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Hardware Technology

3D-Printed Circuit Boards, For Solder-Free Printable Electronics 106

An anonymous reader writes "Check out the latest success of the OpenSCAD 3d-printed electronics library. To use it, you just need a 3D printer and some conductive thread. OpenSCAD generates a component holder, and conductive thread wraps it all together — no solder, no etching chemicals, no sending out for anything. The instructable takes you through all the steps from schematic to circuit, and includes a more useful example: the fully printed LED flashlight."
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3D-Printed Circuit Boards, For Solder-Free Printable Electronics

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  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @10:24AM (#39907797)

    I might, and I'll be able to pretty soon, from the looks of things.

  • by firex726 ( 1188453 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @10:46AM (#39907935)

    Could they in effect print or incorporate certain components inside the PCB board?

    SMD resistors are pretty small, and if they were embedded it would free up more surface area for larger components and reduce overall size.

  • Re:Clunky is right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @10:55AM (#39907981)

    Meh, I make SMD boards simply with some copper clad board, a laser printer, and some home made etchant (cupric chloride). I either hand solder or use a hotplate with solder paste.

    Takes about 30 minutes from printing the circuit to finished product. Costs about $1 not including the parts I solder on and I have a high quality physically small product.

  • by swalve ( 1980968 ) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @11:09AM (#39908057)
    You could probably do multi-plane boards with less trouble, not having to have the through holes go all the way through the board, just to connect the two planes. You could probably make multiple planes that are just resistors, or even capacitors, printed onto the substrate. They already do a lot of this stuff, I've seen boards with zig-zaggy areas that certainly appear to be resistors (not the zig zags that keep the interconnects the same length, but at right angles to each other and wrapping back onto themselves). Possibly even small transformers?

    On the other hand, "conductive thread" doesn't really sound like it is going to conduct much current, so you'd probably have to have a machine that can actually print metal.

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