Engineers from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, have successfully printed the first functional electronic device using a standard 3D printer using a new form of plastic which conducts electricity. This development is considered as a significant development in the 3D printing in electronics.
The research team was led by Dr. Simon Leigh at the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. This technology is capable of revolutionizing 3D printing in electronics and production of electronic gadgets all over the world.
The new material is called ‘Carbomorph’ was used to print a traditional computer game remote controller, a mug which knows how full it is and a glove with flexible sensors. Carbomorph is a form of a carbon-rich composite material which is utilized in existing 3D printers for printing electronic circuits, and other electronic custom 3D printed parts.
Carbomorph is a high carbon-dense plastic and can help in printing electronic products using existing dual head 3D printers. This advancement in 3D printing in electronics enables us to print circuit boards, contacts, buttons, tracks and every part and component of the desired electronic product.
Using carbomorph along with regular plastic and a multi-head 3D printer have the potential of printing a wide array of innards of electronic items such as remote controls and mobile phones in a single go. Traditionally, the interior workings and the exterior portion of electronic devices are manufactured separately.
Earlier, attempts have been made to create intricated and sophisticated electronic devices such as a television remote control or a mobile phone using rapid prototyping services, however, they were non-functional. However, using carbomorph, the team from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick have finally created a functional electronic item using 3D printing.
The Next Step in 3D printing in Electronics
The next obvious step is to print much more complicated electronic items like cables which connect devices. With further development, this can revolutionize the manufacturing process all over the world. It will be easier to manufacture personalised electronic products, produce custom 3d printed parts and reduce electronic waste.
Designers can also utilise this technology to understand better how people communicate and interact with different products by monitoring the sensors embedded within these 3D printed products.
This development has an extensive scope across sectors ranging from manufacturing to education. It gives consumers the power to develop electronic products fully customizable to suit their style and personality with a single visit to a 3D print service in Australia.