This is excellent! Ever since the advent of 3D printing I’ve been waiting for the day when 3D printed electronics would emerge. This looks like a major step towards that.
I wonder what conductivity/resistivity of the traces is. Just from the images it looks like the same silver-based “conductive ink” you can get at Radio Shack.
55 Ohms/square @ 50 micron thickness…
Not copper, but not too bad.
I just wonder how sustainable this is as a widely adopted manufacturing method. Silver is expensive and non-renewable. I’ve personally been trying to play with homemade conductive inks for shits and giggles, but really in the hope that I’ll come up with something less expensive. According to this 2012 UN publication, only about 15% of metals used in electronics is recovered. I have high hopes for graphene and other carbon technologies, but I don’t know when they will be available.
They say that the main ingredients are bio-degradable and you can request an MSDS at email@example.com. Since it is black, and not real high conductance, I wouldn’t be surprised if the conductor was carbon based.
I’d wager the biodegradability comes from the cellulose binder which comprises the bulk of the material. Silver-based conductive inks are black and offer the best conductivity. Graphite inks are inherently resistive, which can be fine, but you’re not going to print a motherboard with that.
Between subtractive manufactering, and additive manufacturing, people seem to glom onto the additive like it’s the Next Big Thing… yet for many projects, subtractive manufacturing is totally the way to go. I’m very skeptical that this product could ever outperform a CNC router removing copper cladding from a board. I’d love to be proven wrong with a clever hack, but this method has a ways to go to prove itself.
The Rabbit Proto will lead the way to more integrated 3d printing. According comment on this article: http://3dprint.com/2674/rabbit-proto-3d-printed-integrated-circuitry/
They have plans to create a finer printing device for the next generation.
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