Nov.6, 2011

David ten Have, CEO of Ponoko, a 3D printing service company based in New-Zeeland, said that 3D printed circuit boards is very close, actually it will be around here in 18 to 24 months.

This is kind of soon, or too soon. I guess by high end 3D printers it is possible to have this done. Those 3D printers can use various materials to print, more variety than the common palstics, rubbers, and metals. So if we gather a couple of good circuit designers, and those 3D printers can do something amazing. However, Is there a patent problem? Can the speed of 3D printing fast enough, faster than current technology? Or cheaper? Cheaper than current prices?

To build real world circuit boards, ten Have explains, we need only two things. The first is file standardization. We need a common protocol that describes each design. Microsoft has made inroads here with its .NET Gadgeteer platform, but it’s far from standard. The second is a substrate material that works well with 3D printers. With these two things in place, he says, a 3D printer could select existing resistors, capacitors, and even microprocessors, and place them onto the substrate.

I am curious about this claim and would like to get the updates about the tests. I love 3D printing, so many applications and possibilities are changing our world. But on the other side I am worrying how fast this can be, how many industries can be influenced and how many people is going to lose their jobs. Can we all be ready when it comes?

Ponoko currently works with Autodesk as partners. Autodesk just announced that they would release two new software, Autodesk 123D Catch and 123D Make next week that makes 3D model design accessible to everyday consumers. This is a real push to the development of 3D printing technology.

According to Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, the technology will reinvent more than just maintenance and supply chain practices. It will reinvent work-place collaboration. Nike, Bass said, could use 3D printing technology to send prototypes of new sneakers between offices. The west coast team could print the new design sent over the wires from the east coast team, mark up their changes, and then send back a modified file, complete with design feedback — all in an afternoon.


Posted in 3D Print Applications

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