engadget wrote:Casio's '2.5D' printer can mimic leather and fabric
At CEATEC, Casio demoed this Mofrel printing technology that adds a range of textures to ordinary-looking sheets, before giving them the final touch with a 16-million-color inkjet.
The printed samples looked and felt surprisingly convincing with a great level of detail -- down to the uneven surfaces and puffiness of leather, the subtle bumps on stitches and even the coarseness of embroidered fabrics (especially for kimono designs). Hard materials like wood, stone, brick and ceramic can also be mimicked, though some of these may require additional coating for hardness or shininess.
The secret behind this trick lies within Casio's "digital sheets." These appear to be slightly thicker sheets of paper, but in fact, they contain a layer of micro powder between the inkjet layer and the paper or PET substrate. Each powder particle consists of a liquid hydrocarbon coated with a thermoplastic resin (acrylonitrile), and this combination expands when exposed to heat. The structure is still retained when heat is removed, leaving behind the mimicked texture on the sheet.
To better control the texture formation, the texture pattern is first printed onto the sheet's top microfilm using carbon, then these infrared-absorbing carbon particles focus the heat onto the desired areas of the micro powder layer.