Delaunay Dress is a parametric clothing design that allows for the creation of fully customizable clothing that can be easily printed on domestic 3D printers. Though there have been numerous projects that create fully 3D printable garments, these often involve printing the garments all in one piece on large volume industrial printers, printing smaller flat sections that are then stitched together, or printing in a flexible material essentially following traditional garment construction but with the extra step of involving 3D printing. The former involves often inaccessible technology as well as the work of a skilled 3D modeler to scale and fit the dress in order to achieve and the latter does not properly fulfil the potential of digitally modeled clothing in its seamless construction. With these factors in mind this design began as an investigation into answering the question: how might we design a 3D printable dress that is easily printable on inexpensive domestic 3D printers, utilizes seamless construction, and is easily scaled and fitted to individuals of different sizes and body types? The result is Delaunay Dress, an easily scalable seamlessly constructed dress that can be printed on any size printing bed in a series of flat sections that snap together to form the completed garment. To accomplish this, Delaunay dress makes use of two primary software's: CLO for sizing and draping the garment over a virtual avatar of the user, and Grasshopper a parametric modeling plugin for the 3D modeling software, Rhino 3D.
The most complicated aspect of the design was building the grasshopper script for Delaunay Dress. As previously stated, Grasshopper is a plugin for Rhino 3D that allows for the modeling of geometry based on parameters. Why this is important is because I needed a way to transform the 3D model or mesh that would come out of the digital draping software CLO into a series of organized components that were already laid out and reading to be printed. This is immensely important as if this step is done manually, it would have to be repeated every time somebody changed the size of the garment to fit a different person requiring somebody to remodel and relayout every single piece of the garment each and every time. By performing this step parametrically, it guarantees that no matter how many different variants of the dress are brought in, the script would be able to transform and organize the components into sections that could be printed.
Part of developing the script for transforming the 3D model was coming up with a flexible and printable textile that could also be modeled parametrically. In addition to these constraints, it also had to be printable without support material and have hinges that could be strong enough to withstand the stress of being worn as part of a garment as well as be non abrasive against the body. For all of these tests, I chose to print the prototypes out of the most common and easiest to use material for FDM printers, PLA plastic. Countless prototypes were printed, tested, broken, and improved upon until the final design was discovered consisting of an offset pattern from the starting mesh with alternating male and female snap hinges as the connectors.
In order to test the look and feel of the dress without having to 3D print off full scale iterations of the dress, paper prototyping was used. This proved to be an accurate way of simulating the drape of the 3D printable textile as paper is flexible but has no stretch similar to how the 3D printed textile can flex along its hinges but not stretch and expand since it is made out of a rigid plastic. The paper patterning also served as a way of testing the accuracy of the measurements of the 3D avatar compared to my physical model (pictured here) and to determine where alterations and changes needed to be made to both the avatar and garment.
For the purposes of guaranteeing that the final garment would fit the model and drape as intended, the 3D clothing design software CLO was used. This program specializes in digitally draping and patterning clothing designs and is used as a prototyping tool within the fashion industry in order to test the look and feel of different designs without the need to physically waste potentially expensive materials on prototypes. The most useful aspect of this software for my design, however, is its digital avatar that garments are draped upon as it can be resized based off of the real world measurements of individual people. This is great because it means the only thing a user needs to do in order to resize the garment to fit themselves is enter in their body measurements and the software will automatically grade the garment to the dimensions of the new avatar. The advantages of this method of garment design also allow for the users to both personalize the style and measurements of a garment to their liking rather than relying upon the dimensions and styles of clothes they purchase on a larger market, or the enormous expense of made to order and bespoke garments.
After the garment is digitally modeled and draped within CLO, it is exported as a triangulated mesh and opened within Rhino 3D. Utilizing the mesh as a basis, it is then processed with the grasshopper script. Within the script, users can adjust the density of the individual triangular pieces; larger pieces result in a more rigid garment with less individual components while smaller pieces result in a more flexible garment with more components. Within this script, they can also scale the size of their print bed, the result is an organized layout of platters that are ready to export for 3D printing in whichever slicer software the user chooses.
These final photos show a proof of concept for the final design. The starting point is the 3D avatar whose dimensions are based on the user's measurements. The garment is then digitally fitted to the avatars measurements and draped over the avatar to create a 3D model of the dress. The resulting model is then processed by the grasshopper script which outputs flattened sections of the dress onto individual platters that can be exported for printing. This sectional of the dress shown here draped over a mannequin is the result of printing just one of 40 platters that were generated to make this dress to scale. Due to time and cost, the rest of the dress was not printed, but even this one sectional shows the potential of this design to generate seamless fitted garments that can be printed without the need of industrial equipment or skilled 3D modelers.