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3D Printable Circuits

Discussion in 'Concepts and Ideas' started by The Dude, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. The Dude

    The Dude Veteran
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    I saw a research paper that showed how to make a filament for 3D printers that is electrically conductive enough to make circuits. I haven't found anyone who makes this filament for sale, it's pretty much DIY and uses some nasty, hard-to-get chemicals. I'd really like to experiment with this and see if it's possible to make SMT chips snap into place or be connected in place by this material. Any thoughts? Ideas?
     
  2. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Maybe you could incorporate one of these conductive makers to draw on the foundation print (1-2mm high with component holes and holders) then print over top of that to finish off a sandwiched circuit. I would think you could do multiple layers this way maybe with alignment holes that allow you to stack it once its complete. This way you could add connection points if needed. Just an idea :)
    http://www.bareconductive.com/
     
  3. The Dude

    The Dude Veteran
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    You'd need some way to dispense the paint. Is it just me or is that just black carbon? I mean do we really need to be paying premium prices for this stuff? I could imagine if it was silver or gold, I dunno.
     
  4. The Dude

    The Dude Veteran
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    Found one http://makergeeks.com/co3dfi.html
    Apparently it's not the carbomorph filament which is what I'm looking for. Carbomorph has a resistivity of 0.09±0.01 ohm/m

    The makergeeks "conductive" plastic has 104 ohm/cm (10,000 ohm/m) and every other "conductive" filament on the market is the same resistivity. sigh.
     
    #4 The Dude, Jan 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  5. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    I think its a paint marker, so you might be able to simply make a mount for it
     
  6. The Dude

    The Dude Veteran
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    OIC, well since I'm going to make the routy an inkplotter to get it tested and trued, I'll just make a decent mount for the pens and swap it out with a conductive ink/paint pen when I print circuits. I'll try to keep you updated when I do it but it may be a while before I get to the circuit cause I have a million other cnc things to do first.
     
  7. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
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    Very cool, looking forward to seeing how well the pen works.
     
  8. Public Do Omens

    Guest Builder

    I will be using a home made composite of copper sheet on a carbon fibre surface.
    This sheet will then be cut with a CNC milling machine to cut the gaps between the tracks.

    Only cutting between tracks. i.e. the opposite of printing the lines.
    This way when i use a 30-200 amp circuit i will not have issues with power ratings.
    Most off the surface will remain copper!

    My Guardian Angel drone project will have the body & circuit built as one.

    No cables at all.

    8 EDF engines and 2 hour flight time.
    30 mile radius flight area.
    Sat communications system.
    Carrying KALI Linux payload.
    Direct Laser communications for close range.
    Laser system also used in swarm mode between drones to relay information on.

    This cannot be jammed in flight from the ground as WiFi systems can.
    It is autonomous with a few CPU's on board doing the workload.

    OK an EMP will take it out, but i am working on shielding for this.
    Faraday cage.

    Another project by interconnect.me.uk
     
    #8 Public Do Omens, Jan 19, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2014
  9. Frank G Haymes

    Frank G Haymes Well-Known
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    I think that carbon fiber is conductive. You might need to check that before you start making PCBs.
     
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  10. Public Do Omens

    Guest Builder

    That's fine it is a multi-layer, i am using a non-conductive bonding.
    Good point I forgot that part in my spiel.

    http://www.oribimanufacturing.com/productinformation/carbonfibervsfiberglass.html

    Advantages of Carbon Fiber

    Carbon fiber composites stands out from the crowd for several reasons. Here are a few:

    • Lightweight – carbon fiber is a low density material with a very high strength to weight ratio
    • High tensile strength – one of the strongest of all commercial reinforcing fibers when it comes to tension, carbon fiber is very difficult to stretch or bend
    • Low thermal expansion – carbon fiber will expand or contract much less in hot or cold conditions than materials like steel and aluminum
    • Exceptional durability – carbon fiber has superior fatigue properties compared to metal, meaning components made of carbon fiber won’t wear out as quickly under the stress of constant use
    • Corrosion-resistance – when made with the appropriate resins, carbon fiber is one of the most corrosion-resistant materials available
    • Radiolucence – carbon fiber is transparent to radiation and invisible in x-rays, making it valuable for usage in medical equipment and facilities
    • Electrical conductivity – carbon fiber composites are an excellent conductor of electricity
    • Ultra-violet resistant – carbon fiber can be UV resistant with use of the proper resins
    Disadvantages

    • Carbon fiber will break or shatter when it’s compressed, pushed beyond its strength capabilities or exposed to high impact. It will crack if hit by a hammer. Machining and holes can also create weak areas that may increase its likelihood of breaking.
    • Relative cost – carbon fiber is a high quality material with a price to match. While prices have dropped significantly in the past five years, demand has not increased enough to increase the supply substantially. As a result, prices will likely remain the same for the near future.
     
    #10 Public Do Omens, Jan 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2014
  11. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    I must admit to being fascinated by the suggestion of using carbon fibre sheet or aluminium as the substrate for surface mount printed circuit boards which in turn form part of the airframe, in particular for tri / quad copters etc.


    Obviously there would need to be an insulation layer of known dielectric strength between the copper foil and the conductive substrate - kapton comes to mind and this is how I would envisage the process…


    The copper foil is fist bonded to the kapton film using a high temperature adhesive (there are a number of different trade names) of the type used to bond heat sinks to IC’s. Then the mirrored circuit (printed using toner) could be ironed onto the copper foil which is subsequently etched. An alternative here would be to laser bond the toner powder circuit directly to the copper foil then etch. The resultant film circuit is then bonded to the carbon fibre or aluminium substrate, again using the high temperature adhesive and hey-presto we then have an electronic circuit which will form part of the airframe. Once the circuit has been assembled and tested it would probably be wise to spray the entire surface with an epoxy or other suitable protective / insulation layer.


    Cant wait to give it a try. :)


    Tweakie.
     
  12. The Dude

    The Dude Veteran
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    You could use elmer's glue and bond carbon-fiber to plastic and then copper on top of the plastic. Etch the copper. Honestly, carbon fiber is a really expensive substrate. I mean people are using paper which is probably lighter but not as strong but strength is useless cause you have all these parts on it that are totally weak like resistors, chips, diodes, etc.

    Anyway, yeah I bet I can find an EMP that will overload your faraday cage... just sayin...
     
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  13. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Just a thought but I think you may need to place some carbon fibre into ferric chloride (or other etchant) and see just what happens. :)

    Tweakie.
     
  14. The Dude

    The Dude Veteran
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    Does it explode? U know kids are reading this and they don't understand what might happen...
     
  15. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    No, it will not explode. The point is that I do not know how the carbon strands, exposed at the edges of the material, will react with an etchant that is why it needs to tried.

    Tweakie.

    Addition; Please don't let kids play / experiment with ferric chloride or any other potentially dangerous chemicals.
     
    #15 Tweakie, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014

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