A research team at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a 3D printing method to create threads of hair, integrated into the actual object.
Examples include short bristles of a brush, troll’s hair or a toy pony’s tail – all 3D printed with the same plastic as used for the rest of the design.
“Surprisingly, with enough strands, the extruded strings actually feel like real hair,” leader of the project and PhD student, Gierad Laput, explains. “I mean they are synthetic, but the printed strands feel like actual strands of hair…and because they feel like actual strands of hair, we can perform post-processing manipulations like cutting, curling, or even braiding.”
Laput has come up with a method, where the 3D printer extrudes molten thermoplastic while the print head pulls away at the right speed in order to stretch the material. The parameters can be integrated into a standard G-Code file.