Until now, 3D printing anything flexible like a blanket or a dress was left to the professionals. Fabric-like objects were technically possible, but they weren't things people could print using their own MakerBots. Nervous System, a generative design studio, is working to change that: its new, free desktop app Kinematics allows anyone with a 3D printer to create flexible products at home. Kinematics' simulation and compression technology can take the design of an object larger than the 3D printer itself and crumple it up to a size that will make it fit in the printer, allowing it to be made in one shot, in one piece. The Kinematics app turns the design into a puzzle made of hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of triangles. All the triangular puzzle pieces are then connected and the final design is compressed down to a size that will let it be printed in one continuous piece in a 3D printer.
Kinematics lets you make flexible, 3D-printed objects at home