Nano Dimension unveils new Dragonfly 2020 nano-ink PCB 3D printer


Although they may not be receiving as much attention as more traditional 3D printers that are focused on creating physical objects that replace a range of manufacturing processes ranging from injection molding and die casting, the potential for PCB-based 3D printers has generated a lot of excitement for those who would benefit from creating custom PCB boards with ease.

Among others, Nano Dimension, an Israel-based public company, unveiled their new Dragonfly 2020 3D system at an event held in Tel-Aviv, Israel late last week.

“We all wish that developing multi-layer professional PCBs was faster and more flexible,” says the company.   ”That’s why we’re making a 3D PCB printer and a suite of nano-technology inks specifically for PCB professionals.”

The printer, which uses advanced 3D inkjet deposition technology and accompanying insulating andconductive nano-inks to create printed circuit boards (PCBs), aims to create some of the most advanced PCBs that the market has ever seen.  Currently, the printer (as presented last week) is still in the prototyping stage, however the company is expecting to release it in 2016 to the public.

At its core, the system is able to print multi-layered electric circuits with ten or more layers in a matter of hours.  The company even has an exclusive license to use silver nano-particle processes that were developed by Professor Shlomo Magdassi, a nanotechnology expert from nearby Hebrew University of Jerusalem and were patented by the school’s technology transfer company.

Similar to existing 3D printers that are intended to create physical objects quickly for prototyping and final method of manufacture purposes, the Dragonfly 2020 3D system is intended for use in the rapid prototyping process for those needing PCB iterations done quickly and don’t want to rely on larger breadboard systems or delayed development due to orders and shipments.

In addition to cutting down the development time for multi-layered electronic circuits, the technology will also drastically cut down costs and allow developers to keep their entire prototyping process in-house for both intellectual property purposes as well as ease of development.

Among other user-friendly features of the printer and accompanying ink include the ability to be soldered after printing, can be used like existing copper based PCBs that exist today without the need to replace tools or existing development processes, no limit to the layer height and will function with all Gerber files regardless of their source.

“The Nano Dimension PCB printer is a highly-accurate and versatile inkjet deposition system for printing multi-layer circuit boards,” added the company.  ”The innovative hardware, dedicated nano-inks and novel software bring new possibilities to a wide range of R&D, prototyping and custom manufacturing projects.”

Although the cost is yet to be determined, the company is expecting to open the pre-orders in early 2016.  For those with the need to quickly iterate with PCBs, the Dragonfly looks to be a highly-reliable system for rapidly speeding up development time.