3D printing technology developer Nano Dimension is bringing what they are calling the world’s first desktop 3D printer dedicated to producing 3D printed circuit board prototypes. The DragonFly 2020 is being revealed this week at Printed Electronics USA 2015 in Santa Clara, California. The new 3D printer saves prototyping turnaround time by 3D printing customized, fully functional, multilayer PCBs in-house, eliminating the need to modify stock circuit boards or outsourcing their fabrication. The printer is expected to take only a few hours to print the PCBs, and they can be used right away with no additional modifications. They also introduced their line of conductive nano-inks at the show.
While the design and manufacturing industries have been relying on rapid prototyping for years, they were often limited to non-electronic mock-ups unless they made costly and time consuming special orders of custom products or were reduced to converting existing circuit boards. But the ability to rapidly produce working electronic prototypes in house is expected to dramatically alter the industry, reduce prototyping times significantly, save money and ultimately increase the quality of the final product.
Currently, conventionally manufactured multi-layer printed circuit boards are made using a basic subtractive manufacturing process, which requires a laborious process that is often limited to available materials. Being able to product the plastic components of a prototype but still needing to wait weeks for the electronics to be custom made defeats the purpose of rapid prototyping. But Nano Dimension’s new DragonFly 2020 3D printer will produce complete multilayer PCBs including all of the required layer interconnections and through-holes with their cutting-edge inkjet printer and conductive nano-inks.
The DragonFly 2020 offers its users the option of rapid testing and retesting, allowing them the ability to explore a wide variety of circuit board geometries and designs. The process is controlled by proprietary software that uses the industry standard Gerber design files to print precise circuit boards. DragonFly 2020’s three-axis inkjet printing technology offers users the ability to maintain IP sensitivity without sacrificing the ability to rapid prototype, all in a compact desktop design. The circuit boards printed with DragonFly 2020 are also a greener option to standard manufacturing.
“For designers and engineers looking for ultra-rapid prototyping of PCBs, our 3D printer is a significant leap forward. The DragonFly 3D Printer eliminates the frustration they face when they reach the prototyping and testing stage. Moving their work from design to a prototype at an off-site printing facility might take weeks for the PCB to be ordered, produced and shipped. If further iterations are needed, it’s back to the prototyping house for another cycle. In today’s competitive electronics markets, unforeseeable and costly delays during PCB development can significantly slow time-to-market. That’s the development risk and bottleneck that we’re eliminating with the DragonFly 2020,” explained Simon Fried, Chief Marketing Officer at Nano Dimension.
Take a look at this Nano Dimension video about the DragonFly 2020:
In addition to their new printer, Nano Dimension also debuted their new line of conductive silver nanoparticle inks for inkjet deposition called AgCite which work with any inkjet-based 3D printing technology. The AgCite conductive nano-inks are available for sale today, while the DragonFly 2020 is expected to be released later in 2016. In addition to presenting their new technology, Nano Dimension CMO Simon Fried will be presenting a panel titled “What happens when 3D printing and conductive inks converge?” at the Printed Electronics USA conference. Let us know if you have used this new machine in the Dragonfly2020 forum thread on 3DPB.com.