3d Print Fabric - Goosebump Fractal




Introduction: 3d Print Fabric - Goosebump Fractal

About: SENSOREE Design Lab crafts bio-responsive fashions with expressive technology. Our Therapeutic Biomedia monitors the body systems and animates emotion with audio, visual, or tactile displays. We work with futu…

Let us make 3d printing more wearable, flexible, and fun!

With the AWElectric design, SENSOREE Design Lab developed a new technique that fuses 3d prints to fabric. This Instructable focuses on the 3d print fabric component of this multifaceted design.

Design Concept
Inspired by the phrase, That gave me goosebumps. Did you feel it too? The AWElectric is a duet design that animates the emotionally charged goosebumps, amplifies them, and shares the thrill. http://sensoree.com/artifacts/awelectric/

The AWElectric animates awe – the subtle mix of fear and wonder that sends shutters up your spine and provokes aesthetic goosebumps also called frisson. Often felt from the sublime vast views of nature, authentic performance, or the Ah-ha moment, we sought to capture this sensation and showcase with extimacy – externalized intimacy. A series of biosensors visualizes breathing with illuminated color, monitors and amplifies frisson with inflatable 3d print fabric, and then sends to the sensation to another via AudioTactile fabric that is like a speaker that sends frequency to induce goosebumps.

Step 1: Goosebump Fractal Design Concept

Inspired by the human body that requires connective tissue betweens the bones, SENSOREE has created this fabric with joint material between the 3d prints. In this way, the fabric mimics our articulations, movements, and expressions.

Goosebump Fractals

The hexagon construction of the Goosebump Fractals are digital representations of skin cells, inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic domes and the machine gesture of polygons. The 3d print design covers a silicone inflatable and expands with the emotional peak of awe. The inflation opens the hexagon spike into 6 triangles to animate the thrill of goosebumps.

Step 2: Materials + Tech


  • PLA filament
  • Blue painters tape
  • Power Mesh Lycra Fabric

We like Polylactic Acid (PLA) filament for the 3d printer as it is biodegradable and bioactive bioplastic! bx3!

Blue painters tape is always handy for quick correctable prototyping. We also like to line the print bed with it for easy print removal.

With our testing, we found Power Mesh Lycra fabric and PLA filament to be amazing cohorts.

Power Mesh fabric is durable (mostly nylon) and it’s porous, so you can print into the fabric. The filament fuses through the mesh. Works great!

Other porous fabrics work well like tulle, panty hose, or a loose weave. Also, try other filaments. Experiment, find out, and share!

The 3d printers we worked with are the Makerbot Replicator, Ultimaker, and the RepRap. They all worked well.

Step 3: Model Your Design

Model a design

Option A: Separate the G-code into 2 parts to make a 3d print fabric sandwich

Option B: Pause the printer manually


  1. Print 3-4 bottom layers
  2. Add fabric
  3. Print the top layers of your design

Step 4: Print 3-4 Base Layers

It's printing time!
Warm up the 3d printer and heat the bed
Print the first 3-4 base layers

Step 5: Tape Down Fabric to Heat Bed

  • Cut fabric to size of heat bed
  • Lay the fabric on the bed
  • Tape down the edges with blue painter’s tape or clips to the edges of the heat bed
  • Avoid any tension on the fabric or the extruder will pull it off the bed

Step 6: Continuing Print the Remaining Layers

Continue to print the top layers. We recommend at least 3-4 layers again to get a good seal. The first layers of the 3d print part 2 seems to disappear to fill in the fabric.

Step 7: Let It Cool. Un-tape the Fabric and Slowly Peel Off the Heat Bed.

Let the printer cool.

Un-tape the fabric and slowly, gently peel off the heat bed or you might have to use brute force and a plastic scraper.

Step 8: Viola! the 3d Print Is Fused in the Fabric

The final step for AWElectric design is to add light and inflatables.

The 3d print Fractal Fabric covers inflatable silicone pockets that trigger when awe is detected with the biosensors.

During our design research process, we initially asked people to draw colors they felt with the aesthetic goosebumps and then mapped location and colors into the design. LED lights illuminate breathing rate as a orange pulse and the awe state instigates a violet flicker. The photo at the top shows how the lighting serendipitously resembles the changing sunset sky.

Please also view our article in MAKE http://makezine.com/2016/06/08/sensorees-biometri...

SENSOREE 3d print fractal fabric team:
Kristin Neidlinger – Concept Design Lead
Elena Mitro – 3d model
Colin Willson – 3d print tech
Eugenie Lacombe - Assistant
Photography by Elena Kulikova and Sensoree©
Models Ernest Kahn, Kelsy Hiyakumoto

Thank you to MU Artspace for commissioning as part of the Body of Matter – Body based bio art & design exhibit. MU Eindhoven, Netherlands 27 November 2015 – 7 February 2016.

Be the First to Share


    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge
    • Make It Bridge

      Make It Bridge
    • Big and Small Contest

      Big and Small Contest



    6 years ago

    Anyone else think this is terrifying? Aside from the fear this instructable is badass!


    Reply 6 years ago

    thank you! I hope it inspires those emotional based goosebumps.