A collaborative team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Beijing Institute of Technology, and Peking University are using 3D printing to directly build reconfigurable origami assemblages that can expand and fold.Better yet, the 3D printing structure also has sufficient bearing capacity and strength for engineering applications.
Many 3D printing structures with unique properties have been inspired by origami to open applications of soft robots and self-folding structures.While most origami structures mean thin sheets being joined together with binding elements like glue, the research team found a way to make several 3D assemblies in one step, without needing to connect smaller parts together.
To build the origami,the team developed a new kind of elastomer that makes it possible to create structures from individual components. The elastic polymer material can be 3D printed at room temperature and set with UV light, which forms a soft, foldable material that can be stretched up to 100%. This material was used for the whole 3D assembly. DLP 3D printing was used to build structures, made up of various combinations of individual units of origami, without requiring any extra assembly steps.