4D printer : Printing self-assembling 3d object!

Everybody knows about 3d printer and of-course it becomes handy tool for innovators ,Students ,Engineers and for designers. 3d printer can build any object in three dimensions, by just slicing it in to possible no. of 2D layers.That is why 3d printing is called additive manufacturing process,because in this process we are adding material rather than cutting or shaping. imagine if your printer has ability to print the 3D object as well as assemble it self!

Introduction of 4D Printer

ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) , the University of Wollongong (UOW) ,MIT researchers,Self-Assembly Lab, Stratasys and Autodesk working on new concept of 4D printer.

4D printing is technology that print multi-material object and produce any mechanism that will transform 1D to 3D shape,2D to 3D shape or morph from one 3D shape into another by using heat, water, light or any other energy input.this technique offers adaptability and dynamic response for structures and systems of all sizes.

Self folding shape|4d printer
self folding structure[1]

transformation over time[2]

Unlike 3D printer, in 4D printer will create 3D structure/object and that can transform in pre-programmed way in response to a stimulus.so we can say it the process that includes transformation over time in 3d object, that is why it's called 4D printing.

Self-Folding Surface Cube[1]

Self-Folding Truncated Octahedron[1]

Currently, ACES researchers are focusing on the medical field and are combining soft robotics and 3D printing technology to build a valve that actuates in response to its surrounding water temperature. ACES researchers claim that they their researchers are the first to combine materials to 3D print a 4D object. Panhuis continues,
The cool thing about it is it’s a working functioning device that you just pick up from the printer. There’s no other assembly required. It’s an autonomous valve, there’s no input necessary other than water; it closes itself when it detects hot water.

So this will more interesting than 3d print, we can build the joints and complex structure that will self assemble in pre-define way over a time.

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  1. Very nice article.But 4D printer is useless until it will fully developed for all structures and design.currently it 4D printing technology is limited to some special purpose applications only.For example self assembling valve ,or some patterns as you shown here.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amazing article. I am so impressed. I think you have a great knowledge especially while dealings with such subjects. Thanks for your publication; wild style. Many thanks sharing your article.