Scientists Develop Technique for Producing 3D Printed Plastic Hair

Posted on October 29, 2015

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a technique for producing 3D printed hair. The researchers say these hair-like strands, fibers and bristles could be used for many things such as hair for a troll doll, hair for a horse tail or long whiskers for a wizard like Gandalf.

The plastic hair production is a slow process as it has to be produced strand by strand. It takes 20-25 minutes to generate hair on 10 square millimeters. No special hardware is required. Only a set of parameters is required that can be added to a 3-D print job.

Gierad Laput, a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII), says in a statement, "You just squirt a little bit of material and pull away. It's a very simple idea, really."

The researchers developed their technique using a fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer. To create a hair strand, the researchers needed to apply just a bit of molten plastic and then pull the nozzle head away rapidly. However, the print head isn't designed to rise fast enough to generate tapered strands. The researchers found a solution by applying the molten material and then moving the print head and the bed sideways. They found that by using this method they could create the hair-like strands they wanted. Take a look:

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