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3D Printing and Fabrication of “Smart” Responsive Devices: A Comparative Investigation

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This paper describes methods for the three-dimensional fabrication of smart actuators and responsive devices incorporating functional parts in elastomeric materials. The paper focuses on the fabrication of a bi-stable device which exhibits a dramatic change in shape when subjected to an external pressure load.

Two different fabrication methods are described. In the first method, parts are fabricated by casting the elastomer material in moulds produced by 3D printing. In the second method, parts are fabricated directly by 3D printing in a printable elastomer material. Experimental results are presented for devices fabricated by both methods, comparing their response under a pressure load. The effect of changing part geometry (wall thickness) is also investigated.

In addition, a working device with two-way actuation is demonstrated, in which a pair of shape memory alloy actuators are employed to bring about changes in the device's shape.

Possible applications for such devices include visual and tactile indicators and displays for interactive products. Other areas where they may be employed include robotics and interactive art and design applications.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2009

More about this publication?
  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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