3D Printing

Nervous System's Latest 4D Printed Dress Twirls into the Museum of Fine Arts

3D printing design studio Nervous System made an important breakthrough in 4D printing in 2014 when they revealed the Kinematics Dress, subsequently purchased by MoMa in New York, as a part of its permanent collection. Not one to be left behind, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) commissioned the pioneering firm to 4D print yet another dress for their upcoming #techstyle exhibition running from March 6 through July 10, 2016.

4D printed kinematic petals dress from nervous system

The original Kinematics Dress was an important achievement because it demonstrated the ability to fabricate an object that, when removed from the print bed, changed its shape, making it a dynamic object.  As a 3D printed garment, the dress was also much more fluid and flexible than the clothing printed so far due to the individual links that made up the piece.  In other words, it more closely resembled the attire we’re used to wearing.  And because the dress was produced on demand, it shows off the possibility of tailoring the piece to the wearer through 3D scanning and design before printing takes place.  Then, when it’s made, it’s simply pulled out of the printbed, all in one piece and without any assembly required.

The new Kinematic Petals Dress to be debuted at MFA advances the project in numerous ways and brings new design elements to it, as well. Made up of petals layering out of an undergrowth of triangular panels, the dress was also 3D printed from nylon with selective laser sintering. Altogether the Petals Dress consists of over 1600 unique pieces connected with over 2600 hinges.  As with the previous Kinematic dress, this one pops out of the printbed fully assembled and, as it unfurls, it is even larger than the printer itself.

4D printed kinematic petals dress roll

In crafting the design, Nervous System has created eight different Kinematic dresses, prototyping them on their Form 2 3D printer.  While doing so, the studio also worked on improving its Kinematics Clothing design app to control the length, width, height, and direction of each individual shell separately from the rest. Because the petals did not fold in the same way as the elements in the previous piece did, Nervous System developed a new algorithm for compressing the dresses.  Instead of digitally folding them, they digitally rolled them.  Though the overlapping petals may have caused them to rethink one issue, it also gave them the ability to incorporate hidden snap connections for the ability to break dresses down into reconfigurable garments: from a dress into a top and skirt.

The studio goes into even more detail about this latest project on their blog, including a number of videos and pictures we can’t fit right here.  But if you happen to be in Boston from March 6 through July 10, you’ll be able to learn even more by seeing the dress in person.  You can also pick up your own piece of Kinematic printing in the form of Nervous System’s latest jewelry collection, Kinematic Petals.

kinematic petals collection 3D printed nervous system

The collection is available for purchase at the studio’s online shop and will also be sold at the MFA Bookstore and Shop.  Until you get your own Kinematic Petals dress, these individual pieces will help you achieve a similarly organic look.  Nervous System’s Jessica Rosenkrantz writes, “The collection includes necklaces, earrings and bracelets covered in a directional landscape of overlapping, petal-like forms. While each element of the jewelry is rigid, in aggregate they behave as a continuous fabric which molds to the body’s contours.”