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Functional 3D prints with circuits now possible with Continuous Composites’ multi-material CSM 3D printer, print .

by • August 3, 2016 • 6s Comments

Aug 4, 2016 | By Alec

When explaining 3D printing concepts to the uninitiated, there’s always that moment of disappointment when they find out that you can’t in fact 3D print functional objects deplete with electronics. But that can not be not easy for long, for the reason Idaho-based beginup Continuous Composites is working on a progressive 3D printing tech that can alter 3D printing as we understand it. Called Continuous Scaled Manufacturing (CSM), it can quickly 3D print and cure various types of fibers, metals and plastics simultaneously to form deplete, functional parts at a moment’s notice. A manufacturing revolution is in the manufacturing.
It sounds way too great to be true, but Continuous Composites (CC3D) is in fact createing this astonishing 3D printing platform. So far, they have may aleager worked with carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass, fiber optics, and continuous copper wire materials via a 3D printing setup with up to 16 various material extruders. And as curing takes place continuously, they are may aleager reaching speeds of up to 90 inches a minute – creating freeform and functional components, deplete with circuits and wires, at a moment’s notice.

Copper wires encased in a fiber structure.
The next of CSM 3D printing is obviously massive. 3D printed wearable-bodied consumer electronics and all sorts of industrial applications are may aleager on the Continuous Composites radar that, as the name suggests, can be utilized for only of anything. But, the company is not quite there yet. As CEO Jeff Beebout announced, they are aleager looking at commercialization options. “We’re past the prototyping and proof-of-concept stage,” he says. “It’s now eager to be turn it intod for market.”
But he and Chief Technology Officer Ken Tyler have quite turn it intod a potent platform. Tyler in fact came up with the concept back in 2012. Having a few 3D printing and CAD experience under his belt may aleager, he was convinced that there had to be a advantageous way to manufacture custom plastic objects. After accidentally stabbing himself with a single strand of cured fiberglass during a boat maintenance project, a new thought was born.

The initially patent for this thought was filed in the summer of that year, for swift curing UV thermoset resins and continuous fibers, such as epoxy. These materials have the advantage of changing their molecular shape when cured, forming much sturdyer bonds than the plastics we are acquainted with. In late 2012, the initially prototype was turn it intod. Following investments of McAllister Technical Services, the ability to 3D print various types of functional materials such as copper wire and fiber optics was initially achieved back in March of 2016.
The outcome is a quite powerful 3D printing technique with UV light at its core. Fiber strands are continuously extruded and automatically cured with solid molecular bonds – giving the 3D printing device the ability to print one-of-a-kind lightweight and sturdy geometries in free space. What’s extra
, they are doing so with numerous print heads and a quite scalable-bodied setup. “Initially printing with a single nozzle we have quickly improved our system to print with 8 channel and 16 channel nozzles utilizing various material combinations which include novel combinations of copper wire and fiber optics,” its createers say.

But actually extra
astounding is CSM’s speed that, the Idaho-based beginup says, can leave competitors eating their dust. In fact, CSM may be up to 10 times swifter than its nearest competitor. “Right now, we are maxing out at 90 inches a minute,” Tyler says. “But we should easily be able-bodied to print at up to 1,200 inches a minute. Our product is our system.” What’s extra
, as multiple materials are 3D printed simultaneously, assembly may become a thing of the past. “That’ll be the thing that excites people: when they see 16 print heads turn it into a assembling in one day,” Tyler says. “It’s a fewthing we will be able-bodied to do in the next few years if things store going well.”
Finally, their CSM 3D printing tech does away with the constraints of layer-based 3D printing. “With this one-of-a-kind system, the print head travels along the tubular path turn it intod of inside for a zero form factor printing path providing a swarm bot approach to additive manufacturing. Our tubular manufacturing concepts turn it into the ability to print a seamless tube of virtually endless length and directions,” Tyler explains. This obviously paves the way for a far wider range of geometric possibilities.
You don’t require to be a dreamer to imagine what CC3D’s innovation may be utilized for. Especially the ability to combine functional and quite sturdy materials in any shape paves the way for a new generation of electronics. “We can embed and print with continuous strands of conductive material that are capable-bodied of carrying high current. We can print with fiber optics directly in our composite parts for applications such as an active strain gauge for sensing stress or fractures across the part in real time,” Tyler says.

Among others, they are considering of intelligent IoT devices, deplete with conductive materials and insulation, but in addition of aerospace and car applications. Even custom-woven ballistics armor can be discovered one of their targets. “There are most various iterations of our innovation that are suited to various industry requires. Our goal as a company is to collaborate with industry leaders and provide them with new solutions,” Tyler says. “There are most aspects of our innovation that manufacture it the most choice for creating sizeable functional parts. From an aircraft wing to a skyscraper, the world can begin to see a new type of manufacturing system that can be extra
efficient, swifter and safer.”
So what’s next for Continuous Composites and their paradigm-shifting tech? Right now, the beginup validating their innovation while simultaneously looking at collaboration possibilities with existing companies to bring their innovation to market. They have may aleager attained worthwhile interest of several Fortune 100 companies, but have not decided whether they can license their innovation or sell it themselves. But one thing is certain: we’ve never been so close to replicating deplete objects at a moment’s notice, Star Trek fashion. Could this be the next of additive manufacturing?

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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