takes a 3D model of an object, much like any other 3D printer, then creates the object by slicing layers of felt into the required shape and then does the same with a layer of adhesive fabric, allowing them to effectively bond together to make a single soft object.
The stacking process is repeated, cutting and stacking and bonding the layers. The technique isn’t perfect yet, as it’s a little rough around the edges, but the concept is sound and one they’re keen to develop further.
I wouldn’t expect to see 3D printed felt toys at your local Disney store just yet, but who knows what they’ll come up with in the next few years.
Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information.