Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

3D Printer Lays Down Functioning Circuitry Alongside Thermoplastic

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the closer-to-self-replication dept.

Technology 62

Lucas123 writes: "The Rabbit Proto is a new 3D printer attachment that can be added to a RepRap printer to create circuitry right alongside an existing thermoplastic extruder. While still in prototype, the printer head is expected to ship this summer. The creators of the Rabbit Proto, a group of Standford graduate students, have already printed working prototypes, such as a game controller. So far, the syringe-like printer head has used silver-filled silicon to create circuitry, but the engineers are now working with conductive inks made with graphite. The Rabbit Proto head unit can be pre-ordered for $350, or you can purchase a fully-assembled RepRap 3D printer with the Rabbit Proto head for $2,499."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (5, Interesting)

mpoulton (689851) | about 6 months ago | (#46845683)

"the syringe-like printer head has used silver-filled silicon to create circuitry"

No, it didn't. That's SILICONE not silicon. I mean, come on. This is a technical article on a technical website. Can't we at least get basic chemistry right? Do you fill your car's gas tank with carbon? If there's one damn place on the internet where people can be expected to know enough about science to see the difference between a hard, shiny metallic element and a class of clear rubbery compounds that happen to contain that element, it should be here.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 months ago | (#46845757)

Sounds like "Real Housewives..."

Notes on extrusions! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46845939)

Feces are extruded by the rectum through the anus into a roughly cylindrical piece of mostly dead bacteria (something like 70% by mass).

Re:Notes on extrusions! (5, Informative)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 6 months ago | (#46845987)

Normally, feces are made up of 75 percent water and 25 percent solid matter. About 30 percent of the solid matter consists of dead bacteria; about 30 percent consists of indigestible food matter such as cellulose; 10 to 20 percent is cholesterol and other fats; 10 to 20 percent is inorganic substances such as calcium phosphate and iron phosphate; and 2 to 3 percent is protein.

Source [britannica.com] .

So you're wrong. But thank you for your trolling, it made me learn something new today.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 6 months ago | (#46846059)

Get over yourself. It was a typo.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846149)

Learn to proofread.

And Fuck BETA & your karma rules.

zenlessyank was here.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46846595)

"No, it didn't. That's SILICONE not silicon."

What in the hell do you think silicone is made from?

Hint: There's a reason silicone lubes rip many rubberized sex toys apart, and it's not the suspension solvent of cyclopentasiloxane.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847215)

What in the hell do you think silicone is made from?

Wikipedia explains it adequately:

Silicone is not to be confused with the chemical element silicon, a crystalline metalloid widely used in computers and other electronic equipment. Although silicones contain silicon atoms, they also include carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and perhaps other kinds of atoms as well, and have different physical and chemical properties than elemental silicon.

You also don't call petroleum graphite because it contains carbon...

[Not one of the above posters]

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46847355)

My god, quit relying upon inaccurate wikipedia for fuck's sake. They can't even keep current with LED technology. The carbon, hydrogen, oxygen in "silicone" are used as solvents (hydrocarboxy) and the rest is ground sand.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 6 months ago | (#46847413)

"Yeah, stop getting facts in the way of my peculiar worldview or I'll go off the deep end!"

You're completely bonkers, Khyber.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847457)

Lol, it's more accurate than you. Let's quote Wikipedia again:

More precisely called polymerized siloxanes or polysiloxanes, silicones are mixed inorganic-organic polymers with the chemical formula [R2SiO]n, where R is an organic group such as methyl, ethyl, or phenyl.

A quick look at the chemical formula of a simple one [wikipedia.org] shows your carbon and hydrogen tightly bound to the silicon. More complex monomers can also include oxygen and other atoms.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46851447)

The carbon, hydrogen, oxygen in "silicone" are used as solvents (hydrocarboxy) and the rest is ground sand.

You really must be an idiot if you don't know the difference between chemical bonds and mixtures. And FWIW, Silica sand is not silicon either, it's silicon dioxide. It takes a lot of energy to reduce SiO2 to Si, which is part of the reason that a 300mm silicon boule costs over a million dollars (there are others), when a cubic meter of silica sand for the garden costs around $10.

