Using SLA to print on a Fabrics

Hello :slight_smile:
I am new in SLA printers and I brought Formlabs 2. My main project or vision is to print on fabrics.
So I was wondering if anyone have tried to do such a thing ?
Can someone help and recommend for me a good resin that has very good adhesion properties?

I am also open if anyone has new ideas or intersets regarding this topic


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It’s been neat to see some of the direct on fabric printing that’s being done with FDM. SLA might not work as well for this due to the force between a print and build plate, as well as the need to fully remove uncured resin from clothing afterwards…

What sorts of applications are you working on? Would it be viable for you to print the parts normally, and then use an adhesive to bond them to the fabric?

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I have tried the FDM and it was fine but the adhesion between the polymer and the fabric was not good enough that made me to think of SLA.

I thought that by the SLA technology the adhesion will be better. By using the UV light the resin will penetrates through the fabric and I will attach the fabric on the build plate as if the printing part will attach to the fabric. If you think this won’t work please inform me

You have a good point and still did not solve it yet. which is how I will remove the uncured resin while it is on the fabric.

Can you tell more about how can I make an adhesive bond after i have printed the first part ?

You could invest in a UV light source or laser… Like the type of Bulbs used in the formcure… take the finished print, and dip its bottom edge in the resin tank to wet the bottom with uncured resin, but just over the area of contact with the fabric. ( or use a brush to apply uncured resin to the surface you want to bond )

Then place the print on top of the fabric lying on a glass plate. Shine the UV light source onto the fabric from under the plate of glass. This should cure the resin to both the printed part, and the portion soaked into the cloth fibers.

The up side is this… you will not be limited to swatches of fabric that can fit inside the Form 2 tank… you could apply this technique to an entire dress. or bolt of fabric.

This would adhere to fabric far better than any FDM process could achieve, the resin would literally soak into the fibers of the cloth- your only limitation will be how thick the cloth is- it will need to be thin enough for the UV light to penetrate to the other side and cure the resin in contact with the print.

If you print clear parts… and weld with clear resin… then that will be less of an issue as you could UV illuminate the bond from both sides.


If you need larger and finer control over placement than that- you could use a screen printing technique to Print the liquid resin onto the cloth like ink on a T-shirt. This would confine the resin to a ordered pattern on the cloth that would then guide placement of printed parts with greater accuracy.

Do all of this in a room lit with darkroom lights or other non-UV sources of light and then expose the entire printed fabric surface to UV when happy with placement.

PS- you might have to apply a release agent to the glass to get the resin to come off clean post cure.
Always Test, first.

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Thank you very much. I liked the idea it is very smart.

I will try this for sure. But I have a question, after I put the UV light under the plate to cure the uncured resin and solidifies.

The resin will be little sticky I guess as long as I did not wash it by the alcoholic and water.

Will this case occurs or the amount of resin won’t be big so this case will not show up ?

One more thing, Can I use any UV light source or should I use the one that comes with formlabs 2 package?

I am printing on the basic level which I will try on thin fabrics so the UV light penetrates well. After I get the best outcomes, I will definitely goes to T shirts and also moving to Shoes.

I really did not understand this I saw how to make screen printing techniques and I searched about it mores, but to bring this to SLA printer did not really know what should I do.

I understood from you I can print on fabric directly that will give me better outcomes and I totally agrees with you but when it came to clean the part the fabric will be damaged when it is add to alcohol.

I have an idea and I would like you to give your opinion and recommendation for it
I will skip the part where i wash the printed part that is printed on a fabric by alcohol then I will add UV light source and try to dry it by a fan or any other methods.

SO what do you think. I want to skip the alcoholic part cause this will harm the fabrics.

The resin only remains sticky where it is exposed to oxygen.
If the separately printed part is on top- and the greased glass is sealing the bottom from air- the resin should cure entirely.

Any remaining stickiness can be dealt with simply by leaving the fabric in a clear bowl full of water in direct sunlight fo a few hours. ( the water keeps oxygen away from the surface of any still sticky resin )

As to the light source- you can get wide spectrum UV lights like you can get lightbulbs. I expect Formlabs will sell them as replacements for the bulb in the form cure- but you can also buy them over at WickedEngineering.

Regarding screen printing- you make silk screens by using a black and clear film pattern that you lay across a screen that has been brushed with a UV catalyzed rubber- the rubber solidfied in the silk where the light hits and the rest of the liquid rubber is washed out of the screen.

The screen can then be used to print thick liquids, like uncured resin, onto sheets or bolts of fabric.

So - lets say you wanted to adhere a bunch of 3D scales to a lengths of cloth- You would layout the 3D scales for printing on the form cure- as separate scales- using graphics software- you would determine the FOOTPRINT of each scale where it would be stuck to the fabric, and layout a whole area of those footprints- in the precise pattern you wanted the scales to be placed.

Print the pattern on acetate and then use it to produce a silk screen.

You would then use the silk screen to print the uncured formlabs resin onto the fabric in that specific pattern. ( for this technique- you would want to use a COLORED resin so you could SEE the pattern of resin._

This would ensure that the resin was ONLY deposited on the cloth exactly where you wanted it… so you would not have to rinse excess resin out of the cloth afterward. You would then place the previously printed scales onto the resin pattern on the cloth… and expose the whole thing to UV for an hour.

You will have to experiment to find what weight of silk, and viscosity of resin give you the best result without resin bleeding into the surrounding weave.
You might find printing onto to a clear sheet of silicone rubber laid over the glass works better than directly on a sheet of glass for the purpose of keeping the fabric from sliding around as you work… but some variant on this technique should work for your purposes with no real need to soak the result in alcohol.

The pre- printed parts get cleaned with alcohol prior to your adhering them to the fabric.

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I really appreciate your ideas and your help and the screen printing looks a little hard but i will try it for sure.
I will try to keep you updated if I found anything new or interesting :smile: