Freeform Deployable Parts with Lattice Skins

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A method for design, solid freeform fabrication (SFF), and deployment of customizable structures with nearly arbitrary surface profiles. The novel feature is a lattice skin mechanism for deploying structures with freeform surface profiles and open, usable, internal space. The research team was able to fabricate large deployable structures using Duraform FLEX material in a selective laser sintering machine with a nominal build chamber

Before fabrication, the lattice sub-skins are added strategically beneath the surface of the part. These lattices provide elastic energy for folding and deploying the structure or constrain expansion upon application of internal air pressure. Nearly arbitrary surface profiles are achievable and internal space is preserved for subsequent usage

Preliminary findings demonstrate the feasibility of a new deployment mechanism utilizing lattice skins to deploy freefrom structures and the potential utility of SFF techniques for the fabrication of such structures.


  • Ability to utilize Arbitrary Surface Profiles for rapidly deploying structures

Market Potential/Applications

Example markets are military applications and structural systems

  • Deployable systems (any need for a lightweight, deployable structures that can be stored in a compact configuration
  • Any system requiring compact transportation and quick, efficient deployment; e.g., small aircraft wing structures, rapid deployment building materials

For further information please contact

University of Texas,
Austin, USA
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