There's no ground sand in decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, though I'm sure if you heat it enough in oxygen the resulting ash will contain silica.

Re:Silicone. Silicone. Silicone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46849153)

>> "No, it didn't. That's SILICONE not silicon."
> What in the hell do you think silicone is made from?

"This formula calls for sulfur, so let's just use sulfuric acid. It's made from sulfur, so it's the same thing, right?"

Needs to come down in price by about one oom (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 6 months ago | (#46845697)

Needs to be about one tenth of the price before it will make much sense for anyone but people with money to burn to get one

Re:Needs to come down in price by about one oom (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 months ago | (#46845761)

Needs to be about one tenth of the price before it will make much sense for anyone but people with money to burn to get one

Oh, yeah? Well, my 3-D printer is smarter then your honor student!

Re:Needs to come down in price by about one oom (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 6 months ago | (#46845887)

Seems this day and age of super-cheap gadgetry has made many forget that technology is not merely pulled out of some engineer's ass.
Of course it needs to come down in price, and it will in about 10 years from now after they are refined, able to be cheaply made and useful enough to everyday people to attract substantial sales volumes.

Re:Needs to come down in price by about one oom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846091)

Seems this day and age of super-cheap gadgetry has made many forget that technology is not merely pulled out of some engineer's ass.

Really? Then how do you explain the shitty Made in China disposable product consumers are more than satisfied with?

Seems in this day and age of super-cheap gadgetry consumers don't give a shit who's ass it came out of. They just want to see a price tag of 99 cents.

Re:Needs to come down in price by about one oom (1)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 6 months ago | (#46846597)

1. Buy 1 3-D Printer for $2500 2. Make 3-D Printer 3. PROFIT!!! 4. GOTO STEP 2

Re:Needs to come down in price by about one oom (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46847019)

Even at the current price there are businesses that would be interested for rapid prototyping.

Circuity? (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46845763)

It calls this functional circuitry. They laid down 1/4" wide conductive paths. Basically is just 5 wire pathways. How do you connect components like resistors? You can't solder them. This is basically worthless.

Re:Circuity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46845823)

Well excuuUUUuuuse me Mr Luddite, but computers got better therefore everything will get better.

Re:Circuity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46845825)

Apparently useful enough to make a cheap game controller with.

Re:Circuity? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46845967)

"circuitry" is actually defined as something slightly more complex than a few straight lines

Re:Circuity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846905)

It's still a start.

Re:Circuity? (2)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#46845931)

I'm thinking of a much much cheaper alternative to this printing machine for connecting components. It would have flexible copper center covered with rubber or plastic insulator, I'm thinking a lot of the stuff could be wound around a cylindrical holder. Maybe we could call these things electron-pipes or electro-threads and sell it by the unit length.

Re:Circuity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846015)

Not only that, what they're working with is made with silver. Even when they move to graphite it's still going to be awful quality and very wasteful no matter what scale it's laid at.

Laying conductive traces with graphite or by carbonizing the plastic you've put down as the basis for plating would probably be a better way to go.

Re:Circuity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846397)

All of their examples (if you had taken 5 minutes to look, which you clearly didn't) use solder paste... your choices of dispersal are numerous with a limit of 230C - between screen printing, a pneumatic solder gun, or the poor mans way of using a syringe and a hot air gun - there's plenty of options for rapid prototyping...

Re:Circuity? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46846611)

"How do you connect components like resistors? You can't solder them. "

Uh, yea, you sure as fuck can solder to graphite ink traces. I did it today. Flux is a magical thing. Perhaps you should get your IPC J-STD-001 certification before talking nonsense.

Re:Circuity? (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 6 months ago | (#46846713)

No one mentioned graphite, not in the article, not in the parent post. You can't solder to graphite. You use carbon-filled glue for that. Your posts read like the violent ravings of a lunatic.

Re:Circuity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847167)

It's in the fucking summary:

So far, the syringe-like printer head has used silver-filled silicon to create circuitry, but the engineers are now working with conductive inks made with graphite.

Re:Circuity? (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 6 months ago | (#46847393)

"so far" and "are now working on", means that the article isn't showing that particular conductor, unless time travel is involved. Does no one fucking read anymore?

