Susana, could you let us know briefly about your background and your journey into Additive Manufacturing?
I started studying 3D printing at the beginning of my Master’s degree to develop a collection and look for my distinction among the immense fashion designers. I ended up being interested in technology and deepening it and I made it the subject of my dissertation.
I have no academic or educational training in the field of technology or the field of 3D printing, however, my path is very based on self-learning, mainly the technological part and the merger of both.
What is SARQUE and what is the story behind it?
SARQUE started as a simple project, it was mainly the development of some trims for a collection, some distinctive brand. But once I started I couldn’t stop exploring something new every day, and feeling that I was getting close to something new made me try to go further every day. At the end of my Master’s degree, it became more than a project and started to become a brand and “company” that aims to launch products, train, encourage research … so that I can continue to research and get a livelihood from my work.
To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
I believe that it is undoubtedly the development of textiles 100% printed in 3D, with strong similarities to conventional fabrics, one of which is flexibility and comfort.
What is the disruptive potential of 3D Printed textile?
3D printed textiles offer us a multitude of new options and ease in the integration of components such as smell, microcapsules to give other types of characteristics, as well as the incorporation of technology, of electronics is very easy.
One of the disruptive points of technology is also sustainability since we can use not only recycled plastic but also make a pattern without wasting material and this is one of the key points of technology, as well as allowing us to create much more complex shapes that were not possible before. It is a whole new world, much more focused on personalization, oriented towards a “prosumer”, for the virtualization of processes.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about your career to share with us?
Well, as I did not have any technological, electronic, electrical background … My day to day is very much based on experimentation … and learning through error. This makes me try absolutely everything, even the ideas that may sound stupid. And let’s say that it occasionally leads to printers and catching fire and various other headaches because I discover the limit of materials and equipment precisely by testing and challenging them. The fact that I work alone and without any association with any entity or laboratory, I think that is what allows me this too because anywhere they would expel me in the first week. Sometimes when I talk to professionals in the field and tell them what I do, they freak out.
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman 3D Printing?
This is a part that is both funny and sad. The truth is that whenever I arrive at a laboratory, whether in an academic or business environment and talk about my work, I am constantly forced to deal with situations in which men address me and do not understand about my work and when they ask questions, they look for a man to answer about my own work, just as they also make a point of pretending that I don’t know anything that I say, simply because I’m a woman and technology shouldn’t be my area, just like I’m just a kid. It mainly has to do with the fact that they don’t take me seriously as for my gender, as for my age and question my decisions as well as my methods and everything I do, much more than they would do if I were a man. When a man says exactly what I say, he is not questioned. I need to justify and show that I know about 10 times before.
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
I don’t think I can name one, the impact of 3D printing has been great and is completely revolutionizing all areas.
As passionate about the 3D printing technology that I am, with every new step, we take I am super excited but not surprised, that’s why I can’t name just one. From printing organs to building houses, sometimes it looks like the future will be completely printed, given the versatility of the technology and the huge impact it is having.
What advice do you have for women looking to get started in 3D Printing?
I think it depends on your background. In the case of fashion designers like me, do not despair, it looks like a 7-headed bug because we do not have technology aimed at our industry, materials, printers, software … nothing is developed taking into account the specific needs of fashion, but it is already possible to find very functional solutions.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with Additive Manufacturing?
I think it is a lot to create organizations, supports, communities, for example, “women in 3D printing” that support the journey of all those who venture through this area, who give us a voice.
Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?
There are a lot of interesting things that I’m working on and I think it’s a matter of keeping an eye out.
I have several daily obstacles so I never know if I will have to stop my research tomorrow or if I can continue.
Favorite 3D tool?
“Pull up” the magic when 2D becomes 3D.
Favorite moment in your day job?
remove products from the printer
What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years?
I hope I have become a reference in 3D printed fashion and have my brand more consolidated.