4D Printing: Make a Collapsible Lantern




Introduction: 4D Printing: Make a Collapsible Lantern

About: I believe that the purpose of life is to learn how to do our best and not give in to the weaker way.

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
Shells: 2
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.

Other Techniques
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.

Design Now: 3D Design Contest 2016

Participated in the
Design Now: 3D Design Contest 2016

Make it Glow Contest 2016

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2016

Epilog Contest 8

Participated in the
Epilog Contest 8

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    5 years ago

    This is really good! You could enter this into the make it glow, arduino, and the 3D printing contests.