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Can You Download Clothing from the Web?

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Can You Download Clothing from the Web?

You have long been accustomed to downloading information from the internet, and now you can easily download music and video. But these are only forms of data. They are immaterial. Could you also download physical objects? Could you meet all your material needs with a web connection and an in-home 3D printer?

A 3D printed bomber jacket and dress by Danit Peleg.

We may be much closer to that moment than you think. 3D printing has already altered manufacture of prosthetics, aircraft parts, homes, and even bridges. And if reports from industry experts are true, it could also disrupt the apparel industry.

In the future, your clothing may come out of a printer.

Several fashion designers have already unveiled 3D printed scarves, dresses, tunics, and hats.  In most cases, the printed apparel is made by deposition of layer on layer of plastic material.

Not so Fast…

So far, the 3D printing of apparel is expensive and laborious. The cheapest 3D printers cost several hundred dollars, and the ones big enough for apparel can cost several thousand. And printing a garment can require dozens of hours- sometimes well over a hundred. The printed product also also lacks the soft feel and the flexible ‘drape’ of knitted and woven fabrics. 3D printed clothing is usually stiff, scratchy, and unable to ‘breathe’.  It’s likely to be at least twenty years before 3D printed clothing gains mass consumer acceptance.

To overcome these limitations, some designers are working on the printing of filaments that can be woven to simulate the drape and feel of natural fabrics. Of course, this raises questions about the purpose of the technology. If it doesn’t simplify manufacture, why bother? If we’re going to weave fabrics anyway, why not stick with traditional materials?

The Next Frontier

Printed shoes, meanwhile, could soon be practical. Because shoes are much smaller than other garments, they require less material, and can be printed by smaller- and cheaper- machines. And they don’t need to be as soft and flexible as garments.

Nike and New Balance are already developing 3D printed athletic shoes. Adidas has already begun selling shoes with 3D-printed soles, and expects to produce 100,000 by the end of 2018.


For any in-home manufacturing, you’ll need a reliable web connection. For this, shop with Bundle Deals. Compare all providers and plans, then order any service with just one phone call.