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Published On: Mon, Feb 8th, 2016

3D Printed Electronic Devices

Engineers at Purdue University in the USA, created a 3D printer that allows you to create functional products containing electronics, motorized or mechanical components. Is an experimental robot, a toy, a device based on technologies like Arduino or PIC, or a mouse shaped accurately by hand, pretty much anything is possible.“The toys come out running the printer,” ensures the professor Karthik Ramani.

Revolutionary maker of 3D Printed Electronic Devices

How 3-D conventional printers create objects layer by layer, from the bottom up, it is very difficult to create salient features, like the arms of a robot, for example. These lumps should be built using support structures, which are then removed, wasting time and material.

To include electrical or electronic features, the printer must manufacture individual pieces, which will later be mounted together with the necessary parts and circuits.

Electronics devices directly from 3D printer

A new system allows a 3-D printer to produce functioning products with enclosed electronic and motorized components and customized devices such as a computer mouse molded to a user’s hand. The new system has been demonstrated by creating items with complex shapes, using different colors to show how the segments are printed separately but in a continuous process as the piece is turned and repositioned.(Purdue University image/Wei Gao)

The new system, dubbed RevoMaker, reduces the need for support structures for salient features and still uses a new technique for printing multidirectional that avoids the necessity of retrofitting, since the object is printed around the electronics.

The different parts of the object are initially partitioned digitally and printed around a box containing the electronic, electrical and mechanical components. The box is then placed in a rotary axis, making the printer twice 3D-objects are printed across the back of the box, which serves as a kind of “seed”.

3D Printed Electronic Devices - box

Circuit boxes and batteries are standardized, with the object being printed from them. Photo: Purdue University, Wei Gao

“With a 3-D traditional printer you print to a print cradle plan, and the platform is fixed,” explains professor Raymond Faheemsajjadkhawaja, team member.

“Our strategy is to replace the cradle of printing by a laser cut cuboide which can be rotated around an axis to offer print orthogonal surfaces on each side of the volume. This volume cuboidal is also the space within which the electronics, motors and batteries are embedded before the printing process begins, “explains Faheemsajjadkhawaja.

Personal factory

The plastic boxes can also be produced in the form of flat arrays that could be unfolded and mounted in series, to create a variety of products. But the team is more interested in something closer to the “domestic factories”.

“The idea is that this is more personal than traditional 3D printing works, no mass manufacturing,” Jia noted. “I see objects produced from modules, made for a small number of people. You going to the store’s commercial district, where they print on-demand customized products. ”