The 3D printable fabric is the result of a personal research project trying to combine the traditional feelings offered by textiles with the possibilities of digital fabrication, offering a new experience to those involved in both industries.

The main approach was to develop a simple design that acted as a canvas or template, which allowed the design to be tested in different areas. This way, the chain mail could be adopted and implemented as a part of a bigger process, especially in educational environments.

First version of the 3D printable chain mail

One example of the multiple possibilities of the first version was the transformation of the chain mail into a pixelated piece of art. In this case, each link acts as a pixel which is 3D printed in a different color using a multi-color 3D printer.

Multi color chainmail 3D printed with the Prusa MMU

The second version of the chain mail offers a new experience, being possible to connect multiple chain mails or links to create larger designs.

This is possible thanks to the redesigned link, which has a small opening in every direction. The two main advantages of this design are that it allows creating large chain mail using 3D printers with small print volume and that it is possible to connect links that are made with different materials and colors.

Close-up detail of the chain mail 2.0
Chain mail 2.0

Both versions of the chain mail are available for download, and they offer a great experience to try by yourself or during a workshop.