3d printing PCB

Discussion in 'Design and Modeling' started by captainkynan, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. captainkynan
    captainkynan New Member
    Curious as to weather it would be possible to combine materials ie. WSF and SS to create a 3D PCB?
    Has anyone else consideres this. It could be used to incorperate the PCB into an enclosure and release product limitations from the dimensions of a flat PCB. View attachment 3d_pcb.bmp
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  2. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    The two processes (WSF/SS) are dissimilar and can't be combined with the current technology at Shapeways.

    Someday.. Someday.. (wistful)
  3. Roy_Stevens
    Roy_Stevens New Member
    Not only that, but SS doesn't solder very well and the electrical resistance is pretty high compared with copper traces. It's a nice idea though, and I'm pretty sure developers are working on printed electrical circuits. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome though.
  4. captainkynan
    captainkynan New Member
    Surely if SS can be printed copper would be viable?
    Maybe a multiple head printer?
  5. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    Do you mean Silver or Steel? The two are vastly different processes.

    Steel is laid down in tiny granules that are then bound together before placing in a kiln to be "melted" together.

    Silver is first printed in wax and run thru a lost-wax casting process.

    Both of these production methods have enough heat that they'd melt WSF.
  6. captainkynan
    captainkynan New Member
    Maybe 2 parts, tracks and body, that clip together.
    Just dreaming...
  7. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    Oh, believe me.. I'm dreaming with you... or would that be called scheming?
  8. Twopounder
    Twopounder New Member
    Laser etching is usually the preferred method for custom PCB creation. A quick google for laser etched pcb will turn up all kinds of info.

    Hope that helps.
  9. captainkynan
    captainkynan New Member
    I was thinking of a PCB that was a part of the design, enclosure, shape; rather than being a component to design around...
    Quick model as an indication... View attachment 3d_pcb_hemisphere.bmp

    This could be on the inside, or snake around complex curves...
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  10. Twopounder
    Twopounder New Member
    I think your bigger problem would be soldering square chips onto round or odd shaped PCBs. Plus most PCB's are multi-layered now days, and that would be really, really hard to do as a sphere.

    It looks like some companies are trying to tackle it though...
  11. aeron203
    aeron203 New Member
    A while ago I was doing some testing using methods to put a metal plating on printed plastic parts, and the method I was using is actually fairly common. By painting any object, even an organic one, with a silver conductive paint, the object becomes conductive enough to apply electroplating.

    By selectively applying the paint to your traces you be able to copper plate them. You'd just have to join the traces with bridges temporarily so they are all connected, then cut the bridges after plating.

    You can buy silver suspension paints on ebay. Here is one that has a whopping 60% concentration: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CONDUCTIVE-SILVER-PAINT-over-60-silv er-LARGE-30-grams-/270793802037?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&ha sh=item3f0c918135

    You can find tutorials for electroplating online. The other ingredients are available locally. The copper chloride is at pool supply stores and sulfuric acid a.k.a. battery acid at auto supply stores (uh...be careful, wear safety equipment etc.). Build up those traces thick enough and you'll be able to solder it. You'll have to do it very quickly to avoid distorting the nearby plastic, so use a very hot soldering iron with a sharp tip. You could make some ok circuits, but using IC's would be pushing it unless you are really good with that stuff and have nice equipment like an ultrasonic soldering iron. LED lighting should be fairly easy.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  12. captainkynan
    captainkynan New Member
    I was thinking more of an entire printed part. If the components are too difficult to fit into compound shapes why not print custom components.
    I'm not trying to achieve a goal I'm just interested in how 3d printing WILL change the way we percieve and create designs.
    If these types of printing techniques are possible...
    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChKwIUhx_ic" target="_blank"></a>
    I think that dreaming of things that are currently impossible is a driving force to make them a reality...
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  13. aeron203
    aeron203 New Member
    I appreciate your dreaming, it may may inspire someone to come up with a way to do it, so more power to you.

    I do think the printing of the components themselves is at the heart of this idea. They do have printed circuits now apparently, but the real jump will be when they can print diodes and transistors to make functional circuits. I can't wait!
  14. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team