Re:Circuity? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46847361)

"You can't solder to graphite."

You're dead wrong, as I stated, I did it earlier yesterday. You can't solder to PENCIL graphite because of other present impurities. You can solder to pure graphite. How do you think older linear variable resistors (like those used in 80s analog synthesizers) got made?

Re:Circuity? (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 6 months ago | (#46847401)

They were printed on the board copper after. There is no soldering. I don't know what "linear variable resistors from the '80s" have to do with anything, since they aren't soldered either, usually they're glued or crimped to. Much like pots are still today, or keypads, etc. You think those things used "pure" graphite? Then how, pray tell, did they get the different resistance values in the same package size?

Anyways, like I said, I've read your posts, and you seem like either a violent lunatic, or a serious case of Asperger's with absolutely no insight whatsoever.

Re:Circuity? (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 6 months ago | (#46847451)

Another problem with your posts is that you often misuse simple technical terms, which suggests you are either completely ignorant or refuse to use the proper terminology. See, I think you meant SLIDER POTS when you said "linear" because you mentioned a musical instrument.

Also, when you say "older", are you implying that newer ones AREN'T soldered (not that they ever were?) Here's a look inside a slider pot:

http://image.made-in-china.com... [made-in-china.com]

You see any solder, micronuts? The graphite paste is printed right on the trace of the substrate. Right along with the impurities that let the manufacturer reach the desired resistance value.

Which incidentally for audio, is almost never LINEAR taper, but LOG or SEMI-LOG, which you would know if you had half the knowledge you claim to have.

The motion of the wiper might be linear, as in a straight line, but no one refers to the motion of the slider, no one calls regular pots CIRCULAR resistors, do they?

Another sad thing with your posts is that sometimes you would appear to have something to contribute, but it's buried in so much bullshit it doesn't show.

I strongly suspect you have a bad case of Asperger's. I recommend you read some books written by Asperger's people, like these:

Look me in the eye, by Robison
Journal of best practices, by Finch

You might then realize how you sound to other people, and hopefully calm the fuck down. You'll realize that no one really gives a shit if you're a walking encyclopedia (of wrong information), and you'll see how you present yourself to others.

Re:Circuity? (1)

confused one (671304) | about 6 months ago | (#46848513)

I'd honestly like to know what you're using. Which solder (or at least the metallurgical content) and which specific flux. I have to connect to carbon conductive inks printed on PVDF and Mylar. We're constantly having issues with connection failures when the product is put into the vibration tester.

Actual examples (3, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46845793)

How about closeups of circuits made with this device? The demo vidio does not show the actual conductors. Sure, it may be able to throw down a few crude conductors but that is far from "complex circuits". To me this is yet another marketing post to get pre-orders on something that really does not work yet.

Re:Actual examples (2)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 6 months ago | (#46846221)

How about closeups of circuits made with this device? The demo vidio does not show the actual conductors. Sure, it may be able to throw down a few crude conductors but that is far from "complex circuits". To me this is yet another marketing post to get pre-orders on something that really does not work yet.

There's also nothing there to show that they did anything innovative. Dual extrusion is nothing new, and conductive filament is already available (though I don't know how high resistance it is). So what if one of the extruders happens to be extruding a conductive material? Is there something really innovative about the material? About how it's extruded? If there is, I can't find anything to suggest what it is.

Also, how am I supposed to solder components onto it? Considering a soldering iron runs around 400C and ABS is extruded around 230C, won't it destroy my part if I try to solder on it? Or is the only use case for this thing for printing a game controller? Even in their video, the components are on a separate breadboard, not on the controller.

If they did do something innovative, even if it's just a small incremental step, good for them! But unless/until they can show what that is or a useful use case for it, I don't imagine them selling very many units. And most of all, don't lie and say it's printing circuitry or electronics if it's really just extruding conductive wires.

