MakerBot Explorers | Francis Bitonti’s New Skins


What happens when you combine a forward-thinking designer, inspired students, a couple of MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers, and an experimental new MakerBot filament?

A glimpse of the future.


A Record of Ingenuity Inspires an Inventive Project
Francis Bitonti is a multidisciplinary designer and researcher based in New York City. He’s the founding principal of Francis Bitonti Studio, a firm dedicated to the application of new technologies within design, and one half of the two-man team behind the legendary Dita Von Teese 3D-printed dress. He is among of the growing number of fashion innovators using MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers to create custom designs and wearable technology.


In July, Bitonti led a three-week intensive interdisciplinary research project at Pratt School of Design’s Digital Arts and Humanities Research Center (DAHRC) called New Skins. Students seized a unique opportunity to expand the scope of their skills by working with experts in the fields of fashion, art, architecture and computing to design and fabricate “second skins” for the human body.

MakerBot Steps it Up
To assist with his project, MakerBot provided Bitonti with two Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers and MakerBot Flexible Filament, a polyester-based material that’s coming soon. A MakerBot trainer joined up with DAHRC to provide instruction and support for using the MakerBot Replicator 2 as well as input during the design review.

Throughout the project, students were inspired by anatomical models and explored hidden vectors of the human body to reflect its intricate forms. They worked with a variety of software platforms, including ZBrush, Maya and Rhino, to realize their final design. This video takes us through the students’ experience designing with MakerBot Replicator 2 and MakerBot Flexible Filament.

Voila! The Verlan Dress
As you can see, the elegant Verlan Dress emerged from the project. It was printed on two MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers, mostly with MakerBot Flexible Filament, which is soft, pliable, and moves more naturally with the body. The top portion of the dress is printed in MakerBot PLA Filament.

Bitonti credits much of New Skins’ success with the ability to do rapid prototyping on a MakerBot Replicator 2 as well as having access to the new filament.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how easy the MakerBots were to use,” said Bitonti. “The quality was on par with any industrial 3D printed pieces we have commissioned previously. It was great to have the MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers in the studio. [They] provided the students the ability to have immediate feedback on their designs by printing them during the design process. And using the new flexible material was really essential for us because we needed something that would be able to conform to the body and adapt to it as the body is moving.”

To celebrate the creation of the Verlan Dress, we’ve released the design files on Thingiverse as both Blender and sliced .x3g files for you to modify, print, and assemble as you see fit.

Leading the Charge
Ready-to-wear 3D-printed clothing is fast becoming an influential force in the world of fashion. We’re thrilled that
MakerBot Replicator printers and our next-generation flexible filament are going to take center stage in the fashion shows of the future!


Bintonti_blogpost_bottomimagewithcloseup_0905013(Photo credit: CHRISTRINI. Video credit: Serko Artinian)