a 3D printed thermochromic dress

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name — rebekah w.

school — canyon crest academy

grade — rising senior

area of interest — 3D printing mechanical engineering design polymer chemistry

This project entails the development of a color changing 3D printed dress controlled by an Arduino. The base of the dress is entirely 3D printed with the Ninjaflex filament. Layered on top of the base are the fabrics. There are two layers to the fabrics: the conductive pads and the organza fabric painted with thermochromic ink. The dyed fabrics are sewn on top of the conductive pads. Using wires soldered onto the sewn pins on the back of these pads, the conductive pads are connected to the Arduino Flora. The Flora along with an N-channel MOSFET controls the amount of heat being transferred to the conductive pads, and thus controls when the fabric changes color.

the concept

My inspiration was drawn from nature; I studied several species of flowers such as the Anguola uniflora, the Strongylodon macrobotrys, and the Caleana major.

milestone four

milestone three

milestone two

milestone one

For my first milestone, I prototyped a single panel of my dress with cardboard. To control the amount of heat flowing to the conductive heater fabric, I experimented with MOSFETs, operational amplifiers, and transistors, building a different arrangement with each. I ultimately chose to implement the arrangement with the MOSFET because it was the easiest for me to control.

There are three layers to my panel. On the bottom is the cardboard, which will be replaced with the 3D printed panel in the final design. Above the cardboard is the conductive heater fabric. This fabric has 20 Ohms of resistance and is filled with conductive material that can make the fabric emit heat when powered. Finally, on top of this heater fabric is the fabric dyed with thermochromic paint. The fabric changes color when heat supplied from the heater fabric powers on. This heat is controlled by the MOSFET and the Flora. The MOSFET has three parts: gate, drain, source. The 12V power is connected to the drain, the ground is connected to the source, and the gate is connected to the Flora. The gate controls the movement of electrons which then controls the current flow through the channel between the drain and the source and there is no current flow from the gate into the MOSFET; it’s basically an electronic switch. 

starter project one

For my starter project, I built an Arduino project using an ultrasonic distance sensor HC-SR04 to control how fast an LED blinks in relation to how close an object in front of it is.
My entire project consists of five hardware components: the Arduino UNO, the mini breadboard, the jumper wires, the HC-SR04, and the LED.
Connecting the Arduino and breadboard with these jumper wires allows the components on the breadboard, the sensor and the LED, to communicate with the Arduino.
The trig pin, which is essentially a speaker, sends a signal out, and when this signal detects an object in front of it, it is reflected back to the transmitter, where the echo pin, which is essentially a microphone, receives it.
The sensor then converts the time between the transmission and reception of this signal into a distance, which finally converts into a delay time for the LED.
This process, sending and receiving signals, loops continuously, allowing the LED blink rate to update in real time.
Because I have never worked with an Arduino before, I gained a lot from this starter project: I learned the main components of an Arduino, the Arduino IDE syntax, and how an Arduino interfaces with both the hardware and the computer.


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