To some people, 3D printing and styling or interior design might not yet sound as the most obvious combination, probably because 3D printing is mostly done in plastic filament. Nevertheless the technology has found its way into our everyday life – and in architecture and interior design. 3D printing allows designers to explore and design without conventional restraints. Another great advantage is the high level of sustainable production as the prints are made with PLA a bioplastic and there is hardly any waste in the process.
But we often hear that a 3D printed object does not have the desired appearance in terms of structure or softness. Although there are beautiful filaments available such as wood fiber or copper color, plastic does not have the best image when it comes to interior objects. But not to worry. There is a technique that might just be what you are looking for: Flocking
Flocking is the way to give all kinds of materials a colour and a soft, dusty layer. Through an adhesive coating, electrostatically charged synthetic fibres are applied, giving your 3D printed object a velvety finish.
It’s that soft, suede-like upholstery that you’ll also find on the inside of glasses or jewellery boxes, for example. Nowadays, the flocking technique is also often used to print on clothing, but we have found out it works perfect on our prints as well! A flocked product is highly appealing because the “velvet” look and feel makes it a more luxurious product experience.
‘The electrostatic application of fibres by means of an adhesive layer’. By using an electrostatic field, charged fibres shoot back and forth at high speed between positive and negative. The pre-applied adhesive layer ensures a permanent adhesion of the fibres.
Flocking creates an increase in surface area. The raised fibres provide a 3D surface with air between the fibres. Consequently becoming a soundproofing layer. In addition, flock is highly suitable to apply onto soundproofing material (foam) and to enhance the proofing characteristics. Furthermore,flock also eliminates noise caused by vibration.