Researchers 3D Print Resistors From Electrically Conductive Filament on a Desktop 3D Printer

Share this Article

In a paper entitled “Characterization of resistors created by fused filament fabrication using electrically-conductive filament,” a pair of researchers 3D prints resistors using electrically conductive carbon black and graphene-based filament.

“With this novel capability to directly create electrical components integrated into 3D printed physical objects designers can envision and 3D print new and/or improved devices with embedded electronics, which they could not do before,” the researchers explain.

Using biodegradable conductive filament to 3D print circuits offers environmental benefits, and 3D printing technology allows for more design freedom, enabling manufacturers to better integrate electrical components within objects. The researchers used a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D printer, which has dual extruders, for their work. A test print was created, and then two modifications were made to the 3D printer: an extruder block upgrade, which helped improve the consistency of prints due to reduced slippage of the stepper motor pinion gear; and the attachment of two additional cooling fans, one for each extruder.

Test piece before (a) and after (b) the modifications

The researchers then designed a cube-shaped resistor using Autodesk Inventor CAD software. Two electrode contact pads were placed at each end.

“To integrate 3D printed circuits with external components such as LEDs, a suitable contact point has to be provided,” the researchers explain. “The 3D printed contact point should provide sufficient rigidity to secure external components while minimizing contact resistance. Due to the resistive property of the conductive filament, contact resistance plays a significant role in determining the final volume resistance of the test sample. It is for these reasons that contact pads are added to the test sample.”

Each contact pad is a cylinder 5 mm in diameter. The top surface is covered in silver conductive paint to minimize the contact resistance. This provides a uniform resistive area when performing resistance measurements.

A testbed with six resistors was then created to characterize the change in volume resistance of conductive PLA along the X axis, and another testbed with five resistors was created to characterize the change in resistance of the PLA along the Y axis. Two testbeds were created to characterize the change in resistance along the Z axis.

The resistivity of the 3D printed resistors varied depending on their build orientation and 3D printing process parameters.

“Resistor expansions in axis resulted in increased resistivity, but this increase was not linear,” the researchers conclude. For z-axis expansions, the resistivity increase was mostly linear. The resistivity vs. length graph for y-axis expansion exhibited a minimum value in the middle of the test range.”

The paper offers several guidelines and recommendations for the designing and 3D printing of electrical resistors. Although the researchers used a simple design for their study, 3D printing allows for much more complex designs to be created from conductive materials and incorporated into electrical objects. As conductive materials for 3D printing start becoming more readily available, the variety of 3D printed electrical objects should expand, opening up new applications in a range of industries.

Authors of the paper include Nebojsa I. Jaksic and Pratik D. Desai.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

 

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Related Articles

Embedded 3D Printing and Sensors Lead to Soft Robotic Fingers

European Innovation Hub and Test Bed to Focus on Developing and Implementing 3D Printed Electronics



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

University of California Researchers Explore Acoustophoresis in Regulating Electrical Composites for 3D Printing

Scientists from University of California Santa Barbara have been exploring the use of acoustophoresis in regulating electrical composites in accompaniment with 3D printing in ‘Flexible Composites with Programmed Electrical Anisotropy...

ACEO Introduces New Electrically Conductive Silicone 3D Printing Materials

WACKER‘s silicone brand, ACEO, was developed in 2016, at the same time that the company announced that it had created the first-ever industrial 3D printer for silicones. ACEO is going...

Harris Corporation Tests Performance of 3D Printed Radio Frequency Circuits

Harris Corporation is a leader in tactical communications, geospatial systems and services, air traffic management, environmental solutions, avionics and electronic warfare, and space and intelligence. Recently, the company made an...

World’s First 3D Printed Volumetric Circuit Emerges from University of Texas El Paso Lab

A great many discoveries have been made in the lab of Raymond C. Rumpf, PhD, the Schellenger Professor in Electrical Research in The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of...


Training


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!