Research Papers: Design for Manufacture and the Life Cycle

Four-Dimensional Printing: Design and Fabrication of Smooth Curved Surface Using Controlled Self-Folding

[+] Author and Article Information
Dongping Deng, Tsz-Ho Kwok

Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial
and Systems Engineering,
University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Yong Chen

Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial
and Systems Engineering,
University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089
e-mail: yongchen@usc.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design for Manufacturing Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received July 18, 2016; final manuscript received May 3, 2017; published online June 22, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Carolyn Seepersad.

J. Mech. Des 139(8), 081702 (Jun 22, 2017) (13 pages) Paper No: MD-16-1511; doi: 10.1115/1.4036996 History: Received July 18, 2016; Revised May 03, 2017

Traditional origami structures fold along predefined hinges, and the neighboring facets of the hinges are folded to transform planar surfaces into three-dimensional (3D) shapes. In this study, we present a new self-folding design and fabrication approach that has no folding hinges and can build 3D structures with smooth curved surfaces. This four-dimensional (4D) printing method uses a thermal-response control mechanism, where a thermo shrink film is used as the active material and a photocurable material is used as the constraint material for the film. When the structure is heated, the two sides of the film will shrink differently due to the distribution of the constraint material on the film. Consequently, the structure will deform over time to a 3D surface that has no folding hinges. By properly designing the coated constraint patterns, the film can be self-folded into different shapes. The relationship between the constraint patterns and their correspondingly self-folded surfaces has been studied in the paper. Our 4D printing method presents a simple approach to quickly fabricate a 3D shell structure with smooth curved surfaces by fabricating a structure with accordingly designed material distribution.

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Fig. 1

An illustration of the principle of self-folding structures with smooth curved surfaces

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Fig. 2

A test case of a self-folding flower. (a) A flower model coated with resin in double-sides and the self-folded object after heating and (b) the simulation results based on a designed constraint pattern.

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Fig. 3

Main steps of the process

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Fig. 4

Folding unit and the four folding parameters: (a) a grid of surface patches, (b) three basic folding types, (c) folding orientation, (d) folding axis, and (e) folding curvature

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Fig. 5

An illustration of mapping a curved surface into a set of folding units: (a) designed model, (b) generated mesh grids, (c) label surface patch using the codes, and (d) make the grid flat

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Fig. 6

Shrinking behavior of the polystyrene film: (a) shrinking behavior of polystyrene film and (b) deformation process of the polystyrene film

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Fig. 7

Folding axis analysis

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Fig. 8

Deformation principle used in simulation and the developed simulation: (a) deformation principle, (b) deformation simulation, (c) design domain, and (d) simulated result

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Fig. 9

An illustration of the constraint patterns (see color figure online)

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Fig. 10

The comparison analysis of a folded model versus a related simulation model

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Fig. 11

Folding performance of one-axis folding using different distributions of materials (see color figure online)

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Fig. 12

Two constraint pattern examples for two base types: (a) one-axis type constraint pattern and (b) dual-axis type constraint pattern

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Fig. 13

Curvature control with the parallel bar pattern

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Fig. 14

Curvature control with the cross shape pattern

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Fig. 15

Curvature control curves

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Fig. 16

The constraint pattern design process: (a) measuring the curvature of each patch cell, (b) deciding the l1, l2 with curvature control curves, and (c) design the constraint pattern

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Fig. 17

A fabrication system based on the MIP-SL process

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Fig. 18

A test case of a bowl

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Fig. 19

A test case of USC letters




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