Nov.10, 2014

3D printers enables us to make all kinds of amazing things out of a variety of colors and textures of plastic. But making your prints electronically functional still requires a separate manufacturing process to add circuit boards, wiring, and electronic components. And there hasn't been plastic capable of being printed on today's common 3D printers and with enough conductivity to even light up an LED.

Seattle, WA based Functionalize today launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to bring an electronically conductive 3D printing material to the market.

Functionalize F-Electric Measures under 1 ohm

Measuring under 1 ohm/cm, the new filament, Functionalize F-Electric, is claimed to be one thousand times more conductive than filament available today. F-Electric enables anyone to print circuits, wires, sensors, power connectors, and other electrical components inside projects printed from popular PLA-capable 3D printers.

Functionalize is seeking $100,000 from the Kickstarter community to set up a production facility to bring F-Electric to market in volume.

3D Printed Circuit Board

F-Electric Electronically Conductive 3D Printed Circuit

"Imagine a world where you can 3D print your next cell phone, a drone, an Internet of Things device, or the latest in wearable electronics, complete with circuits and electrical components," said Mike Toutonghi, Functionalize's founder, CEO and chief scientist. "That's where we're going, and our F-Electric filament is a major step forward in making this a reality. Using our nanomaterials and processes, we'll have the chance to invent all sorts of new, functional materials that Makers need to launch their designs and prototypes."

Mike Toutonghi, Functionalize's founder, CEO, with 3D printed electronically conductive circuit board

Toutonghi's path for chemistry and working with nanomaterial and 3D printing plastics began on his 50th birthday when he and his son agreed to work on an electromagnetic propulsion project for his school's science fair. As he started searching for ways to use his 3D printer to print the circuits inside the plastic, ultimately skipping a soldering process that he disliked altogether, he didn't find an existing solution. From that day forward, creating conductive material became his obsession and he immersed himself in the scientific literature and built a nanotechnology lab in his house. The Functionalize F-Electric is the result of multiple years of experimentation and analysis to synthesize graphene, metal, and plastic nano composites.

Functionalize Nanotechnology Lab

"By allowing electrical circuits to be part of the 3D design and build process, there are endless possibilities for what can be built." said Matt Johnson, program director at intentional3D, Inc. "We see numerous applications across many industries and think Functionalize has just begun to scratch the surface of possibilities."

Backers for Functionalize, depending on the level of support, will receive access to "first-of-a-kind" products built using its electrically conductive thermoplastic material, including a 3D printed keychain flashlight($25), 3D printed levitator ($299), as well as a variety of 'Makers Kits" ($399~$2000). For $71 you will receive a 1/2 lb of Functionalize F-Electric Filament, and the flashlight design, which will be delivered in March 2015.

Electronically Conductive 3D Printed Flashlight

3D Printed LED Flashlight

Functionalize 3D Printed Levitator Prototype with Conductive F-Electric Filament



Posted in 3D Printing Materials

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