Recently we reported about the Voxel8 3d printer which could print circuitry directly onto any 3d printed object, the response this product has got from the prototyping industry is huge. Looking at the huge potential of this 3d printer even Autodesk the biggest CAD Company in the world has invested money on them. It’s for the first time ever since the birth of electronics that we have been able to merge the production of the casings and the intricate laying of circuits. This means no more need of traditional fabrication methods such as etching-and-soldering which are both time consuming and potentially hazardous to handle. I am sure looking at this immense improvement over traditional methods of production that this 3d printing technology provides there would be many other companies that would be working on the lines of Voxel8.Soon we would see an array of 3d printers that are made specifically for the Electronics industry.
One possible area where the Vortex8 3d print falls short is that it uses a conductive ink rather than a filament. This means that the raw material would be patented and hence expensive. If we really need to see the growth of Electronic 3d Printers we would need better open source conductive filaments that work with most FDM 3d printers.
To cater to the Unimaginable growth in the need to such Conductive Filaments, teams of scientist from A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) have successfully made a Super conductive filament. According to their claims this Filament is 1,000 times more conductive than existing Conductive 3D printer filaments in the market.
This Filament can be used with any Desktop FDM printer and the team has already begun testing it by printing electronic prototypes of LED bulbs, complex three-dimensional circuits and a wearable, flexible sensor.
Dr Johnson Goh, who is leading the group as the Principal Investigator and is currently the Head of the Science and Engineering Research Council’s (SERC) Nanofabrication and Characterization Group, said “I believe this will revolutionize desk-top manufacturing for electronic gadgets.”
While experimenting with the conductive filament the team found out that the resistivity of the newly discovered thermoplastic material is in the range of 0.5-1.0 Wcm. That’s a giant leap when compared to ProtoPlant’s conductive PLA filament which has a resistivity of 15 Wcm and MakerGeeks’ conductive ABS filament has a resistivity of roughly 1,000Wcm.
Dr Kwok Sen Wai, a scientist who worked alongside Goh on the project said “Objects in various colors, shapes and textures complete with functional circuits including wires, resistors and capacitors, could one day be printed in the comfort of one’s home. We believe that our material will encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship as it will empower people to make prototypes more easily and cheaply,”
IMRE is now looking for production partners to mass produce their super conductive filament and soon we would see that available on shelves for purchase. No tentative date of release is available to us however we are eagerly looking at the product development and we would keep you informed as soon as we have any updates.
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