3D Printed Circuit Board
Learn all about 3D Printed Circuit Board. What is 3D PCB and How 3D Printer Print Circuit on Board.
A 3D Printed Circuit Board Doesn’t means that the Board itself is 3D (Three-Dimensional). It just means that the Circuits are Printed on the Board with a 3D Printer rather than conventional method of etching copper tracks on the substrate.
Let us understand in some detail.
What is 3D Printed Circuit Board?
There are 2D inkjet printing machines that can print conductive tracks on evenly flat PCB Material. But with technological advancement and need for more flexible circuitry, there is need for a Printing Technique that can Print not only on Even Surface but also on Uneven Surface on even on the Product itself. And here comes 3D Printed Circuit Board.
So, a 3D PCB is a Board on which the Circuits are Printed using a 3D Inkjet Printer that uses a Conductive Material or Gel as Ink.
How is Circuits Printed on a PCB with 3D Inkjet Printer?
3D Inkjet Printer uses a Conductive material or Gel. The printer uses an extruder head to print the desired circuit. Circuit can be printed on a flat PCB board or the Base PCB Material of any other shape. It is similar to using a Conductive Pen that we use to Repair Circuit Boards when some Track is broken.
There are 2 Types of such Printers:
- Filament-based printer
- Conductive ink-based printers
However, both 2D and 3D Printing of Circuits needs more R&D. Several Printed Circuit Board Manufacturers around the world are involved in the Research work.
The present PCB Manufacturing Process is not going to get extinct anytime soon. It will take quite some time for 3D Printing Technique to Replace the Present Technologies.
Video: A 3D Printer in Action
What are advantages of 3D Printed Circuit Boards?
Well the traditional PCB Prototype Process is Time consuming. 3D printing can help in fast prototype without going through all the complex steps and dealing with all kinds of chemicals necessary.
3D-printed prototypes helps optimize the PCB Design Process and avoid design flaws at the early stages. This eliminates costly rework process.
What Type of PCB can be Manufactured using the 3D Technology?
Well, printing on a Single Sided PCB or Double Sided PCB. Printing on a Flex PCB is easy with a 3D Printer. Printing a Multilayer PCB is little complex but with Printed Circuit Board Design Software, it is not as difficult as it sounds.
Printing on a SMT PCB is much easier as compared to thru-hole.
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