3D-printed clothing, like those worn by some military personnel, can help soldiers who wear camouflage uniforms in combat survive in combat zones.
However, they have limited range of motion and need to be held on to.
The company Next Big Futures has developed a 3-D printer that can print clothing in the same way a person would.
Using the 3D print, the company can create clothing in three dimensions and have it printed on a single layer of plastic.
This is a very new approach to 3D printing.
The company’s approach was first proposed at the American Geophysical Union’s Space Flight Laboratory, in Pasadena, California, and the work was presented last week at the International Conference on 3D Printing.
Next Big is currently in the middle of a phase two trial for a prototype of its system.
“The goal is to have a prototype within a month,” said Jeroen van der Linden, a senior engineer with Next Big.
The team has been working on the project since the beginning of 2016.
“We are starting the first phase of testing in the Netherlands,” he said.
The concept is similar to a 3DP printer.
However the company has a different approach to printing the material, according to van der Linen.
The material will be printed with the 3-dimensional printed pattern.
“This is a different material than 3DP printing,” he told the BBC.
“3DP printing is the same as 3D, it is a 3 dimension.
We have the same process, and you can use 3D and you don’t need to know what 3D is.”
In the case of clothing, the printer would then print the fabric and attach it to the body.
The clothes would then be cut and placed on a bed.
“In this case you need to hold onto the fabric so it doesn’t move,” van der Linnen said.
The process would take around one to two weeks, according the company.
In addition to being able to produce clothing in 3D space, the 3DP-printed materials can also be used for the manufacture of new products.
This can be done in two ways.
“A lot of times, when you have 3D printed clothing, you need an adhesive, like a glue, or a fabric,” van den Linden said, adding that the adhesive would also be 3D scanned to check the material.
“You could have the material scanned and then used to make a 3DT or a 3DD printer.”
While 3D clothing is a new concept, it has been used for many years, in places like the U.S. military and other organisations.
“When you look at military uniforms, they were made by 3D printers, which were very complex machines,” said Van der Lijn.
“It was difficult to do that in the military.
Now that we have the technology and know how to do it, we can make clothes in a 3DS, which will be much more affordable and much faster.”
For now, the clothing will be used to train soldiers in areas where they are not expected to be deployed.
However in the future, the technology could also be applied to other areas.
“Imagine if we can produce a lot of clothes, in different countries,” van d Linden added.
“There are a lot more places to be able to put your clothes, and we will have more places where we can put our clothes.”
Image credits: Next Big, Next Big Fashions, 3D Printed Clothing, Jeroens van der Langen, 3DP Printing, BBC