New 4D printing method created by researchers of Tokyo University

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Researchers of Tokyo University have created a new 4D printing method

4D printing: Fundamentals, materials/ Source: Science

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a novel technique of 4D printing method for quick 3D item production using a combination of 2D printing, origami, and chemistry, with zero waste produced in the process.

The 4D printing method provides a new spin on 3D manufacturing that has the ability to break through current barriers and usher in exciting new opportunities across many sectors. The team looked to 4D printing method as an alternative to the time-consuming and wasteful layer-by-layer methods of 3D printing. Here, materials with unusual qualities self-fold into intricate 3D patterns under controlled conditions, with time playing a pivotal role in the metamorphosis.

According to Koya Narumi, a Project Assistant Professor in the University of Tokyo’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems, “our largest issue was refining the possibilities for hardware and materials,” which took over a year to reduce down to the final selections. But the effort paid off; our output resolution is now 1,200 times better than that of earlier studies based on the same principle, so the designs we generate aren’t merely novelties; they have practical uses. To create machines and other useful gadgets, we may investigate functional materials like conductive or magnetic inks in the future.

For 4D printing method models, use 2D layers. Despite their apparent lack of depth, printed origami sheets are really rather complex, with many ink layers on top of and underneath a core heat-shrink sheet. Primers improve the moist adhesion of inks to the sheet. The black ink prevents the paper from collapsing, which is necessary for folding. When used as a base, white allows other colours to pop off the page. And last, a transparent top layer shields everything beneath it. Photograph by Koya Narumi.

New method of 4D printing method

The 4D printing method relies on an inkjet printer modified to work with UV-reactive compounds. Although these printers might be more expensive, they are often found in collaborative maker spaces. The printer accurately transfers a 2D origami pattern to both sides of a plastic sheet that has been shrunken by heat. The printing ink also doesn’t dry and stiffen up after being shrunk, so it may keep its bendy shape even after being printed on. When designers leave blank spaces between blocks of ink on either side of a sheet, they may precisely determine which way it will fold.

New method of 4D printing method

Researchers develop world’s first-ever 4D printing for ceramics/ Source: Jagran Josh

When the flat sheet is heated with hot water, it automatically folds itself. The base sheet contracts directly from being subjected to such high temperatures. The ink’s resistance to shrinking plays a crucial part in this process, causing the material to fold itself into a complicated origami-like structure.

“My team and I learned how to employ available technologies and materials to build self-folding 4D printing method sculptures,” Narumi continued. In essence, we’re making flat sheets with origami patterns on them, and these patterns may be so intricate that they’d take hours for even a great origami artist to fold. With our unique method, however, you need only pour hot water over these flat sheets to see them transform into intricate 3D designs in a matter of seconds.

Also read: Myanmar Rebels Use 3D-Printed Guns in Their War

Experts are excited about the wide range of uses for this novel approach. The fashion sector is one that stands to gain, since it regularly faces the problem of material waste, especially in the context of bespoke designs. In the event of a disaster, this technology’s ability to move 4D printing method products while they stay flat presents an attractive alternative to solve logistical and storage challenges. Flat forms can be printed and then assembled on-site to make fully functional 3D things, such as medical equipment.

Researchers claim that they have gained insight into the future of fast and waste-free fabrication thanks to their ongoing investigation and development of the 4D printing method. Scientists have said they are “eagerly anticipating” its widespread use and effect on several businesses.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D Printing. Visit our Global News page for more updates on Global 3D Printing News. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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