3D Printers and Embedded Electronics

In the article “Engineers 3D Print First Fully Functional Drone With Embedded Electronics & Aerospace-Grade Material”( http://www.3dprintpulse.com/?open-article-id=5863467&article-title=engineers-3d-print-first-fully-functional-drone-with-embedded-electronics—aerospace-grade-material&blog-domain=3ders.org&blog-title=3ders)  a recent 3D printing innovation is explored. Normally, embedding electronics in 3D prints is a challenge due to the high temperatures used during the printing process (160C). However, Philip Keane, an NTU PhD candidate, modified and embedded commercial grade electronics at key stages throughout the printing of the drone. The drone design is able to support 60kg of suspended weight, and “stands as the first fully operational quadrocopter to be 3D printed in ULTEM 9085 – a high strength, lightweight FDM material certified for use in commercial aircrafts – all in a single step”. While it does state in the article that the “entire process proved to be meticulous”, it did have a successful ending. In total, printing the drone took 14 hours, with 3 individual pauses to embed the necessary electronic equipment. Now that embedding electronics within 3D prints is an option, what future innovations are coming? Only time will tell.

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