A lantern that self assembles can be easily 3d printed.
Step 1: How It Works
4D printing is when an object is 3D printed that can change its shape or form or assemble itself after it has been printed. Usually heat, vibration, chemicals or some other energy is added to make it change form.
This lantern is 4D printing in its simplest form where the print is lifted and gravity assembles the print to its final form. In this case, it is a lantern that can be collapsed again for easy transport. A flashlight can then be dropped in from the top and its light will be diffused to light up the lantern.
Using this expanding shell technique you can create prints that expand much higher or wider than a 3d printer can normally produce.
Pic 4 shows the internal diffuser which diffuses the flashlight in all directions.
Step 2: Materials
PLA filament-Translucent or clear- Available from: http://www.protoparadigm.com/advanced-ingeo-pla/
Small muli-led flashlight available from Walmart or others.
Fishing line to hang it
Step 3: Designing and Printing Simple 4d Prints
This lantern was designed in 123D design. Starting with a standard hex drawing that was extruded at a two degree taper. A series of such solid blocks were made and sized to fit inside each other. They were then hollowed and aligned.
Clear PLA and a Makerbot Replicator 2 were used to print the lantern.
The settings are as follows:
Infill: 10 per cent
Layer Height: .2mm
Temp: 230 C
Speed Extruding: 90 mm/s
Speed Traveling: 150 mm/s
No raft and no supports. Printed on painters tape
Step 4: Other Possibilities
The step 4 pic shows a simple collapsible robot. It goes from 1 inch collapsed to 7 inches expanded.
There are other techniques such as hinges and sliders that can be used to expand prints in other directions than just the Z axis.
4D printing is still at a very early experimental stage. When printers that can print several different materials at once become more readily available, many amazing self assembling mechanisms will become possible.