This is my entry for this year's Port Townsend Wearable Art Show, entitled "Modern Mermaid". It is a fully 3D printed dress, designed in OpenSCAD (see attached scad files), and entirely printed on an old Makerbot Replicator. It is modular and extensible, so you can make a dress to fit any size person and with any hemline you like. I designed this type of chainmail specifically to print easily, be lightweight, strong, and most importantly, to stretch as much as possible in order to conform to the figure of the wearer.
A big thank you to my models, Ellie and Xuny!
The links are intended to print with no infill (2 shells, or 4 total paths exactly fill the width). It can help to turn infill, roofs and floors off to make sure the slicer doesn't put in extra junk. This also relies extensively on bridging, so make sure your printer is well-tuned for that. Many slicers don't slow down shell bridges, so I found it helpful to edit the gcode to reduce speed on all of the moves for the two Z-heights where bridges are formed. Getting everything to stick and remove properly from the print bed is a challenge; I would not have been successful if not for the BuildTak FlexPlate. Happy to give them a shout-out, because that thing has been a life-saver. I sized the prints for my print bed, but you should find them pretty easily adjustable in the OpenSCAD files if your printer is different.
The edges of the chainmail have open links, so they can be knitted together to form as large a piece of fabric as you have patience for. This dress is bias-cut to make it stretchy, so the links are oriented with hooks down. You can use nippers to cut links, which is how I formed the neck line. The strap hooks into the place where a 4x4 square of links was removed. The sinch goes around the waist or just below the bust and keys into the chainmail. The links in the neck strap and sinch can be snapped apart and together to get the proper length. The hem links are designed without hooks so the hem can look more finished; I also printed them in a contrasting color to give a little flair. These dresses are 1 meter in maximum circumference, but the fabric stretches by 35%, so it can still fit a waist that is significantly smaller. These dresses used slightly different hemlines, but the green one used 24 chainmail swatches (a 3x4 set creates a square swatch whose opposite corners just meet to form the circumference of the dress).
It took me most of a year to design this; I probably went through 20 design iterations on the chainmail links alone. Maximizing stretch was the primary goal, but I found that making it reliably printable turned into a bigger concern. Even so, this took about 2 weeks per dress to print. I'm also quite happy with how the neck strap turned out; it took a bit of work to find a way to make it sufficiently flexible to form to the complex curves of the human neck.
I also designed some accessories (bracelets and earrings) to go with the dress, which you can find with my other designs.