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  3D Printing: The Future Of PCBs
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3D Printing: The Future Of PCBs
printed circuit boardOver the last few years, 3D printing has been made possible and available to the public thanks to printed circuit boards. Presently, scientists and engineers are now working on ways to get 3D printers to print out PCBs. This task has been in the works for nearly a decade, and while many PCB 3D printers have been created, they have yet to be perfected.

PCBs and 3D Printing

printed circuit boardPerfectly fabricated PCBs have yet to be 3D printed, but it isn’t from a lack of trying. In fact, scientists and engineers have been attempting to perfect their prototypes for years, to no avail. This is because creating a 3D printer capable of such ingenuity is extremely difficult to master, and is in need of more modern technological advances. In order to create such a printer, new types of inks need to be invented first and foremost, as PCBs are in need of conductive traces.

3D Printers

There are undoubtedly a large amount of 3D printers capable of printing conductive ink. However, these offer low-resolution, and have only managed to create a platform suitable for hobbyist electronics opposed to professional use. In order for 3D printers to intrigue professionals, they need to offer higher-resolution and conductivity. For this to occur there needs to be a substantial advancement in printing solutions and materials.

printed circuit boardWhile there are conductive circuit printers systems available to the public, these can only print single or double-sided substrates. However, the types of PCBs created by these printers are very different than the ones expected from 3D printers. This is because 3D printers can potentially build a PCB on a substrate that holds various layers of materials, thus engineering a multi-layer, interconnected, 3D version of a
printed circuit board.

Materials Needed For Advancement

● New and improved systems of PCB design

● Nanoparticle engineered specialty inks

● Highly intelligent software that can effortlessly convert PCB Gerber 2D files to printable 3D files

Having these materials engineered and perfected would allow for:

● 3D printers to print the proper dimensions of substrates.

● 3D printers to leave and fill holes required for vias and other components

● 3D printers to print PCBs of valid resolution and conductivity

The Future of 3D Printers

printed circuit boardSince there are many obvious benefits to being able to print 3D PCBs, there are industries that are eager to purchase the new age technology. Once created, manufacturers would directly benefit from 3D printing electronics because it would cut their production time by a sizeable amount. It would also speed up their prototyping process, thus lowering their developmental costs amongst many other benefits. However, it might be a while before they are able to do so, as PCB 3D printers have yet to be perfected.
 
   
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