We’ve already seen many examples of 3D printing and rapid prototyping being put to work in the field of electronics. However, for the most part, most of the application has been in printing casings and other individual components, which would then have to be assembled around the circuit boards, servos, or other electronic devices before the final product would be functional. However, some groups are aspiring towards a world where a complete, ready-to-use electronic product could be printed out by a single machine.
One such group is Functionalize, which recently came out with a new kind of plastic filament that promises to serve as a functional conductor. Through the use of this plastic, a common PLA-capable printer could build electronic circuits directly into a printed item. Though other conductive plastic filaments have been used in the past, they have largely only been functional for anti-static, static dissipative conduction and electromagnetic interference shielding screens. With supposedly one thousand times the conductivity of other available filaments, this product could very well represent a revolution in the 3D printing industry.