3D printing technology has been taking huge strides over the past few years, and every day we see new and improved 3D printed objects for the world to see. In continuation of that, the Hasso-Plattner-Institut scientists have created a 3D printed door handle that entails metamaterial mechanisms to create a fully function door handle and latch system without any moving parts.
The handle employs a chain action for latching on. The concept was first developed after the WWII through artificial dielectrics in microwave engineering, but now these systems are being integrated into the metamaterial objects to perform a mechanical function.
The 3D cell grids consist of a single block of material and have no moving parts whatsoever. The cells work together in a well-defined fashion to achieve macroscopic movements. The lock then translates the rotary movement of its handle into a linear motion of the latch.
How it works
The door latch uses a metamaterial mechanism, consisting of a single solid body based on a regular grid of cells entailing a handle, latch, and springs. When the handle is turned, the central hinge deforms to pull the latch inwards, unlocking the door in the process. Two hinge arrays mechanically couple the handle to the latch and the cells couple to the doorframe, completing the set. Applying a force to the handle causes the cells to deform in a controlled pattern, and this deformation is then used to unlock the door.
Shearing cell technology
Shearing cell technology is at the heart of this incredible design, and the Hasso-Plattner-Institut has also created loads of other products using the same concept. On their website they explain,
‘The key element behind our metamaterial mechanisms is a specialized type of cell, the only ability of which is to shear. Unlike the rigid cell, this shear cell is designed to deform when a force is applied, more specifically to shear, which allows for controlled directional movement.’
Of course for such innovative technologies, new and state of the art tools are required as well. And for that, the creators used a specialised 3D editor which allows the users to model and test metamaterial mechanisms. Different types of cells, like the shear cells can be created, modelled and tested to enable mechanical functionality without using any moving parts.
If you are more interested, you can check out the research details here. You can also watch the video here.
Have anything else to add to the article above? Let us know in the comments’ section below!