Video: Printing a second skin with Makerbot

Want to catch a glimpse of the future? Check out this video, which shows what the talented designer Francis Bitonti and his students managed to accomplish with just a couple of Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D printers and an experimental MakerBot filament.

Bitonti – a multidisciplinary designer and researcher based in NYC – is the founding principal of a studio dedicated to the application of new technologies within design. Bitonti is also “one half” of the two-man team behind the legendary Dita Von Teese 3D-printed dress, a project which illustrates the growing number of fashion innovators using MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers to create custom designs and wearable technology.

Recently, Bitonti helmed a three-week intensive interdisciplinary research project at Pratt School of Design’s Digital Arts and Humanities Research Center (DAHRC) called New Skins.

“Students seized a unique opportunity to expand the scope of their skills by working with experts in the fields of fashion, art, architecture and computing to design and fabricate ‘second skins’ for the human body,” Makerbot’s Judy explained in a company blog post. “To assist with his project, MakerBot provided Bitonti with two Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers and MakerBot Flexible Filament, an [upcoming] polyester-based material.”

In addition, a MakerBot trainer teamed up with DAHRC to provide instruction and support for using the MakerBot Replicator 2. Throughout the project, students were inspired by anatomical models that helped them explore hidden vectors of the human body to reflect its intricate forms. A variety of software platforms were deployed during New Skins, including including ZBrush, Maya and Rhino.

Bitonti credits much of New Skins’ success with the ability to execute rapid prototyping on a MakerBot Replicator 2 as well as having access to the new filament.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how easy the MakerBots were to use. The quality was on par with any industrial 3D printed pieces we have commissioned previously. It was great to have the MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers in the studio,” Bitonti told the MakerBot blog. “[They] provided the students the ability to have immediate feedback on their designs by printing them during the design process. And using the new flexible material was really essential for us because we needed something that would be able to conform to the body and adapt to it as the body is moving.”

Want to learn more about the Verian Dress? MakerBot has released the relevant design files on Thingiverse as both Blender and sliced .x3g files for DIY Makers to modify, print and assemble.

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