By Jason Brick | PSFK
We can already 3D print math aids, prosthetic jaws, fashion shoes and chairs…but when will we be able to print integrated electronics? According to the creators of Voxel8, late this year.
Voxel8 is the first 3D printer that allows makers to co-matrix (print together in the same batch) thermoplastics and conductive materials.
Printing basic electronics has been a reality for over a year, but the Voxel8 offers two improvements that position it as the 3D electronics printer that changed the game.
Voxel8 “Silver Ink” is 5,000 times as conductive as the next best printable conductor, conductive paste. It’s 20,000 times as conductive as 3D conductive filament. Beyond that, Where previous 3D printing of electronics required multiple stages, each for different materials, the Voxel8 allows whole-cloth printing of an entire device ready to work as soon as you add a power source.
In theory, you could print any electronic device that fits inside the printer bed, and doesn’t require specialized materials. Voxel8 has made a bit of a show of flying their fully-printed quadcopters when demoing the device.
Neil Stephenson’s 1995 novel Diamond Age predicted a future where consumers printed their needs and wants from an in-home machine similar to a Star Trek food replicator. Last year saw the rise of 3D printed objects across multiple industries and in our homes. If Voxel8 is how we start 2015, this year could see the same evolution in 3D printed devices.
Voxel8 is currently in the crowdfunding stage, using an in-house pre-order campaign rather than a platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Backers can opt in for a $500 deposit toward the $8,499 printer to be shipped late this year. They can also pay the full purchase price up front, and receive double the printing supplies and priority access to new releases.
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