Visual Design and Engineering Laboratory

Carnegie Mellon University

4DMesh: 4D Printing Morphing Non-Developable Mesh Surfaces


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We present 4DMesh, a method of combining shrinking and bending thermoplastic actuators with customized geometric algorithms to 4D print and morph centimeter- to meter-sized functional non-developable surfaces. We will share two end- to-end inverse design algorithms. With our tools, users can input CAD models of target surfaces and produce respective printable files. The flat sheet printed can morph into target surfaces when triggered by heat. This system saves shipping and packaging costs, in addition to enabling customizability for the design of relatively large non-developable structures. We designed a few functional artifacts to leverage the advantage of non-developable surfaces for their unique functionalities in aesthetics, mechanical strength, geometric ergonomics and other functionalities. In addition, we demonstrated how this technique can potentially be adapted to customize molds for industrial parts (e.g., car, boat, etc.) in the future.


4DMesh: 4D Printing Morphing Non-Developable Mesh Surfaces. (2018). Guanyun Wang, Humphrey Yang, Zeyu Yan, Nurcan Gecer Ulu, Ye Tao, Jianzhe Gu, Levent Burak Kara, Lining Yao. 31th ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST 2018)

 author = {Wang, Guanyun and Yang, Humphrey and Yan, Zeyu and Gecer Ulu, Nurcan and Tao, Ye and Gu, Jianzhe and Kara, Levent Burak and Yao, Lining},  title = {4DMesh: 4D Printing Morphing Non-Developable Mesh Surfaces},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 31st Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology},
 series = {UIST '18},
 year = {2018},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-5948-1},
 location = {Berlin, Germany},
 pages = {623--635},
 numpages = {13},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/3242587.3242625},
 acmid = {3242625},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {3d printing, 4d printing, mesh surface, morphing, non-developable surface, self-assembly, self-folding, shape changing interfaces},