Getting rid of the wires: Curved Layer Fused Deposition Modeling in Conductive Polymer Additive Manufacturing

Diegel, O
Singamneni, S
Huang, B
Gibson, I
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Trans Tech Publications

This paper describes an additive manufacturing technology that has the potential to print plastic components with integral conductive polymer electronic circuits. This could have a major impact in the fields of robotics and mechatronics as it has the potential to allow large wiring looms, often an issue with complex robotic systems, to be printed as an integral part of the products plastic shell. This paper describes the development of 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 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.

Curved Layer Fused Deposition Modeling , Conductive 3D printing , Additive Manufacturing
International Conference on Materials,Mechatronics and Automation (ICMMA 2011), Melbourne, Australia
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Authors retain the right to place his/her pre-publication version of the work on a personal website or institutional repository on condition that there is a link to the definitive version on the Trans Tech Publications web site.