4D Printer Combines Four 3D Printing Technologies to Make Shapeshifting Electronic Components

While studies are still being done on what the 3D printer can do ad 4D printer is already making itself known.

Scientists from both the Singapore University of Technology and Georgia Institute of Technology have created a 4D printer that allows for objects that can change shape.
Using heat the 4D objects can be changed into various shapes. This technology will be priceless to the aerospace and medical industries.

How Does It Work?

4D printing takes 3D objects expose them to heat, humidity, and light creating different shapes. 4D printing is still a challenge as it is more complex than the 3D printer. It takes more time to mechanically program each piece. Plus many printers can only print 4D objects in one material.

Researchers state that we are on the edge of a new generation of devices that could change both 3D and 4D applications. The prototype uses features that seem to expedite and simplify the processes that are used in 3D printers. This sets the stage for many 4D objects that could possibly reshape the world.

Flowers that could open and close its pedals are just one thing that the scientists used a composite with a commercial printer along with heat to create.

Each process becomes easier to recreate. Objects transform faster when the scientists programmed a 3D printer with the tedious steps. They used this as a step in creating an all-in-one 4D printer.

Combination of Different Techniques

The 4D printer uses four printing techniques. These are;

1. Aerosol,
2. Inkjet,
3. Direct ink write and,
4. Fused deposition modeling.

The most common substance used in 4D printing is shape memory polymers. The SMPs are easily programmed to remember a shape and to transform it when using heat.

A range of white, grey, or black is what alters the behavior of the object. A brighter shade causes the part to be harder while a softer part is created using a darker shade.

There is a team of scientists that are working with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to see if 4D printing could be used to print prosthetic hands. The hands are used for children who have malformed arms when born.

4D technology picks up where 3D technology ends.