CAD Tech News (#58)

1 Feb, 2017 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ New Nano Dimension Technology Embeds Components in 3D-Printed PCBs

Conductive ink eliminates the need for solder in printed circuit boards created with newly developed technique.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Most 3D printers are defined by their printing technology and the types of materials they use, rather than which items they produce. The DragonFly 2020 from Nano Dimension is an exception. It's designed to produce only one thing: multi-layer printed circuit boards (PCBs).

First, Nano Dimension's software creates 3D-printable models from Gerber files (produced by Zuken, Altium, Mentor Graphics, and other electronics design programs). Then, using inkjet technology, the DragonFly 2020 lays down very thin layers of two kinds of ink in each print job: one that incorporates silver nanoparticles, and a dielectric ink made from a proprietary polymer. By depositing these conductive and insulating inks in the right areas, the DragonFly 2020 is able to create circuits.

"What we're doing, essentially, is combining the world of 3D printing with the world of electronics," said Simon Fried, cofounder and chief business officer of Nano Dimension.

A Not-So-Nano New Development

Yesterday, Nano Dimension announced a development that brings 3D-printed circuit boards closer to those made by traditional means: Its wholly owned subsidiary, Nano Dimension Technologies, has successfully completed proof-of-concept prints with embedded electrical components.

All 3D printers can create niches or cavities in the items they build, by repeatedly adding layers of material outside designated areas. When this is done on a circuit board, it can create recesses that are tailored to the dimensions of electrical components. "You can essentially tell the printer what the shape of any given component is," Fried explained.

Next, the components are placed in their corresponding recesses (manually, for the time being). "We flip them over, put them into the board upside down; that leaves their connective surfaces exposed," Fried said. Printing then resumes over the components, with conductive ink eliminating the need for soldered connections. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's editor in chief.

▶ IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Learn One Joint to Revolutionize Your Inventor Assemblies

If you're still limited to using constraints because you've put off learning Inventor's joint relationship tool, this tutorial will expand your horizons.

By Walt Jaquith

A few releases ago, Autodesk introduced a completely new way to put assemblies together in Autodesk Inventor. While assembly joints are much more powerful than constraints, they are also more complex, and very different in the way they work. For this reason many users have put off learning joints, sticking instead to the more familiar constraints. The good news is that you can ease your way into proficiency with joints, while at the same time giving your assemblies an immediate boost in simplicity and stability. The secret is in the joint type that might, at first glance, seem like the least useful of the lot: The rigid joint.

A significant issue with any big assembly is managing the sheer number of assembly relationships. Assuming you can use an insert constraint, it will take at least one more constraint to completely lock two components together. If you can't use an insert, it will typically take three constraints (and in certain cases, four) to get a single component fully constrained. Most Inventor users know the frustration of wading through a few hundred relationships to find the one or two that are causing conflicts in a big assembly.

But what if the number of relationships could be significantly reduced? Not only that, but what if the types of relationships could be minimized as well, as demonstrated in the two figures below? And what if all this could be accomplished very easily? Not only is this completely possible, but learning how to do it will serve as an excellent primer on general joint functionality. Read more »

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Walt Jaquith is an applications expert and certified Inventor professional for Imaginit Technologies.


Sponsored: Steel Detailers Make the Move from 2D CAD to 3D Workflows
As the industry evolves to rely on building information modeling (BIM), professionals have the option to change along with it — or get left behind. Read more »

SOLIDWORKS File Structure Explained
Pluralsight presenter Tony Riggs explains the three main file types within SOLIDWORKS, and how they relate to each other. Watch the video »

Define Element Attributes in MicroStation
Pluralsight presenter Eric DeLeon teaches new users of Bentley MicroStation software about the basics of element attributes, and explains how to define them. Watch the video »

AutoCAD Video Tips: The Perils of AutoCAD's PICKFIRST System Variable
With so many system variables in AutoCAD, it's easy to accidentally turn off something vital. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how valuable the system variable PICKFIRST is, and why you never want to turn it off! Watch the video »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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