3D-Printed Semi-Soft Mechanisms Inspired by Origami Twisted Tower
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This paper presents a novel modeling and fabrication technique of semi-soft mechanisms inspired by the origami twisted tower. The twisted tower is a modular origami structure consisting of multiple octagon-shaped layers. This structure can generate linear contraction, extension, and bending. A special geometric construct of this design allows each layer to fully collapse by twisting π/4°. Inspired by this unique feature, the design was further diversified to use any regular polygon with m sides, where m ≥ 3 and resulting maximum twisting within a single layer is 2π/m. This design diversification broadens potential applications of this mechanism. Such complex origami designs, however, faces one fundamental problem, i.e. manufacturability. There is no current manufacturing technique available for automating complex sequences of paper folding and assembling. To address this challenge, the twisted tower design was converted into a 3D printable model. 2-layer towers based on a triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, and octagon were printed using the PolyJet™ 3D printing technology. For the octagon-based design, an additional 10-layer tower was printed to demonstrate the range of motions preserved from the hand-folded origami tower.
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