Different Digital Fabrication Techniques
When thinking of 3D printing or what we formally called additive manufacturing processes, people normally find more questions than answers. How does it work? How is it possible to get a precise representation of the figure wanted? Can it be duplicated? What are the differences between 3D printing and ordinary methods of manufacturing?
Let’s start by answering the two questions people ask the most. How does it work and how is it possible to get a precise representation of the figure wanted?
It all starts by making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This virtual design is made using a variety of 3D modeling programs (for the creation of a totally new object). As much as this software might sound complicated and tedious to work with, the fast progress in technology has allowed this software to become more user friendly.
Different materials require different 3D printing systems. One of the most common software is called stereolithography (SLA). This technique melts or softens material to produce layers, the latter of which are basically horizontal slices of the final object. As the material starts to build up, it gradually develops into a solid object. Once you are satisfied with your design, you will then be able to duplicate and mass produce it, with the same quality and the ability to test it on different materials.
This industrial robot enables the achievement of widespread 3D printing, while upholding a constant price per product, irrespective of the volume produced. Reducing the gap between the designing and the manufacturing processes, innovating, extending creativity, diminishing obstacles and moderating materials used for printing are some significant outcomes of employing 3D printers in manufacturing.
The unique trait that each and every 3D printer possesses adds more value to this fascinating method. At the same time, it empowers the manufacturers to produce detailed, diversified and intricate objects, and also to diversify their processes with the cooperation of technology.
Perfection, accuracy and the speed of this method has led laser cutting to outperform the conventional cutting systems and stand out as a flawless method for the fashion industry to create unique ranges of clothing and accessories.
Laser cutters work on flat materials more effectively as they possess only two axis — ones that work linear to the object and with dual direction (left-right) and (up-down). This fascinating method enables the cutter to cut fabric with the aid of a laser beam which is followed by heat and produces an output with sealed edges, eliminating fraying. Diversified woven, nonwoven and artificial fabric materials are included in laser cutting to produce the desired output.
Leaving no strain, even on the smoothest fabric and delivering paramount sealed edges, when it comes to the fabrication process, laser cutters bring extreme quality and flawless pieces to the industry. The alluring results of cutters have also led to exquisite results and the growth of complexity in fashion garments. The proliferation of laser cut garments in high street makes consumers almost forget that this technology is new to the fashion industry.
This extraordinary but simplified way of producing products has generated many innovations and integrated the clothing manufacturing process itself. High level of precision and positional accuracy of the edges; edges without any dust formation, diluted delamination, demotion of material deformation and magnified utilization of circuit boards can be accomplished via laser cutters.
Engraving solid materials based on a pre-existing design can be accomplished with precision thanks to milling machines combined with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) manufacturing technology. Milling machines usually contain several axes of movements, including two axis, which means that it is capable of sculpting elements in a linear way, vertically and horizontally.
However, it’s also capable of processing in three axis, four axis and five axis which allows the cutter to operate in a full 180º, enabling the system to become interchangeable in order to achieve a higher level of accuracy and intricacy on each of the pieces. With these functions of milling machines, this technology is more applicable for production of bulky objects, even though many designers are pushing the CNC milling capabilities to produce increasingly thinner objects.
Each and every virtually available equipment, from the tiniest to the largest entities, are being assisted by CNC manufacturing technology. These tools comprise of lathes, slitting operations, milling machines, grinders, robotic welders and other incredible tools. The latter are used along with CAD/CAM — software that translate lines into geometries, thus resulting in figures and 3D shapes.
CNC machine tools have been in industrial processes for decades and their importance has dramatically increased due to the emergence of technology. The use of CNC machine tools are wildly growing today. Durability of the machine, consistency of work performed, less human supervision needed, homogenous products and availability of various designs relevant to varied tasks make using CNC mill increasingly attractive.
Digital Printing integrates an innovative garment form with digitally manipulated surface imagery, so that a printed design can be engineered to match across the seam lines. The theme of 3-dimensional design development relates to creative exploration of how flat textiles become complex sculptural shapes and how apparel patterns are visualized and developed for the industry.
The possibilities are varied when there is the integration of digital technologies into apparel forms, which allow designers to explore and visualize new creative possibilities. How the technology is used and how design concepts are perceived in the industry have definitely become areas of crucial importance to the technology’s longevity.
The applications of digital textile and apparel design have implications in many areas of the industry, but the three functions that have revolutionized the fashion industry are art-to-wear, custom design and mass customizable products. Digital printing allows designers to work with geometric shapes that can transition from two dimensions (2D) to three dimensions (3D), evolving through many iterations from flat to draped and ultimately, to complete 3D apparel forms. Shapes and patterns that begin as flat geometric forms can “transform” into garments.
They also are conceived to allow the imagery to flow with the shape but not correspond to any specific contour. When the shapes are combined with the printed digitally manipulated imagery, viewers are forced to spend time analyzing the intersections between image and form.
Digital printing is ready for prime time, and its growth continues to expand with the movement from mass-production to mass-customization of printed goods.