Computational Hydrographic Printing

by Yizhong Zhang, Chunji Yin, Changxi Zheng and Kun Zhou
Technical Paper at ACM SIGGRAPH 2015…

Hydrographic printing is a well-known technique in industry for transferring color inks on a thin film to the surface of a manufactured 3D object. It enables high-quality coloring of object surfaces and works with a wide range of materials, but suffers from the inability to accurately register color texture to complex surface geometries. Thus, it is hardly usable by ordinary users with customized shapes and textures.

We present computational hydrographic printing, a new method that inherits the versatility of traditional hydrographic printing, while also enabling precise alignment of surface textures to possibly complex 3D surfaces. In particular, we propose the first computational model for simulating hydrographic printing pro- cess. This simulation enables us to compute a color image to feed into our hydrographic system for precise texture registration. We then build a physical hydrographic system upon off-the-shelf hardware, integrating virtual simulation, object calibration and controlled immersion. To overcome the difficulty of handling complex surfaces, we further extend our method to enable multiple immersions, each with a different object orientation, so the combined colors of individual immersions form a desired texture on the object surface. We validate the accuracy of our computational model through physical experiments, and demonstrate the efficacy and robustness of our system using a variety of objects with complex surface textures.

see also “Water Transfer Printing”

Printing Teddy Bears: A Technique for 3D Printing of Soft Interactive Objects

Link to project page & press release:

This paper considers the design, construction, and example use of a new type of 3D printer which fabricates three-dimensional objects from soft fibers (wool and wool blend yarn). This printer allows the substantial advantages of additive manufacturing techniques (including rapid turn-around prototyping of physical objects and support for high levels of customization and configuration) to be employed with a new class of material.

Fully functional loudspeaker is 3-D printed

Cornell researchers in Hod Lipson’s Creative Machines Lab have 3-D printed a working loudspeaker, seamlessly integrating the plastic, conductive and magnetic parts, and ready for use almost as soon as it comes out of the printer.
It’s an achievement that 3-D printing evangelists feel will soon be the norm; rather than assembling consumer products from parts and components, complete functioning products could be fabricated at once, on demand.

More info at