Printing Embedded Circuits

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Periard, Daniel
Malone, Evan
Lipson, Hod

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Automated manufacturing technologies such as freeform fabrication can greatly reduce the cost and complexity of infrastructure required to manufacture unique devices or invent new technologies. Multi-material freeform fabrication processes under development have the potential to automatically build complete functional devices including electronics. Making this technology available to creative individuals will revolutionize art and invention, but requires extensive simplification and cost reduction of what is still a laboratory technology. The combination of a Fab@Home Model 1 personal fabrication system and commercially available materials allows the demonstration of simple and inexpensive freeform fabrication of functional embedded electrical circuits, and useful devices. Using this approach, we have been able to demonstrate an LED flashlight, functional printed circuit boards in 2-dimensions and 3- dimensions that are actually entirely printed, and a child’s toy with embedded circuitry. These results, and the materials and methods involved in producing them will be presented in detail.


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