Imagine if your 3D printed products could come to life? Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are everywhere, from TV’s, smartphones, drones, even 3D printers and almost any electronic product. They are the beating heart of your hardware, allowing the electronics within to communicate with one another, adding movement, lights, motors, sensors and much more.
But to achieve this, creating a PCB is messy and timely! It can takes weeks to have a manufacturer make this part for you, for it to only then not work as expected. Taking many versions to perfect, this key piece of hardware is now finally being given the attention it needs to advance our rapid manufacturing forward. The Voltera can print the average PCB in 1.5 hours in comparison to 5-15 days for the average fabricator to make, or 14-21 days using international company’s.
The Voltera V-One has just won the international James Dyson Award 2015 for its forward thinking and potential world changing product. Winning a well deserved $45,000, along with a previous funding round on Kickstarter, the 4 person team now has the funds to go through to it’s final testing phase before launching the commercial available product in 2016. Early backers are looking forward to a potential Q1 delivery date (but we all know too well how kickstarter deadlines work).
Whilst the project was initially launched on Kickstarter, this is where it originally gained popularity and for obvious reasons it saw a it’s full target met of $100,000 and in only 30 minutes upon launch. The final total ended comfortably at $500,000, which should be more than enough to see this come to reality. According to their campaign page, “The Voltera V-One can create a prototype board right from your work bench. Gerber files go in; FR4 boards come out. The magic happens in the middle… the printer lays down a conductive ink to create the traces and an insulating ink as a mask between layers.”
It certainly sounds futuristic and the potential is fascinating. In the near future we’ll no doubt see downloadable files for the average consumer to pop their new circuit board into their latest creation. Whilst it’s not the first time we’ve seen such a printer in actual fact, with a similarly confusing name, “Voxel 8” claiming to be the world’s first, the Voltera looks like it may have an edge on the accuracy and detail of what can be printed electronically. Perhaps however, the combined fusion of both these advanced 3D printers will deliver what we’re after and fully opening all the possibilities.