Print Capacitors Directly On The PCB

The Israeli 3D printing company Nano Dimension is known for its circuit/electronic 3D printing, which has released a circuit/electronic additive manufacturing system called DragonFly.

Recently, the company used the system to make 3D printed capacitors.

More innovative, these capacitors are embedded directly into the 3D printed PCB (PCB) layer, which means PCBs and capacitors can be printed as a single unit in one operation, saving space and eliminating assembly requirements. Nano Dimension has extensively tested 3D printed capacitors to ensure repeatability of components and DragonFly systems.

Manufacturers are using Nano Dimension technology to explore the potential of 3D printed PCBs to reduce the steps required to manufacture PCBs and open up new possibilities for electronics. DragonFly printers have been used in many of these applications, including radio frequency (RF) space systems, IoT communication devices and smart home sensor technology.

Save space on 3D printed PCB

Capacitors are devices used in electronic circuits to store energy and charge. They include one or more pairs of conductors separated by an insulator. Typically, they are used in electronic filters to prevent unwanted frequencies and noise, and are suitable for a variety of applications, helping to stabilize the power supply and maintain a constant voltage throughout the process. Nano Dimension says its capacitors can be used for RF transmission lines, audio processing, radio reception and power circuit regulation.

The company tested different sizes of 3D printed capacitors, and it has been reported that statistical verification data for each capacitor demonstrates consistent results. Repeatability testing of 3D printed capacitors showed that the difference between components was less than 1%. The results are based on more than 260 tests using 30 different 3D print capacitor sizes.

Nano Dimension uses the same dielectric and metallic ink to make capacitors for 3D printed PCBs, so these two components can be integrated into one print job in the DragonFly system. This enables electronics engineers and manufacturers to avoid time-consuming and complex assembly processes, thereby reducing the time required to prepare traditional production techniques.

The 3D printed capacitor inside the PCB also saves space on the board surface. Nano Dimension claims that the reduced footprint is in line with industry trends, namely the miniaturization and flatness of electronic devices for consumer, industrial and military applications. Additional space helps to include more functional components on the surface panel, while also allowing the designer to reduce component size.