A desktop 3D printer with dual extruders to produce customised electronic circuitry

Butt, Javaid and Onimowo, Dominic A. and Gohrabian, Mohammed and Sharma, Tinku and Shirvani, Hassan (2018) A desktop 3D printer with dual extruders to produce customised electronic circuitry. Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering, 13 (4). pp. 528-534. ISSN 2095-0241

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11465-018-0502-1


3D printing has opened new horizons for the manufacturing industry in general and 3D printers have become the tools for technological advancements. There is a huge divide between the pricing of industrial and desktop 3D printers with the former being on the expensive side capable of producing excellent quality products and latter being on the low-cost side with moderate quality results. However, there is a larger room for improvements and enhancements for the desktop systems as compared to the industrial ones. In this paper, a desktop 3D printer called Prusa Mendel i2 has been modified and integrated with an additional extruder so that the system can work with dual extruders and produce bespoke electronic circuits. The communication between the two extruders has been established by making use of the ICSP (In-Chip Serial Programming) port on the Arduino Uno controlling the printer. The biggest challenge is to control the flow of electric paint (to be dispensed by the new extruder) and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis has been carried out to ascertain the optimal conditions for proper dispensing. The final product is a customised electronic circuit with the base of plastic (from the printer’s extruder) and electronic paint (from the additional extruder) properly dispensed to create a live circuit on a plastic platform. This low-cost enhancement to a desktop 3D printer can provide a new prospect for the production of multiple material parts where the additional extruder can be filled with any material that can be properly dispensed from its nozzle.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: 3D printing, Multiple materials, Electronic Circuits
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Javaid Butt
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2017 10:40
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:56
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/702565

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