Science and technology are areas of study where one tiny spark can ignite the flame of innovation, especially when bright minds are working together. Frustration and need are also great motivators. The genius of the Functionalize F-Electric filament came about just that way, as Seattle scientist and entrepreneur Mike Toutonghi was working on a science fair project with his son, where he encountered some frustrating — and inspiring — challenges.
Mike Toutonghi’s 50th birthday was an auspicious day, in retrospect, as it was the day he became inspired to take the journey in creating what would become Functionalize F-Electric, an exponentially more electrically conductive 3D printing filament, which allows ‘makers’ to 3D print electrical components directly into models and prototypes produced from 3D PLA capable printers.
As he was working with his son on an electromagnetic propulsion project for his school’s science fair, Toutonghi began employing his 3D printer in the exploration of printing conductive circuits. He tried combining structural plastic and conductive circuits to no avail, but the idea for creating conductive material grew from there, and developed into an obsession as he began working with graphene, metal, and plastic nano composites.
Several years later, and now with a complete nanotechnology lab built into his own home, Toutonghi has created Functionalize F-Electric: a 3D printing filament that is one thousand times more conductive than any other. With a Kickstarter campaign starting November 10, Functionalize has 30 days to raise $100,000 to set up a production facility for Functionalize F-Electric.
Functionalize F-Electric, patent pending, will allow you to 3D print:
- Circuit wires
- Power connectors
- Other electrical components inside projects printed from 3D PLA capable printers
“Imagine a world where you can 3D print a drone, your next cell phone, an Internet of Things device, or the latest wearable electronics as fully functional devices, complete with circuits and electrical components,” said Mike Toutonghi, Functionalize’s chief scientist. “That’s where we’re going, and our F-Electric filament is a major step forward in making this a reality. Using our nanomaterials and processes, we’ll have the chance to invent all sorts of new, functional materials that makers need to launch their designs and prototypes.”
Functionalize’s 3D filament takes 3D printing to the next level, eliminating extra steps in manufacturing when 3D printing electrical devices. With the all-in-one process allowed by the super conductive filament, motors, components, and chips can be placed precisely where they belong during the 3D printing process, allowing for a streamlined structural and creative approach to building electronics.
“Functionalize is opening a whole new frontier for 3D printing that will change the way we Makers make,” said Matt Johnson, program director at intentional3D, Inc. “By allowing electrical circuits to be part of the 3D design and build process, there are endless possibilities for what can be built. We see numerous applications across many industries and think Functionalize has just begun to scratch the surface of possibilities.”
Rewards for those who pledge in their Kickstarter campaign include examples of items that can be printed with the conductive filament, such as:
- 3D printed keychain flashlight
- 3D printed levitator
- ‘Builders Kits’ for 3D product makers, educators, master builders, and business collaborators
Are you involved in building 3D printed electronics? Join the discussion regarding this new 3D printed filament offering in the Functionalize forum.
Toutonghi’s passion for science and technology is nothing new, as his interests as a kid were in the mechanics of go-carts and mini bikes. For almost 30 years, he has worked as a software developer, ‘making software used by millions of people.’ Functionalize focuses on making breakthrough 3D printing materials and, with F-Electric being launched as their flagship product.
Below is a look at Toutonghi’s Functionalize Lab: