Image Posted on Updated on
Researchers and Carnegie Mellon University have developed a technique for 3D printing hair, fibers or bristles. The researchers used a fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer. The technique is similar forming thin strands by extruding glue from a hot glue gun and suddenly moving the gun away. Similarly, the technique extrudes molten plastic from the nozzle of the 3D printer and then moves the nozzle away rapidly. The researchers call the technique furbrication.
3D printers typically can not move the nozzle up rapidly. However, they can move the the nozzle sideways with respect to the print bed rapidly. Therefore, instead of moving the nozzle up, the researchers moved the nozzle sideways. The amount of molten plastic extruded and the speed with which the nozzle is moved away can be varied to control the thickness of hair generated. These parameters are programmed into the 3D printer.
The technique presently creates hairs strands by strands. Therefore, the process is slow and takes 20-25 minutes to generate hair on 10 square mm2. Different types of material can be extruded from the 3D printer to create hair having different properties. The technique can be used to add hair to 3D printed objects, for example, hair on a head, whiskers, or hairy tails.