DragonFly 2020 PCB 3D Printer Flies to First Customer
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on August 25, 2016 |
Nano Dimension has shipped its first DragonFly 2020 PCB 3D printer to an Israeli defense company.

As 3D printing shifts from a prototyping to a manufacturing technology, new processes will be developed for additively manufacturing complex, functional objects. The ability to 3D print electronics, for instance, is just beginning to hit the market via products like Squink, the Voxel8 Developer’s Kit, the V-One and the ElectroUV3D.

Now, a much anticipated electronics 3D printer, the DragonFly 2020 printed circuit board (PCB) 3D printer, has finally made its market debut. After much anticipation, Israel’s Nano Dimension has shipped its first production unit to its first customer.

The DragonFly 2020 is Nano Dimension’s electronics 3D printer. (Image courtesy of Nano Dimension.)
The DragonFly 2020 is Nano Dimension’s electronics 3D printer. (Image courtesy of Nano Dimension.)
While both Squink and the V-One are capable of PCB prototyping, the DragonFly 2020 is a unique technology in that it relies on inkjetting to fabricate both the circuit board and the conductive traces. The photopolymer that makes up the board is engineered with dielectric properties, while Nano Dimension’s AgCite brand of conductive ink is made up of silver particles optimized for conductivity. An LED lamp then cures the photopolymer, and a built-in energy source sinters the conductive ink. 

With these capabilities, the DragonFly 2020 3D printer is able to print multilayer circuit boards with resolution as fine as 2 microns when it comes to depositing photopolymers, which is the highest resolution of any photopolymer jetting system on the market. This is necessary for prototyping the small complex PCBs seen in the electronics industry today. 

As mentioned in a previous ENGINEERING.com interview with Nano Dimension CBO Simon Fried, this opens the printer up to a number of materials and, in the future, some interesting possibilities in terms of flexible circuits and multimaterial 3D printing. 

Nano Dimension did not disclose the name of its first customer but stated that the DragonFly 2020 was delivered to “a leading defense company in Israel for evaluation purposes and is expected to be installed at the partner’s site in the coming days.” 

As Amit Dror, CEO of Nano Dimension, said of the news, “We are proud to have reached this important milestone. Supplying our first system to a beta partner is a tremendous achievement for Nano Dimension and the electronic industry. Nano Dimension set an ambitious goal to develop a revolutionary product that—until now—did not exist in the market based on advanced technology that combines hardware, nanochemistry and software. Today, only two years since our first fundraising and our shares began trading on the TASE, we mark this important milestone of supplying our first system to a beta partner, enabling them to print multilayer electric circuits in several hours. We look forward to completing production of more printers destined for additional partners and customers in Israel and around the world.” 

In the near term, the printer could certainly be used to prototype PCBs, which would allow the company to both keep IP in house and save money that might otherwise have been spent on ordering prototypes from a service provider. In the long term, once Nano Dimension releases new inks, such as an elastomeric photopolymer, it’s possible to imagine the company 3D printing flexible electronics, say, for embedding within body armor.

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