PCB 3D printed on Nano Dimension's DragonFly 2020 3D PrinterIf you’ve been following 3D printing news at all, it’s likely you know at least a little bit about the DragonFly 2020 printer. The electronic circuit board printer from Nano Dimension is, according to the company, the first-ever desktop printer designed for printed circuit boards (PCBs), and we’ve been following its progress from the initial announcement of its development to its unveiling at the Printed Electronics USA 2015 and SOLIDWORKS World 2016 conferences. While the printer is not slated for commercial release until toward the end of 2016, Nano Dimension is keeping us interested by revealing more and more about its development. While I feel pretty well-acquainted with the DragonFly 2020, it still continues to surprise me.

One thing I didn’t know about the DragonFly is that it was built – inside and out – in a mere 17 months, by a young woman who had just graduated from college. Lena Kotlar, a 2014 graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, joined Nano Dimension shortly after leaving school and quickly became the company’s R&D Mechanical Manager. Her first achievement? The DragonFly 2020. Kotlar and her team designed the printer at lightning speed compared to the time it takes to develop many 3D printers. Considering the DragonFly’s complexity, not to mention the fact that it’s an unprecedented kind of printer, the speed of its development is even more impressive.

Lena Kotlar with the DragonFly 2020.

Lena Kotlar with the DragonFly 2020.

According to Kotlar, she owes a lot of the speed and success of the DragonFly’s development to SOLIDWORKS software. She and her team relied on a variety of applications from the software giant to design and render the printer before producing it.

“Every bit of the unit — mechanical parts, the housing, wires and cables — was designed with SOLIDWORKS,” Kotlar said. “We used the software’s simulation capabilities to ensure the parts would work correctly together and the unit would function properly while building 3D printed circuit boards.”

solidworks logoThe programs she used included SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Composer and SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. Kotlar’s design took inspiration from nature and the automotive industry – two seemingly disparate areas that she regardless managed to combine into a sleek, streamlined machine. While SOLIDWORKS only recently turned their focus more towards 3D printing, they’ve long been a comprehensive CAD program offering everything needed to design from start to finish.

Some of Kotlar's DragonFly design sketches

Some of Kotlar’s DragonFly design sketches

An official release date has not yet been announced for the DragonFly 2020, but it appears to be getting closer as recent announcements of partnerships with distributors have surfaced. If the massive amounts of industry excitement and investor interest are any indication, the printer is likely to be a huge success upon its release, and Kotlar’s name is likely to become well-known very quickly. Having designed and built one of the most innovative and eagerly anticipated 3D printers to hit the industry – practically as soon as she graduated from college – there’s no telling what else Kotlar may contribute to 3D printing in the future. She is certainly going to be one to watch. What do you think? Lets discuss in the DragonFly 2020 PCB 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.

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