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THE FINE PRINT: Can you explain to us the different between 3D printing and 3D weaving, as they are two distinct technologies?
JIM HU: Visually, 3D weaving’s outcome looks similar to 3D printing’s and confusion between the two occurs all the time. There are two kinds of 3D printing technologies, one builds up the object layer by layer: for this one, no matter what kind of material is used, it would have grains along the layering direction, and because of this, its outcome would be physically weak at a certain angle. The other type of 3D printing is CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production), and this one solves the problem the previous has, as it has a better material consistency. Either way, their material range is limited.
In the case of 3D weaving, technically it’s a hybrid of traditional weaving and composite material making, which enables the technology to incorporate techno outcomes from both, so the full strength of a material can be realized. Although it doesn’t mean 3D weaving can actually print everything we could potentially imagine, its shape and structure are bonded to how it is made, in this area it cannot match with 3D printing. Respectively, the only thing 3D printing could duplicate from 3D weaving is shape.
THE FINE PRINT: What first intrigued you about 3D weaving?
JIM HU: The birth of the 3D weaving applied wasn’t planned, it was initially driven by the urge to make a medium/vocabulary to capture my thoughts about cause and effect, searching for a mean to represent the imaginary picture of how fundamental particles collect, to depict the hidden formula behind things, which is often absent from our perception of this world. Later I felt I wanted to compose the next chapter of this work, its weakening figure was luring me to explore more. I had this idea that what if someone or something is wrapped by it, then the relationship of inside and outside would be disturbed. I wanted to talk more about it, and this eventually became the core of my graduation collection (though I didn’t finish it completely).
THE FINE PRINT: Do you see 3D weaving being a common fabric in the future?
JIM HU: Yes, but maybe less about fashion. I imagine it is more likely to be adopted in other fields, like aforementioned, as it is very suitable for making woven structures that are ultra-light, yet strong and durable. For fields that require this feature, applications of 3D weaving won’t be hard to imagine.
Photography ZI YU
Text by ESTELLE GERVAIS