4D printing ?

4D Printing Will Allow us to Morph a 3D Printed Object Into Any Shape!

http://goo.gl/n6XMnX

A grid was made by 4D printing.

Using a new technique known as 4D printing, researchers can print out dynamic 3D structures capable of changing their shapes over time.

Such 4D-printed items could one day be used in everything from medical implants to home appliances, scientists added.

Today’s 3D printing creates items from a wide variety of materials — plastic, ceramic, glass, metal, and even more unusual ingredients such as chocolate and living cells. The machines work by setting down layers of material just like ordinary printers lay down ink, except 3D printers can also deposit flat layers on top of each other to build 3D objects.

“Today, this technology can be found not just in industry, but [also] in households for less than $1,000,” said lead study author Dan Raviv, a mathematician at MIT. “Knowing you can print almost anything, not just 2D paper, opens a window to unlimited opportunities, where toys, household appliances and tools can be ordered online and manufactured in our living rooms.”

Now, in a further step, Raviv and his colleagues are developing 4D printing, which involves 3D printing items that are designed to change shape after they are printed. [The 10 Weirdest Things Created By 3D Printing]

“The most exciting part is the numerous applications that can emerge from this work,” Raviv told Live Science. “This is not just a cool project or an interesting solution, but something that can change the lives of many.”

In a report published online today (Dec. 18) in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers explain how they printed 3D structures using two materials with different properties. One material was a stiff plastic, and stayed rigid, while the other was water absorbent, and could double in volume when submerged in water. The precise formula of this water-absorbent material, developed by 3D-printing company Stratasys in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, remains a secret.

The researchers printed up a square grid, measuring about 15 inches (38 centimeters) on each side. When they placed the grid in water, they found that the water-absorbent material could act like joints that stretch and fold, producing a broad range of shapes with complex geometries. For example, the researchers created a 3D-printed shape that resembled the initials “MIT” that could transform into another shape resembling the initials “SAL.”

“In the future, we imagine a wide range of applications,” Raviv said. These could include appliances that can adapt to heat and improve functionality or comfort, childcare products that can react to humidity or temperature, and clothing and footwear that will perform better by sensing the environment, he said.

In addition, 4D-printed objects could lead to novel medical implants. “Today, researchers are printing biocompatible parts to be implanted in our body,” Raviv said. “We can now generate structures that will change shape and functionality without external intervention.”

One key health-care application might be cardiac stents, tubes placed inside the heart to aid healing. “We want to print parts that can survive a lifetime inside the body if necessary,” Raviv said.

The researchers now want to create both larger and smaller 4D-printed objects. “Currently, we’ve made items a few centimeters in size,” Raviv said. “For things that go inside the body, we want to go 10 to 100 times smaller. For home appliances, we want to go 10 times larger.”

Raviv cautioned that a great deal of research is needed to improve the materials used in 4D printing. For instance, although the 4D-printed objects the researchers developed can withstand a few cycles of wetting and drying, after several dozen cycles of folding and unfolding, the materials lose their ability to change shape. The scientists said they would also like to develop materials that respond to factors other than water, such as heat and light.

LIVESCIENCE.COM
by Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor   |   December 18, 2014 12:22pm ET

The huge capabilities of 3D printing

Still not sure about the capabilities of 3D printing? After this list, you may very well be asking yourself “What CAN’T be 3D printed?”

http://www.livescience.com/34566-weirdest-3d-printed-object…

The cost of 3D printing has long kept the technology in a select few hands, but all that is changing as 3D printing blossoms into a full-fledged trend.

This June, Staples will start retailing a consumer 3D printer, the Cube 3D Printer, for $1,299 — not cheap, but not out of reach of the dedicated techie, either. Proponents hope that as costs come down, more sophisticated printers will reach the general public, allowing for digital DIY manufacturing.

Though copyright and quality issues remain a concern, 3D printing has already made its mark in some pretty weird ways. Read on for 10 strange objects created by 3D printers.

LIVESCIENCE.COM
by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor   |   May 21, 2013 04:20pm ET

Self assembling robots

As a wise ‘man’ once said: “Autobots, roll out!”

3D-printed robots that assemble themselves?! Imagine the potential!

http://www.livescience.com/46010-robots-self-assemble-when-…

Assembling a future robot could be as simple as heating it up. Two new studies demonstrate how 3D-printed robots could fold into shape and assemble themselves after being exposed to heat.

To make a two-dimensional sheet of material assemble itself into a 3D machine, the researchers used heated sheets of a type of polymer known as polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. These sheets of material were placed between two rigid polyester films  that are full of slits.

When heated, the PVC shrinks and the slits eventually shut, pushing against each other and altering the shape of the PVC. This process bends the material into different shapes, based on the pattern of slits and how the heat interacts with the PVC.

As slits of different widths push against each other, the material will fold into 3D structures, the researchers said.

“You’re doing this really complicated global control that moves every edge in the system at the same time,” Daniela Rus, a professor of engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose group conducted the research, said in a statement. “You want to design those edges in such a way that the result of composing all these motions, which actually interfere with each other, leads to the correct geometric structure.”

One of the new studies examines how to create the 2D pattern of slits that make these foldable robots possible, while the other discusses building electrical robot components such as resistors and capacitors from “self-folding laser-cut materials.”

Shuhei Miyashita, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, specially designed an aluminum-coated polyester sensor that could be attached to therobots once they are fully assembled. The sensor looks like a small accordion, with folds of material that compress and help electrical currents pass through the system.

To enable the robot to move, a motor could be made from a foldable copper-coated polyester coil, the researchers said.

The new studies build upon previous work done by Rus and  another MIT professor, Erik Demaine, on how origami folding techniques could be used to design robots.

The findings were presented at the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, which is being held from May 31-June 5 in Hong Kong.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace, or Live Science on Twitter@livescience. We’re also on Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

LIVESCIENCE.COM
by Elizabeth Howell, Live Science Contributor   |   May 30, 2014 05:45pm ET