If someone wants to print something which is soft, cute, cuddly and fluffy, which can be hugged and played with just like a Mickey Mouse plushie then Disney has got what you desire.
Disney’s research lab has partnered with the researchers from Cornell and CMU and built a 3D printer, this printer is not like most other 3D printers.
It is not an extruding melting material like a Makerbot and it is not even like blasting a tub of goo with UV light to solidify it like the Form 1.
The new 3D printer is much like a laser cutter.
The printer cuts the layers in the shape of the object to be printed which are then stacked together by adhesive and then heated to bind the layers together.
The layers are stacked to print an object, the most significant aspect is that the printer uses fabric layers and not plastic like other 3D printers, which is why the objects printed are very soft.
The layers taken are larger than the required size, and once the object is heated and the final product is ready those extra bits are cut by a laser.
Disney Researcher James McCann and co author of the study says that the team responsible for the printer’s development has also able to embed layers of conductive fabric in the objects the printer creates. This could lead to touch sensitivity and it also provides an access point for tying in an LED display as well.
He said that the printer can produce both soft and 3D objects with an incredible amount of precision.
The resolution of the print isn’t stellar and the adhesive layers are not durable enough for the kids to toss around.
But mostly products built in the Disney lab research are mostly meant for their own use.