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Flat Hat

This project shows the exploration of 3D printed structures and their unique properties as well as a concept for a more sustainable fashion industry. We designed a fashion piece that is ready to wear right from the printing plate. By using the benefits of 3D printing we created a structure with different deformation properties that will unfold from a flat object to a 3-dimensional hat.


Case Study


The fashion dilemma

Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity's carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams and 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year. In addition, shipping, bad labor conditions, inadequate wages, and excessive consumption further compound the industry's negative impact on our planet.

3d printed fashion

3D printed fashion and fabric represents a fusion of technology and design that offers a lot of creative possibilities, customization options, on-demand production and sustainability benefits by eliminating the need for shipping.

Flat Hat is a monomaterial product made in PLA, which is a bioplastic produced from renewable resources. At the end of its life the hat can easily be recycled and remelted into new filament.

3D printing, as an additive manufacturing process, could offer advantages over conventional methods in the fashion industry. Unlike the extensive processes such as cutting, coloring, bleaching, sewing, stitching and gluing, a 3D printed hat requires no post-processing and creates minimal waste.

Exploring structures and their properties

In our quest to find an interesting and well performing structure we were searching for a pattern that could be printed in a flat state and then unfold into a three-dimensional form with a soft and fabric-like haptic.

The chosen pattern, a 3-dimensional spiraling lattice, allows for the optimum of movement to transform the structure from flat to a hat-like form.

Why flat?

Printing flat offers several advantages such as faster & more efficient printing and a more compact pack-size for shipping.

Shading and ventilation

The spiraling pattern is lightweight, comfortable to wear and offers very good ventilation. For more shading the blades in the ring segment above the eyes are larger and denser.

Flat hat promotes an alternative to produce fashion items locally & on-demand, reduce the amount of waste & the impact of shipping and offer an easy-to-recycle solution.

"Unfolding 3d printed products that are ready to use right from the printing plate, offer many more possibilities."

Sarah Mayer

Considering the growing number of available filament materials and the ongoing rapid development of 3d printer systems, this project shows just a glimpse into the possibilities for future products.

This project was developed together with Sarah Mayer as an Applied Research Project during her internship.