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Additive Manufacturing and 3D-Printing Why Additive Manufacturing and 3D-Printing May Also be the Key to Future Electronics Design

Author / Editor: Simon Fried * / Dr. Anna-Lena Gutberlet

Electronics manufacturing is in the throes of a quiet transformation built around specialty 3D printers and advanced materials working together to create fully functional electronic parts.

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Fig. 1: 3D printed 2-layer Arduino Board printed on the DragonFly 2020 3D Printer
Fig. 1: 3D printed 2-layer Arduino Board printed on the DragonFly 2020 3D Printer
(Source: Nano Dimension)

Breakthroughs in additive manufacturing today include using specialty 3D printers to build functional electronics. It’s somewhat of a novelty, but its promise has wide-reaching implications for some of the world's largest industries. Advances already being made around these specialty 3D printers will lead us to new capabilities and radically altered design and production processes. Developments on the horizon include faster printing speeds, higher resolution printing, and increased printing sizes and capabilities for incorporating multiple types of materials – including the ability to use multiple materials while printing a single object.

Innovation Within an Innovative Field

Already, 3D printers for printed electronics are being deployed for printed circuit board (PCB) prototyping and development. With the printers, manufacturers and designers can protect their intellectual property and enjoy faster times to market because they no longer need to use outside outsourcing facilities; product development costs are lowered because designs can be modified and reprinted on the fly; and design flexibility and quality are vastly improved.