3D PRINTING : MoMA has acquired a fabric-like 3D printed dress by Nervous System


Recently, the Museum of Modern Art acquired a dress conceptualized and 3D printed as part of Nervous System‘s project: Kinematics. There have been articles of clothing 3D printed before, but the remarkable element of the dress by Nervous System is that the product contains qualities normally attributed to textiles, rather than being solid pieces of wearable plastic. Though the dress is composed of inflexible plastic (being 3d printed), the incorporation of 2279 unique, triangular panels connected with 3316 hinges allows the end product to flow and act as a “soft” fabric.


In addition, this hinged method of 3D printing allows for the fabrication of things normally too large for a single 3D printer to produce. Nervous System states on their blog :

We have created the first dress with Kinematics, our 4D printing system for generating complex, foldable forms. The Museum of Modern Art has acquired the dress along with the software that created it for their permanent collection. Composed of thousands of unique interlocking components, the dress was 3D printed as a single folded piece at the Shapeways factory in New York City and required no assembly. The Kinematics Dress represents a new approach to manufacturing which tightly integrates design, simulation, and digital fabrication to create complex, customized products.

Bodies are 3-dimensional but clothing is traditionally made from flat material that is cut and painstakingly pieced together. In contrast, Kinematics garments are created in 3D, directly from body scans and require absolutely no assembly. We employ a smart folding strategy to compress Kinematics garments into a smaller form for efficient fabrication. By folding the garments prior to printing them, we can make complex structures larger than a 3D printer that unfold into their intended shape automatically.

The custom-fit dress is an intricately patterned structure of 2,279 unique triangular panels interconnected by 3,316 hinges, all 3D printed as a single piece in nylon. While each component is rigid, in aggregate, they behave as a continuous fabric allowing the dress to flexibly conform and fluidly flow in response to body movement. Unlike traditional fabric, this textile is not uniform; it varies in rigidity, drape, flex, porosity and pattern through space. The entire piece is customizable, from fit and style to flexibility and pattern, with Kinematics Cloth our first app for clothing.



Check out the video about the dress’s creation here:


For more information, check out Nervous System’s Kinematics project here and their blog post about the acquisition here.


Images sourced from Nervous System.