Numerous 3D printed Braille projects have taken off in the past that aim at helping the visually impaired. Babette Sperling is a German fashion designer who has created 3D printed clothes ornated with Braille scripts. These were showcased at the Mercedes Fashion Point last September.
Sperling is a fashion design student at the University of Zwickau, Germany. She created her collection of clothes using 3D printing as she wanted to highlight a number of things. Her mission was to make 3D printed clothes accessible to the people where they could sustainably wear the clothes. Sperling’s biggest challenge was to find the correct eco-friendly materials for her clothes. Her collection houses clothes that are wearable and environment-friendly. The design of the clothes not only bears in mind sustainability but has Braille textured into the fabrics that convey a message.
For incorporating Braille into the garments, Sperling had to 3D print plastic into the fabric directly using an FDM 3D printer. This aspiring designer took aid from Fab Lab Dresden and experimented with 15 fabrics and filament combinations before finalizing the best outcome. She finally came across BioInspiration, a startup in Berlin that deals in flexible 3D printing filaments developed using compostable materials.
BioInspiration started its journey with the Kickstarters crowdfunding campaign, has already partnered with SLEM (to create biodegradable 3D printed shoes), and developed eco-friendly 3D printed Star Wars toys.
When contacted by Sperling, the company proposed the use of its fully compostable WillowFlex filament. It was seen that the filament adhered well to fabrics as cotton and silk. WillowFlex was, therefore, used to 3D print braille onto the fabrics and to create custom-sized buttons for the apparels.
Sperling’s Braille 3D printed collection received much acclaim at the Mercedes Fashion Point and also received the Audience choice award.