This 3D-Printed Structure Can Fold Itself

Charlotte Kuijpers
January 16th 2018

Researchers at the University of Technology in Delft have created flat structures able to fold themselves into three-dimensional constructions. Inspired by the art of origami, they designed 3D printed new shape shifting objects.

The sequence of the folding parts can even be determined beforehand, which is not necessarily something new. What makes it a breaktrough in open-source possibilities, it's the use of relatively cheap material and tools. This new technique only requires an Ultimaker 3D printer and common PLA filament.

Some parts contract before others, this is called sequential shape shifting and enables the user to create complex structures. By printing the 2D-structures with alternating thickness and alignment of the filament, the material will change shape when heated up. To showcase the technique, the researchers created a self-folding tulip.

Amir Zadpoor, one of the researchers, envisions the application of this technique in different fields. Maybe we’ll buy a 2D-sheet at IKEA which transforms into a piece of furniture after we put the hairdryer on it for a while. The question is: when will this happen?

Source: Image: All3DP

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