3D print a personalized t-shirt design, step by step

Want to make a t-shirt with a custom design printed on it? It’s possible to use a 3D printer, and Prusa Research has a well-researched blog post and video detailing two different ways to use 3D printing to create colorful t-shirt designs. One method uses a thin 3D print as an iron-on patch, the other prints directly onto the fabric. It turns out that a very fine PLA print makes a dandy iron-on patch that can survive a few washes before peeling off, but printing flexible filament directly onto the fabric – although more complicated – gives a much more permanent result. Confused about how to turn a graphic into a 3D printable model? No problem, they cover that too.

Making an iron-on patch is fairly straightforward, and the method can be adapted to just about any type of printer. You simply attach a sheet of parchment paper (better known as parchment paper in North America) to the print bed with bookbinding clips, then apply a stick of glue so that the print can adhere. A thick single or double layer 3D print will stick to the sheet, which can then be laid face down on a t-shirt and transferred to the fabric by ironing it at maximum heat. PLA seems to work best for iron-on patches because it preserves detail better. The results look good and the method is quite simple.

Printing direct to fabric with flexible filament can give much better (and more permanent) results, but the process is more complex and requires 3D printing of a raised bed adapter for a Prusa printer and modifying it. several print settings. But the results speak for themselves: the printed designs are crisp and won’t come off even after multiple washes. So make sure you have a few old shirts to practice with, as mistakes cannot be fixed.

That 3D printers can be used to embed designs directly onto fabric is something many have known for years, but it’s always nice to see a process not only demonstrated as a concept, but documented as a step-by-step workflow. stage. A video demonstration of everything from turning a graphic into a 3D model to printing on a t-shirt with both methods can be found in the short video embedded below, so watch it.

As Halloween approaches, here’s a reminder that 3D fabric printing can go to interesting places with costume design, and this Remoticon 2020 presentation goes into all the details of how to make this kind of approach work. .

About Catharine C. Bean

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