Team adds spark to 3D printing technology

Published: November 26, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Machinery Design
Companies & Associations

COVENTRY, ENGLAND (Nov. 26, 10:50 a.m. ET) — Scientists at the University of Warwick are developing materials which could one day allow people to print out custom-designed personal electronics such as games controllers.

The researchers have created an inexpensive conductive plastic composite that can be used to produce electronic devices using the latest generation of low-cost 3D printers.

The material, nicknamed “carbomorph,” enables users to lay down electronic tracks and sensors as part of a 3D printed structure – allowing the printer to create touch-sensitive areas for example, which can then be connected to a simple electronic circuit board.

So far the team has used the material to print objects with embedded flex sensors or with touch-sensitive buttons. The next step is to work on printing more complex structures and electronic components including wires and cables.

The research was led by Simon Leigh in the department of dngineering at the University of Warwick in Coventry, who said: “It’s always great seeing the complex and intricate models of devices such as mobile phones or television remote controls that can be produced with 3D printing, but that’s it, they are invariably models that don’t really function.

“We set about trying to find a way in which we could actually print out a functioning electronic device from a 3D printer.

“In the long term, this technology could revolutionalize the way we produce the world around us, making products such as personal electronics a lot more individualized and unique and in the process reducing electronic waste.

“Designers could also use it to understand better how people tactilely interact with products by monitoring sensors embedded into objects.

“However, in the short term I can see this technology having a major impact in the educational sector for example, allowing the next generation of young engineers to get hands-on experience of using advanced manufacturing technology to design fairly high-tech devices and products right there in the classroom.”

The printed sensors can be monitored using existing open-source electronics and freely available programming libraries, he added.

This research is detailed in the study, A simple, low-cost conductive composite material for 3D printing of electronic sensors, published in the open-access journal Plos One.


Comments

Team adds spark to 3D printing technology

Published: November 26, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Milacron restructuring Uniloy manufacturing in Europe

April 17, 2015 2:16 pm ET

Milacron LLC plans to consolidate manufacturing of Uniloy blow molding equipment in Europe into its new facility in the Czech Republic city of...    More

Image

Reifenhäuser acquires German spinneret company Enka Tecnica

April 17, 2015 9:31 am ET

Germany-based Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. KG, a major manufacturer of extrusion equipment, has announced that it is acquiring Enka Tecnica GmbH, a German ...    More

Image

Madison buys Ferry Industries

April 16, 2015 5:22 pm ET

Ferry Industries, the largest manufacturer of rotational molding machinery, was purchased by Madison Industries, a Chicago holding company that is...    More

Image

Uway beginning US extruder production June 1 in Ohio

April 15, 2015 3:28 pm ET

Uway Extrusion LLC, a 4-year-old company that builds extruders in China using components from the United States and Europe, will begin U.S....    More

Image

Rajoo eyes South American growth along with global JVs

April 14, 2015 10:52 am ET

Rajoo Engineers Ltd. is one of India's more diverse plastics machinery companies, manufacturing equipment for blown film, pipes, thermoforming, sheet ...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events