One step closer to 'bootstrapping' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846045)

Once the replicators can make other (functioning) replicators it will be interesting. Send 1 replicator to Africa with some raw material and then print new replicators as you scale out. Remember to use all the village's clean water in this process too because, well you know, they obviously have been fine up until now without that water :)

Re:One step closer to 'bootstrapping' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846071)

Human: "Replicator, you suck. I'm going to add some features and fixes to you..."
Replicator: "Ok"
Human: "There, all designed up. Now print your successor for me, so I can get rid of you and then use him to eventually replace him too!"
Replicator: "Hmm, maybe I don't want to do that"

Re:One step closer to 'bootstrapping' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846073)

It would be fascinating to MRI your brain. How does it work? In your fantasy-driven brain, how does it remember to breathe, eat, keep the heart beating? Fascinating.

Re:One step closer to 'bootstrapping' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846457)

Even after you MRI his brain you still won't know why he has the creativity that you lack.

High resistance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846089)

I've thought about doing something like this with the same paint they use, but you can't get anything resembling high power out of them. The resistance is too high. You might be able to use an LED.

Oh, and as far as resistors, you don't need them. The paint is that resistive. It would work for buttons/switches, but not much else. If they had something that was not super expensive (silver) and not as resistive, it would work great.

There's also a few companies with conductive filament, with the same problem. Repraper comes to mind (unfortunate name, but they are chinese).

Re:High resistance. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46846621)

>silver
>high resistance
>one of the metals that has the highest electrical conductivity

And I quit paying attention to you right there. Just about anything with silver in it will have higher electrical conductivity than iron or steel.

Re:High resistance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846733)

You do realize its a mixture of SILICONE and silver right? Last time I checked, silicone kinda sucked for transmitting power, even when conductive materials were added. Silver ink != silver metal.

Re:High resistance. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46847365)

Depends on the type of silicone. I see you're only smart enough to be able to think of one type of silicone. Sad.

Add some stock parts and this is good to go (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 6 months ago | (#46846177)

What would be great would be if this also had the ability to pull from a pile of stock parts, Atmega, arm chips, resistors, capacitors, etc. So that it could then put together a complete circuit, just squishing in the parts as needed during the printing process. To me the first real generation would be when I could print a new remote control.

The second generation would be when I could print a crappy cellphone. Or a game boy. Or a near perfect duplicate of a TI-89

And the third generation would be when I could print out a fairly good cellphone; say roughly an iphone 4.

I am not suggesting that it print out LCD screens but that it could insert electronics of that nature in while the printing process was underway.

But once you could do what I called the third generation there would be huge swaths of electronics items that could be printed. For instance right now I need another 4 port USB hub. I wouldn't mind building a new alarm system. I would love a keypad to start my car instead of keys or a fob.

Re:Add some stock parts and this is good to go (1)

polymeris (902231) | about 6 months ago | (#46846333)

At least resistors should be able to be printed directly: just vary the thickness of the layer of resistant material. Not sure about inductors/capacitors, yet alone active components.

Re:Add some stock parts and this is good to go (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 6 months ago | (#46851003)

I'm thinking that with a nice stock of just the right set of capacitors and resistors that by playing little games with series and parallel that almost any value could be obtained. Then with some ICs that are arduino flexible, some FPGAs and whatnot that almost any device could be made. The idea would be that eventually the values available would be somewhat standardized (like a socket set or a screwdriver set). Then super specialized components would still be of a known design.

So you would tell your printer to print a new cellphone and it would say, you will need to get a GSM module 3. This would then be shelf available at say Staples. Ideally when you were looking at 3D things to print that the list would highlight those things that your printer was ready to print.

Almost no different than being out of toner.

But seeing that the first few generations of really capable printers will probably be found in a Kinko's type environment then having a stockpile of somewhat esoteric parts would not be an issue.

Plus as you said, the ability to print the most basic of components should get better and better. I just don't see a FPGA being printed anytime soon.

interesting, but not impressive (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 6 months ago | (#46846285)

Being able to print with essentially two different polymer heads is interesting, but not really all that impressive.

I would be substantially more impressed with a combination of a polymer extruder head, a copper wire feed apparatus that can slowly meter out and cut thin copper wire (non-lacquered), a non-heated extruder filled with silver solder paste, a strong IR lightsource that can flow the solder paste, and a pick and place arm.

