You may wonder what the point is in 3D printing antennas; after all, how much could be improved on in terms of basic shapes made out of metal? A lot, it turns out, as 3D printing offers the ability to create prototypes rapidly, and functional structures can be made quickly and much more affordably. New and more complex designs can also be made, allowing for innovation not possible with conventional technology such as machining or casting.
Optisys LLC, established in 2016 and headquartered in Utah, is a company founded on advanced technology for manufacturing antennas. Specializing in 3D printing, their team has just announced the successful production of an antenna fitted with slots—in the form of a large, flat panel.
With direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), a technology capable of using numerous metal powders, Optisys 3D printed the one-meter-long antenna in one piece. DMLS is at the center of Optisys 3D printing as they fabricate components that are as high-performing and lightweight as possible. Combining laser technology, metal powder, and industrial processes for stronger design and production, DMLS is used in a wide range of important applications—from medicine to aerospace—whether producing parts as models or small-volume batches of functional parts.
The Optisys team claims that this is the “largest single print all metal antenna” to date, worldwide. They expect it to be used for development in aerospace applications, as well as on the ground, and in the ocean. Versatile and modular, the 3D printed large metal tile can be built into a larger array. The tiles can be fabricated as “building blocks” and used in a range of applications—especially those requiring parts that are flat with tight tolerances.
“We have been developing ways we can increase the size and cost efficiency of our large array offerings,” commented Janos Opra, CEO of Optisys. “Today marks the conclusion of an incredible R&D effort to obtain this capability.”
This project is a triumph for Optisys as previously such antennas have been difficult to create on a larger scale in 3D printing with metal. Their team gained valuable knowledge during the project, which they expect to build on in further work. While the Optisys development team has been able to larger antennas previously, they have now broken barriers in terms of affordability and scalability.
Find out more about 3D printing of antennas at 3DPrint.com, whether you are interested in other types of lightweight prototypes and materials, sensors, wearables, and more. Discover more about Optisys and their 3D printing expertise here.[Source / Images: satnews]
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