A compilation of my favorite hacks from across the Blogs
Friday, April 6, 2012
UAV WING IS 3D PRINTED WITH FUNCTIONAL ELECTRONIC CIRCUITS
Previously, printing 3D objects and embedding them with circuitry were two separate processes.
Stratasys and Optomec, two 3D prototyping and printed electronics companies, recently announced a joint venture in which they combined 3D printing and printed electronics to create what they're calling the world's first full printed hybrid structure--the wing of a UAV model.
The challenge in creating this hybrid structure, as Stratasys's Jeff DeGrange explains, is getting the delicate circuit material to print on a complex shape. Optomec's printing technology allowed them to do that because its print heads actually never touch the surface of the printed object, spraying a "jet" of circuitry over even curved surfaces. Both companies' print processes are additive, like our MakerBot, but with resolution that's much finer and controlled than what a hobbyist can build at home. Being able to print power circuits and antennas directly into the model means using fewer overall materials and a lighter (and more cost effective) final product, the benefits of which perfectly apply to something like UAV design.