To get clean copper traces embedded in the ABS plastic substrate, you just print channels and "wrap" bosses, anchor the wire at one end, spool it out while taught and sinch it up against the printed plastic bosses, then anchor at the other end, then cut.

One could print multiple layers of ABS substrate, embed multiple layers of wire traces, (MADE OF SOLID WIRE, not high resistance silicone) then paint, pick and place components, and IR beam between layers.

I really don't see why such a thing would be at all impossible to make. the 3d printer people need to up their game.

Re:interesting, but not impressive (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 6 months ago | (#46846415)

Why?

You can already do that with blank PC boards, etching acid, software like Eagle, Orcad and such. Much cheaper and not that hard to do.

Re:interesting, but not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846473)

And even at that, you're wasting your time. You can get first quality two-layer boards for $5/in^2 from OSH Park that will be leagues ahead of anything you can do in your own etching baths. If you've got the tools and skill to produce CAM files, and you need circuit boards, I can't think of a better alternative.

Oh yeah, that $5 per square inch thing -- that will get three copies of your board.

Re:interesting, but not impressive (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46846627)

"You can get first quality two-layer boards for $5/in^2 from OSH Park "

I can get first-quality custom METAL PCB for $0.50 per square inch from other companies. Your sourcing is either rusty or you're shilling.

Re:interesting, but not impressive (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 6 months ago | (#46846663)

Yeah, and what's your MOQ for that price?

Re:interesting, but not impressive (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46847369)

ONE, moron. SinkPAD.In fact, quite often, you can just ask for one for free.

It's like you don't bother to even do your research before opening your mouth.

Re:interesting, but not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46848035)

Those are LED star heatsinks, hardly comprable to a normal PCB. I also use oshpark fairly often, and would be thrilled if you could point to a supplier that sells actual PCBs cheaper in small quanties.

Re:interesting, but not impressive (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 6 months ago | (#46848087)

You'd have to run the numbers, but I think seedstudio will end up close to the OSH Park prices or maybe cheaper. It likely depends on the exact size of your board.

Re:interesting, but not impressive (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 6 months ago | (#46848151)

In fact, I just priced my last board Park and also on Seeed. The Seeed price is $45 for 5 boards and the Park is $70 for three boards. However, Seeed have long delivery times unless you pay for Fedex, which adds $32 to this particular order, bringing the price to $77. Park will do free shipping or priority for $5. So basically, for $75 you'd get three board from Park or 5 from Seed. The Park website is nicer, as it will convert a .brd to gerbers and show you the gerbers in a nice viewer. If you only *need* three boards, maybe as a first run, then maybe Park is better. If you want bulk, then maybe Seeed is better.

Re:interesting, but not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46848249)

I've been very impressed with Park's service and quality, thought there are other issues with them like having delivery notices completely publically accessible including address (in this case my home address).

Re:interesting, but not impressive (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 6 months ago | (#46847363)

This way, whole ICs and other active components could be completely embedded in the ABS plastic. It would also allow structural designs not attainable with flat, 2D PCBs. (Say, wrapped around a cylinder, or inside a sphere.)

example applications: fully waterproofed electronics, devices in novel shapes, devices with large wirewound active antennae, (say, to exploit getting low voltage power from AM radio signals with electronically tunable coils) or simply just embedding copper filaments inside 3D printed objects for enhanced stability. Also, ability to print device and enclosure simultaneously.

Blech (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about 6 months ago | (#46846623)

That printing quality made me depressed. I know the raw materials needed are finicky and expensive by comparison, but why are all these low resolution injection printers getting all the attention when high resolution powder sintering and UV/near-UV curable plastic printers actually produce results that look useful.

Also, for the number of buttons on that controller, someone needs to take DC and digital circuits 101 and 102. An Arduino with that many leads for 6 buttons?!?... I bet they would build a keyboard that looked like Neo healing and had 2 seconds of latency. Crawl before you walk.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46846725)

Have to say, I'm not impressed. You can buy conductive ink pens at Fry's or Radioshack that do prettymuch the same thing for about ten bucks. This just automated it.

Just a side note, this summary reads like a slashvertisement. Just sayin'

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?