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An interesting idea for printing a circuit board by Thingiverse user CarryTheWhat.

The goal of this project is to enable the personal manufacturing of simple electronics, especially for Open Source Hardware — with nothing except a 3D printer, your hands or equivalent, and the basic high-technology electronic components (capacitors, motors, transistors, etc — but note that this will also include mass-produced microcontrollers and their shields!). Instead of solder, wires, and breadboards, OpenSCAD generates a peg-board PCB and component holder, and a circuit can be hand-wound together with conductive thread.

This code base is intended to replace conventional etched PCBs, initially for very simple applications. Included is a basic feature set, described in the Instructions. The pictures and uploaded STL files are for a simple circuit which demonstrates these features: a battery holder (I used 3 watch batteries instead of AAs to quickly and easily step up the voltage and save plastic and time), a momentary push-button, a toggle switch, and an LED holder.

[via Ponoko]

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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Comments

  1. Nifty solution to the problem, but all the same, why can’t we just use a solder-like alloy and print with that? If it had a low melting-point, we could just print the plastic, then use a separate extruder head to put the metal down, then just bang in the components by hand…

  2. Berimor says:

    Little bit of critic:
    Again make something simple unusable but for education for 300$ and more.
    So You need to buy:
    Makerbot or other 3D printer
    Plastic
    Conductive vire
    other parts

    and all of that to build battery connected to led with switch.

    Your hobby make us ritch!

    Cum ooooon!

  3. Chris says:

    @Math Campbell
    Hehe, thanks! Well, my main intention was to empower those already with a commodity 3D printer to eventually expand their replication and manufacturing capacity, beyond simple geometries and mechanical devices to simple electronic ones too. Your solution would be good too, but no one’s quite productionized it yet. The MakerBot Replicator’s dual-extrusion is a step, but no one’s made a conductive plastic yet.

    @Berimor
    Hehe, I certainly understand your point! For learning basic electronics, certainly you’d get a lot farther with a $20 breadboard & component kit from radio shack. Hehe — but, I do promise my goal actually IS to make us rich! In a sense, anyway. My hope is that by the time these 3D Replicators are sophisticated & cheap enough to be own by everyone, there will be a massive free (& open source) library of replicatate-able goods already out there.

    Chris
    [CarryTheWhat?]

  4. blacksheep32 says:

    Maybe add a second print head with conductive ink?

  5. [...] 3D-Printed Circuit Boards (makezine.com) [...]

  6. isidresole says:

    Friend. I think that the older proto-board still been the most economic solution.

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