3D Printing Hats (Flexible)
Updated: Feb 24
3D Printer, TPU Filament, & Patience.
My Project: HATS!
I love wearing hats. I also love 3D print design. So I mixed the two ideas together to make a 3D Printed Hats Project. Over the past few years, I’ve been rocking this Low Poly Wireframe Hat. People either freak out when they see it, in a good way, or they HATE it with a passion. There is NO in-between.
My goal with the 3D Hat Project is to eventually have my own fashion line of crazy and exotic 3D printed hats. But this week I got some flexible filament and I tried 3D printing this hat with it. It actually worked and it got me gears going! I had some interesting takeaways from this TPU experiment and I wanted to share the pros & cons with you today.
PLA vs TPU
Usually, I 3D print all my hats in PLA. It’s rigid, easy, & fast(ish). I liked this method but always thought the hats were a little uncomfortable. But I liked the style and attention so I wore them anyway. But now that I’ve successfully 3D printed the Flexible Hat. I don’t think I’ll ever go back. It’s WAY more comfortable, WAY stronger, and I love that you can just mush the hat up and it just pops back to its original shape. This style of hat making is giving me TONS of ideas to try.
The only thing I’m don’t like about TPU or flexible filament is the stringing. It takes quite a while to clean up and is very tedious. If you have any tips to stop this from happening or easier to remove, please comment below. :)
Here are some quick tips with you in case you’re interested in 3D printing with flexible filament.
TIPS WHEN 3D PRINTING WITH TPU
1. Keep your walls thin -
This will keep the hat or object very flexible and will 3D print quicker. The flexible filament melts together nicely and is VERY strong. I really enjoy that property about it.
2. You can 3D print faster than "they" say -
I had it 3D printing VERY slow at first. Like 35+ hours for a hat. Then I cranked the speed up to 1200mm/min (20mm/sec) and had great results. I had my extruder temp set to 230 degrees Celcius. Please let me know if anyone 3D prints faster than this successfully. I would like to 3D print faster with flexibles, if possible.
3. Have patience and watch this video from Chuck how to mod your 3D printer for TPU. I learned so much from watching it: https://youtu.be/az7pysnV_MY
You must WEAR the Hat!
If you want to 3D Print this hat for yourself you can download the HAT design for FREE. You can also LEARN how to do this wireframe technique on ANY design using the wireframe modifier in Blender 2.8. If you want to learn how, you can take my FREE Beginner 101 Course today.
After 3D printing this design.... you have to WEAR the hat. You can not let this hat WEAR YOU! What I mean by that is you have to wear this hat with a swagger. You can't be walking into a room looking all unconfident. You will get eaten alive. You have to wear this hat like it’s the dopest sh*t you’ve even worn. I’ve received HUNDREDS of compliments on this hat. It looks best if you have long hair or maybe if you have dreadlocks or an afro. Send me a photo of you rocking the HAT by tagging @PrintThatThing on any socials.
More Hats in the Works
This is just one of MANY hats I plan to make. I’ve also been working on some other funky designs like these. We have the Bubble Hat #1. This is more for like a bun or stuffing dreads inside of and then sliding a chopstick through it to hold.
I’ve also sculpted a Bubble Hat #2 which is VERY weird and crazy. Still working on this design but I hope to 3D print that soon.
I even did a fun video for the Blender 52 challenge and created a Mario Hat that you can download for free on our Downloads page. I have some other ideas for fun & funky hats that involve photogrammetry and some other techniques so be sure to subscribe for those future projects. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m always open to new ideas and feedback.