Casio Mofrel 2.5D printer makes realistic fabric and leather samples

Casio is the latest company to showcase a cool new technology at Japan's CEATEC event. The company recently demonstrated Mofrel 2.5D printing, an almost-3D printer that can produce materials with a texture like that of leather or fabrics. With this technology, sheets of textured 'leather' and 'fabrics' can be printed on-demand with various designs, then colored through a separate printing process.

Whereas 3D printers produce objects layer by layer out of plastics, Casio's 2.5D printer is able to print very thin layers onto sheets of paper. These layers mimic the texture of materials, giving designers a fast on-demand way to test out a design, including getting a real-world feel of it, before creating actual samples with actual materials.

This would have multiple benefits, the most obvious being the ability to immediately print out design samples instead of sending orders to a manufacturer. Being able to see the design in person in a span of minutes can both save costs and speed up workflows. A variety of industries could benefit from such a printer, including automotive companies and the textile industry.

Casio details the creation process on its website, showing that the printed samples are comprised of a base paper back surface with an upper foam layer followed by a front surface for inkjet printing. The printer can produce textures that include minor irregularities, such as the lumps and bumps on brick and leather. The printing can also handle designs such as a specific woven pattern.