SUNConferences, RAPDASA 2014

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M.A. Perez, Eric MacDonald, David Espalin, Ryan Wicker

Last modified: 2014-11-02


Recently, significant research and press has focused on the fabrication freedom of Additive Manufacturing (AM) to create conceptual models as well as final end-use products.  AM allows modifications in designs to be reflected almost immediately in fabricated structures and thus democratizes the manufacturing process, in which products will inevitably be fabricated locally and with unit-level customization based on unique mission requirements.  However, AM is currently relegated to create mechanical devices such as wrenches or enclosures, and for the technology to find profound utility, the processes will be required to be enhanced to incorporate additional features in the fabricated structures such as electronics, actuation, and electromagnetics where thermodynamic, optical, biological, chemical and pharmacological features can be enabled.  In the last decade, research has been reported of embedding electronic components and electrical interconnect into 3D printed structures by interrupting the 3D printing process.  However, only until recently has a plan been reported in which fabrication will include an automated and enhanced 3D printing, non-assembly process – specifically targeting 3D electronics in arbitrary form.  Furthermore, no reports have included the additional enhancement of active 3D thermal management of these 3D devices.  This paper describes the status of a novel fabrication system – Multi3D manufacturing – that was recently funded by the presidential initiative for revitalizing manufacturing in the USA with 3D printing – America Makes.  Other projects with embedded electronics will also be described - further informing the possible design space brought to bear by this novel technology.

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