This 3D Printed Door Handle Works With No Moving Parts

Interesting Engineering

3D printers have changed the world. They gave us a chance to make many things, designed by ourselves, or the create models of anything we found via the internet. However, who would imagine that we might be printing our own 3D door handle even just 5 years ago? Now we can. We are even able to make our door lock with 3D printed technology, almost for free!

Scientists from The Hasso-Plattner-Institut, incorporated the metamaterial mechanisms to 3D printing technology in creating amazing solutions like this 3D printed door handle and latch system.

3d-print-door-handle1[Image Source: Hasso-Plattner-Institut]

If you are not an engineer, the metamaterial mechanisms can look hard to understand, but basically, the technique works like a chain action. The mechanism developed through artificial dielectrics in microwave engineering right after the World War II,  but now the scientists are adapting the system into the metamaterial objects that perform a mechanical function.

The 3D cell grids perform a mechanical function. They consist of a single block of material which the cells play together in a well-defined way to achieve macroscopic movements. The metamaterial door lock transforms the rotary movement of its handle into a linear motion of the latch.

3d-print-door-handle2[Image Source: Hasso-Plattner-Institut]

How it works

As we can see in the video and the pictures, the door latch is implemented as a metamaterial mechanism. It consists of a single block of material based on a regular grid of cells, which implement a handle, latch, and springs. Turning the handle causes the central hinge array to deform and to pull the latch inwards, which unlocks the door. They created this mechanism in their custom editor. They created two hinge arrays that mechanically couple the handle to the latch and the cells that couple to the doorframe. When you apply a force to the handle, it causes the cells to deform in a controlled pattern and it performs a mechanical movement, unlocking the door.

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You might still prefer to use the classic massive iron lock systems to protect your place, but these innovations show us that it will be possible to have tough and useable locking solutions for our homes that we can print ourselves.

3d-print-door-handle4[Image Source: Hasso-Plattner-Institut]

Shearing cell technology

The door handle system is not the only thing produced by the Hasso-Plattner-Institut. They base most of their projects on a shearing cell technology.

'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.'

3d-print-door-handle3[Image Source: Hasso-Plattner-Institut]

Metamaterial editor

They have implemented a specialized a 3D editor to allow the users to create metamaterial mechanisms properly. The software permits users to create different types of cells, like the shear cells, to allow them to produce mechanically functional objects by themselves.

The mechanisms are pretty interesting, and if you are into implementing this idea, you can check out the research details here and watch the video as well.

SEE ALSO: At Shapeways you design it, they 3D print it, you sell it

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