Curved layer fused deposition modeling in conductive polymer additive manufacturing
This paper describes a curved-layer additive manufacturing technology that has the potential to print plastic components with integral conductive polymer electronic circuits. Researchers at AUT University in New Zealand and the National University of Singapore have developed a novel Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process in which the layers of material that make up the part are deposited as curved layers instead of the conventional flat layers. This technology opens up possibilities of building curved plastic parts that have conductive electronic tracks and components printed as an integral part of the plastic component, thereby eliminating printed circuit boards and wiring. It is not possible to do this with existing flat-layer additive manufacturing technologies as the continuity of a circuit could be interrupted between the layers. With curved-layer fused deposition modeling (CLFDM) this problem is removed as continuous filaments in 3 dimensions can be produced, allowing for continuous conductive circuits.