Can you imagine what Steve Wozniak may have done with such technology? Voxel8 is now taking pre-orders for its electronics-making 3D printer developer kit, alongside Autodesk’s blog post about its electronic design software, ProjectWire.
The new Voxel8 device prints PLA and conductive silver ink, the latter of which allows the printer to embed wires into a 3D printed device. Think, circuit boards! Based on years of research by Dr. Jennifer A Lewis, Voxel8’s founder and Harvard University professor, the new device isn’t going to allow mom and pop operations to suddenly take on Intel’s fabs, but it certainly portends to the future of electronics and the Maker-Movement.
“Project Wire is a new design tool under active development at Autodesk that provides electronics and 3D printing enthusiasts with the ability to place components, route 3D wires, and output multi-material print data for fabrication,” explained Autodesk on a blog post.
Autodesk believes that future electronic devices will be printed rather than assembled. Like all 3D printing, regardless of medium, such electronic devices of the future will be fabricated inside a 3D printer layer-by-layer as a single object. The wiring in such devices will be draw into the surface of the devices themselves, unlike the standard way of making objects today; whether electronic object or electronic toy, such devices have printed circuit boards placed into a shell or cavity in the electronic device. Think of the flat often green colored circuit boards now being produced and those tiny silver or copper wires drawn into the inner (or outer) surfaces of the device itself, presumably working on multiple planes.
Like a beta version, those interested in gaining access to the device today can acquire it from Voxel8’s website for 8,999.USD. Early adopters will also get double the provided materials and an additional printbed, plus superior access to future releases.