While many 3D printing fans are eagerly awaiting the day when 3D printers can produce electronics like custom prototype printed circuit boards, the idea of 3D PCBs remains more of a gimmick than a fact. A promising new Kickstarter campaign for a 3D electronics printer raised more than 300,000 euros. That is until Kickstarter suspended the campaign as a scam.
In recent years, 3D printing has become all the rage. The ability to print anything from trinkets to writing instruments and cutlery has grabbed the eyes of both technology enthusiasts and beginners alike. Not only is the ability to print something in 3D incredibly impressive, the fact that you can use it almost immediately makes this technology so admirable.
But how do electronics fit into the 3D craze? It turns out that 3D printed prototype circuit boards are still in their infancy and are continuously developing because of the complexity of the process. Not only must the 3D printer be able to conduct electricity, it must also stand up to consistent use. Until they were shut down by Kickstarter, there was only one 3D printer in operation that claimed to be capable of doing this.
So how would circuit boards that are printed via a 3D printer compare to traditional PCBs?
- The 3D process would allow more flexibility for the engineers, meaning they could be a little bit more creative in the assembly process. They would not be restricted to size requirements or circuitry limitations and could work with whatever materials the printer accommodates.
- The products would have a quicker turn around time as manufacturers produce higher quantities easier.
- There would be less risk involved since the engineer could print multiple models before they decide on what one they are going with.
Prototype printed circuit boards
- Prototype PCBs are less expensive to create.
- While they can be more complex, there is also more variety. There are typically three types of printed circuit board construction — single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layered.
- They are easier to learn and are the same all over the world.
While 3D printed circuit boards seem like a great idea, their future looks bleak at this time. For the very best in prototype printed circuit board construction, contact PCB Unlimited today.