HotFlex: Post-print Customization of 3D Prints Using Embedded State Change

Daniel Groeger, Elena Chong Loo, Jürgen Steimle

Max Planck Institute for Informatics
Embodied Interaction Group

Project Overview

While 3D printing offers great design flexibility before an object is printed, it is very hard for end-users to customize a 3D-printed object to their specific needs after it is printed. We propose HotFlex: a new approach allowing precisely located parts of a 3D object to transition on demand from a solid into a deformable state and back. This approach enables intuitive hands-on remodeling, personalization, and customization of a 3D object after it is printed. We introduce the approach and present an implementation based on computer-controlled printed heating elements that are embedded within the 3D object. We present a set of functional patterns that act as building blocks and enable various forms of hands-on customization. Furthermore, we demonstrate how to integrate sensing of user input and visual output. A series of technical experiments and various application examples demonstrate the practical feasibility of the approach.
My task involved creating proof-of-concepts and designing experiments for every primitive, pattern, and application described in our paper.

Figure 1. Application examples. a) An interactive shape-changeable bracelet. b) Interactive sealable treasure box with embedded TFEL display. c) Ergonomically customizable mouse: cutaway rendering and prototype after customization (cover removed to reveal deformation).

Figure 2. Inkjet-printed heating strip.

Figure 3. Inkjet-printed heating strip temperature test.

Figure 4. Hardware used to control heating strip.

Daniel Groeger, Elena Chong Loo, Jürgen Steimle. "HotFlex: Post-print Customization of 3D Prints Using Embedded State Change". Proceedings of the 2016 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, San Jose, California, USA, May 7-12, 2016. CHI 2016 Honorable Mention Award (Top 4%). [PDF]