Casio has some great news for all the industrial designers out there. Prototyping of clothes just got a hell of a lot easier than before. You will no longer need to spend hours finding the right material and get all the details right manually. All you will need now is a printer.
After 3D printing Casio has now come up with a new 2.5D printer. Recently at CEATEC, Casio demoed their new Mofrel technology.
The prototype was similar to the real fabric and design, down to the very small details of embroidery.
Fabrics are not the only things which can be printed with this printer. It can even mimic hard material like wood, stone and ceramic.
What Makes the Technology So Exciting?
The printer has the capability to add texture to an ordinary looking sheet. The sheets are slightly thicker than the normal paper.
The printer gives final touches to its masterpiece using its 16 million color inkjet. The paper used by this printer is available for $10 in A4 size.
A3 sheets are also available for the printer but their price is unknown at the moment. $10 seems like a high proce for a paper but analysis showed it is cheaper than the cost of a prototype made using the real material.
The sheet can take shape of many materials and textures. The process is a lot quicker and efficient as it takes only takes 3-5 mins to print a single side of the sheet. The sheet can be printed on both sides!
How Does the Printer Work?
The secret to this new printer are the sheets used. Casio is calling these sheets the ‘Digital sheets’.
They have a layer of micro powder made from a compound which expands when heated and takes the shape of the needed texture as it cools down.
To mimic the texture to perfection, the pattern of the required texture is first printed on the sheet with carbon. The carbon allows the heat to be focused on the required area. After that, the layer is printed and the carbon is peeled off and the colors are added by the inkjet.
The price of the printer at the moment is $44,400. Hopefully it be will available as a B2B solution by next year.
Some automobile companies have already gotten access to the device. It is rumored that a consumer version is also being developed. Let’s hope that it is true and we can have first hand experience with this new exciting technology.