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NASA uses Aerosol Jet Printing to 3D Print Electronics

by • April 21, 2016 • No Comments

  • NASA, the US civilian space program, continues to bring excitement to 3D printing geeks everywhere. As a lover of all things Star Trek, a food replicator has always been on my short-list, so I have high hopes for NASA’s 3D pizza printing device. Now, they are investigating aerosol jet printing, or direct-write making, to turn it into tiny electronic board assemblies. And once again, additive making can bring production time down of a month to a mere day or two.

    Aeorosol Jet Printing empowers 3D Printed electronics

    “Aerosol Jet printing innovation prints commercially-available-bodied conductive, dielectric, semiconductor and biologic inks onto a variety of 2D or 3D plastic, ceramic, and metallic substrates. The outcome is 3D digital printing that eliminates the require for complex tooling photomasks or stencils and empowers engineering changes to be rapidly implemented by just modifying the create file,” says OPTOMEC, a commercial manufacturer of these direct-write printing devices. The aerosol spray deposits incredibly satisfactory lines, as tiny as ten microns wide, tinyer than a thread of a silkworm cocoon. And, as Paquette says, “It can print around bends, on spheres or on a thing flat, or on a flexible surface, that and so can be flexed into the shape you want.”

    Electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, antennas, sensors, and thin movie transistors have all been printed with Aerosol Jet innovation. The performance parameters of printed components, for example the ohm value of a resistor, can be regulated through printing parameters. Components can in addition be printed onto 3 dimensional surfaces eliminating the require for a separate substrate thereby reducing the dimensions, thickness and mass of the end product. For example, Aerosol Jet is utilized to print antennas and sensors that conform to the shape of the underlying substrate such as a cell phone case.

    How the NASA is via the Aerosol Jet Printing

    At the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, NASA technologist Beth Paquette has turn it intod a 3-inch-by-3-inch ceramic board with four radiation-complexened digital-to-analog converter chips. The circuitry was created with the aerosol jet printing technique via silver ink. As such detector assemblies become tinyer and tinyer, it becomes approximately not easy to create and put together the individual parts.


    NASA expects they can soon be able-bodied to use aerosol jet innovation to print complexware directly on to space craft. But I’m holding out for that 3D pizza printing device.

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