New 3D Printers Focus on Functional Circuit Boards

Posted on Dec 10, 2013 in Create | No Comments
New 3D Printers Focus on Functional Circuit Boards

3D printers have steadily become one of the decade’s greatest technological advances. In 2011, Wired Magazine predicted that in two years’ time, 3D printers would be capable of printing electronic circuits – exactly two years later, the EX1 3D circuit board printer has landed.

Image: Objet1000 3D Printer

Objet_1000

[Photo credit: Objet]

The first 3D printers were developed in the 90’s, printing tiny molds of basic shapes. Fast forward to the 3D beasts of today, like the Objet1000 pictured above, and it’s clear a couple of decades have completely changed the 3D printing landscape. The Objet1000, and printers like it, excel at the big jobs – ultra high-res large-scale 3D masterpieces. Additionally, many 3D printer manufacturers are now specializing in printing advanced objects and systems. And that queues in the truly revolutionary EX1.

Image: Circuit Board

Circuit_Board

[Photo credit: Creative Commons]

The EX1 3D printer, developed by Cartesian Co., allows users to print fully functional electronic circuit boards on paper. The link above connects to their Kickstarter campaign, which has currently blown to bits the original target of $30k (they’ve now raised over $128k with two weeks to go.)

Image: The EX1 3D Printer

EX1_3D_Printer

[Photo credit: Cartesian Co.]

The EX1 isn’t a behemoth, as you can see above; it’s stylistically attractive too. These folks aren’t the first to create a 3D circuit board printer, but what they’re doing right is making them affordable to the masses. If you get in on the Kickstarter action, you can pick up one of these gems for around $899 – retail once launched will likely be $1,999.

Image: Functional Circuit Board

Functional_Circuit_Board

[Photo credit: Cartesian Co.]

The EX1 literally takes nano particles and layers them onto paper (or any other usable surface) through an inkjet printing process. Printing involves the layering of two separate chemicals, and happens remarkably fast. The software that accompanies any EX1 printer allows images to be imported and printed, including presets and tools aimed to make the process insanely easy – even for those who aren’t yet tech geniuses. You don’t need to be a CAD master to create your own circuit board. 3D printing is indeed all-grown-up.

Are you in the market for a 3D printer? Would you buy one that prints actual circuit boards? Let us know what you think of these new printing technologies!

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