3D Printing Merged with Printed Electronics
Todd Grimm posted on April 01, 2012 |

Smart wing Stratasys and Optomec Inc. have completed a joint development project to merge 3D printing and printed electronics to create the world’s first fully printed hybrid structure.

The result:  A “smart wing” for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) model with functional electronics, which is a revolutionary event that has the potential to change product development in industries including medical device, consumer electronics, automotive and aerospace.

“Bringing together 3D printing and printed electronic circuitry will be a game changer for design and manufacturing,” says Jeff DeGrange, VP of direct digital manufacturing at Stratasys. “It has the potential to completely streamline production by requiring fewer materials and steps to bring a product to market.”

“Manufacturers can implement this hybrid technology in a multitude of applications, not just in aerospace,” says Optomec’s Ken Vartanian.

An Optomec Aerosol Jet system printed a conformal sensor, antenna and circuitry directly onto the wing of a UAV model, which was 3D printed with the Stratasys Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process.

David Kordonowy, who leads Aurora Flight Sciences’ Aerostructures Research Group, said, “The ability to fabricate functional electronics into complex-shaped structures using additive manufacturing can allow UAVs to be built more quickly, with more customization, potentially closer to the field where they’re needed. All these benefits can lead to efficient, cost-effective fielded vehicles.”

Websites: Stratasys   Optomec

Press release & video

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