Orlando, Florida-based nScrypt demonstrated a 3D manufactured printed circuit structure (PCS) at the recent IPC APEX show in San Diego, California. The PCS was an inductor disc that, when held close to any show attendee‘s smart phone with an NFC Reader app, would open the nScrypt website on that person’s phone.
The discs were 3D manufactured using nScrypt’s Factory in a Tool (FiT). According to nScrypt’s CEO, Ken Church:
“We distinguish between printed circuit boards, which are incorporated into finished products, and printed circuit structures, or PCS, where the electronics and the structure or housing of a device are essentially the same thing.
“We’re doing a free live webinar about state of the art PCS on April 28 with rockstars in this area from Army, Air Force, NASA, SI2, University of Delaware, and DeLux Advanced Manufacturing.”
Anyone interested in the free webinar can register here.
nScrypt also distinguishes between 3D printing, which is mostly making parts, and using its Factory in a Tool to 3D manufacture fully functioning finished products, like the inductor disc PCS. As shown in the video, nScrypt’s FiT first 3D prints the disc’s ABS outer shell using its material extrusion tool head (also known as FFF or FDM), then uses its SmartPumpTM tool head to microdispense conductive lines, then uses its material extrusion tool head to print another ABS layer, then uses its milling tool head to mill the intermediate layer smooth, then uses its pick and place tool head to place a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip and the SmartPump tool head to dispense more conductive paste, then completes the structure of the disc, seals in the electronics, and prints the nScrypt logo with the material extrusion tool head, then uses its milling tool head to provide a fine surface finish for the finished PCS.
Ken Church said:
“This is a cool little demonstration of a simple printed circuit structure with fine surface finish, where the electronics are embedded in the housing of the device with our Factory in a Tool. This disc happens to be flat but the FiT can 3D manufacture virtually any shape, conformally printing the electronics into or on device’s structure. The sky is the limit for 3D manufacturing PCS with our Factory in a Tool. Or maybe the sky isn’t the limit because a ruggedized version of our bioprinter, which has basically the same capability as our FiT, is on the International Space Station.”
The FiT system can be equipped with nVision cameras that monitor the tool heads for automated in-process inspection and computer vision routines, surface mapping for Z-tracking and conformal printing onto objects of any surface shape, UV LED curing light, and a HEPA filter.