Benchtop and Low-cost SLSFashion

Miss South Africa contestants wear Bare Beauty swimwear adorned with 3D printed flowers

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: 3D printing is an incredibly versatile manufacturing process. From 3D printed race car parts, to sports equipment, to coral (and that’s just this week), additive manufacturing has found applications in many industries and for many, many purposes. Polish 3D printer manufacturer Sinterit recently drew out attention to another novel use of Selective Laser Sintering technology (SLS): swimwear.

Ciska Barnard, the swimwear designer for Bambshell, an exclusive swimwear label started by former Miss South Africa Melinda Bam, recently integrated 3D printed floral details into a swimwear collection for the finalists of the Miss South Africa competition.

The swimwear collection, called Bare Beauty, was inspired by natural beauty and skintones. “Bare Beauty showcases pieces, custom made to suit each finalists skin tone & body shape,” reads a post on Bambshell’s Instagram. “The concept of this range is to showcase each contestant’s natural beauty, with nude tones to match & compliment their complexion. At second glance, you’ll notice the detail and textures of intricately 3D printed Build Volume Flowers and custom embroidered details.” 

The collection is also notable for its floral details, which were made using SLS 3D printing. Build Volume, a South African 3D printing company, collaborated with Bambshell on the collection and used its Sinterit Lisa 3D printer to manufacture the flowers. To ensure the flowers were flexible and could be worn comfortably, they were printed from Flexa Black, a TPU-based material known for its smooth and flexible properties.

“Most of our clients use hard materials like PA12,” said Konrad Glowacki, co-founder of Sinterit. “It becomes a standard for a broad range of industries. But fashion needs more flexible solutions. It is not so easy to find a dependable, flexible material that would be a perfect match for the fashion industry and available for 3D printers…We are happy to provide two reliable products: Flexa Black and Flexa Gray.”

The finished 3D printed flowers bring something new to the swimwear collection. Finished in the same colour as the bathing suits, they offer a subtle and delicate refinement to the swimwear akin to lace but in three dimensions.

Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault moved from her home of Montreal, Canada to the Netherlands in 2014 to pursue a master’s degree in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. It was during her time in Amsterdam that she became acquainted with 3D printing technology and began writing for a local additive manufacturing news platform. Now based in France, Tess has over two and a half years experience writing, editing and publishing additive manufacturing content with a particular interest in women working within the industry. She is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM industry.

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