This page comprises a literature review of 3D printing with electrically conductive materials. Information is taken straight from sources, as credited.

Search Phrases[edit | edit source]

  • Conductive 3D printing
  • Conductive 3D printing polymers
  • Conductive additive layer manufacturing
  • 3D printing electronics
  • 3D printing electronic components
  • Conductive RepRap
  • Conductive Fab@Home
  • Conductive MakerBot

A Simple, Low-Cost Conductive Composite Material for 3D Printing of Electronic Sensors.[edit | edit source]

Leigh SJ, Bradley RJ, Purssell CP, Billson DR, Hutchins DA (2012) A Simple, Low-Cost Conductive Composite Material for 3D Printing of Electronic Sensors. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49365. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049365

"Rapid prototyping of electrically conductive components using 3Dprinting technology"[edit | edit source]

  • made of plaster-based powder bound layer-by-layer by an inkjet printing of a liquid binder
  • impregnated by a dispersion of carbon nanofibers (CNF) in epoxy resin
  • Surface resistivity of the model below 800 Ω/sq has been obtained when impregnated by a mixture containing less than 4 wt.% CNF. Volume resistivity of the molded and hardened CNF dispersion used for model impregnation have also been measured and a value less than 200 Ω cm has been obtained at 3 wt.% CNF content
  • carbon-black or metal powders increases the viscosity of the infiltrant so that it is not able to impregnate the 3D model structure
  • the average diameter of the fibers is 100 nm and typical length is 50–200 μm[1]

"Inkjet Printing of Narrow Conductive Tracks on Untreated Polymeric Substrates"[edit | edit source]

  • Small conductive tracks are created by direct inkjet-printing
  • Ink with 30 nm silver particles onto flexible and transparent untreated polyarylate foils
  • Diameter as narrow as 40 micrometers
  • Conductivity is 13 to 23 % that of bulk silver
  • may be applied in plastic electronics[2]

"Gravure printing of conductive particulate polymer inks on flexible substrates"[edit | edit source]

  • conductive lines on paper and plastic films
  • inks contained metal particles in an organic medium and were cured in temperatures of 70–120 °C
  • A printed resistance down to ∼50 mΩ/□ was obtained, with conductor lines 4–7 μm thick
  • thick ink layer is needed for high conductivity
  • printed antennas and inductors[3]

"Reprinting the Telegraph:Replicating the Vail Register Using Multi-materials 3D Printing"[edit | edit source]

  • Used SFF to fabricate a complete, active electromechanical system (telegraph)
  • produced a complete electromagnet:stacked layers of 20 turns each, total resistance of 11.4Ω[4]

"SpoolHead(RepRap Wiki)"[edit | edit source]

  • Reprap toolhead for printing with metal wire
  • Made to print with nichrome wire to replicate RepRap electrical components[5]

"Materials Science(RepRap Wiki)"[edit | edit source]

  • ConductiveMaterials can serve as CircuitBoard traces, wiring, antennae, electro magnets, and faraday cages, along with actual electrical components such as capacitors, resistors, and inductors
  • Work done with printing metals and conductive filler[6]

"April 12, 2012 RepRap Blog"[edit | edit source]

  • one Bowden extruder (for the plastic) and one "standard" extruder for the metal
  • Arduino compatible Sanguino board
  • plastic was printed before dropping in pre-tinned components and finally printing the metal tracks[7]

"MetalicaRap"[edit | edit source]

  • electron beam based printer (an electron gun and vacuum chamber are the primary requirements for thin film solar cell printers)
  • Fully functional parts directly from standard metals
  • For most parts it may offer dimensionally finished metal parts IT grade 7
  • Good metallurgy on all common metals (Melting process rather than sintering process ensures near 100% of solid material)
  • Closed loop system
  • Self measurement of finished part tolerances.
  • May offer automatic self correction (subtractive machining steps during build process and feedback with compensation used in the additive process).
  • Can print thin film CIGS Solar cells in existing 10− 4 vacuum chamber with existing electron gun[8]


  • motor capable of being produced by RepRap, capable of printing with conductive materials
  • print all electronic componenets of a 3D printer[9]

"3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development"[edit | edit source]

  • The ability to incorporate recycled metals into printed items would allow for the printing

of mechanically reinforced objects as well as switches and other electrically conductive applications

  • Fab@Home can print with conductive paste
  • Fab@Home can print electronics[10]

"Towards cyclic fabrication systems for modular robotics and rapid manufacturing"[edit | edit source]

  • Extruder that extrudes low melting temp alloys into plastic parts
  • The Reprap group has demonstrated formation of circuit wiring by extruding metal into plastic parts
  • The extruder consists of a heated copper nozzle and a motorized syringe pump
  • Used to print metal coil plates[11]

"Rapid Prototyped Electronic Circuits"[edit | edit source]

  • create electrical circuits by using casting channels for low melting-point alloys within components
  • Wood's alloy has a lower melting point (70 °C) than the ABS used for RP components
  • able to replicate full printer
  • print circuits[12]

'Printing Embedded Circuits'[edit | edit source]

  • able to deposit conductive silicone traces within silicone and epoxy structures,

to drop in multiple electronic components, and then to continue building, resulting in three-dimensional objects with fully-embedded functional electronic circuits

  • resistivity of approximately 5.0 x 10-6 Ω m
  • successfully printed a planar circuit, flashlight, and 3D timer circuit using Fab@Home[13]

"Getting Rid of the Wires: Curved Layer Fused Deposition Modeling in Conductive Polymer Additive Manufacturing"[edit | edit source]

  • potential to print plastic components with integral conductive polymer electronic circuits.
  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process in which the layers of material that make up the part are deposited as curved layers instead of the conventional flat layers[14]

"CubeSat Fabrication through Additive Manufacturing and Micro-Dispensing"[edit | edit source]

  • integrate conductive traces for electrical interconnect between components.
  • enhancements to integration techniques by introducing channels into the substrate in which the conductive material could be placed
  • Laser Induced Forward Transfer (LIFT) was described by Arnold [1], which allowed for highly precise deposition of conductive materials
  • successfully printed a accelerometer, microcontroller,and magnetometer[15]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. J. Czyżewski, P. Burzyński, K. Gaweł, J. Meisner, Rapid prototyping of electrically conductive components using 3D printing technology, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Volume 209, Issues 12–13, 1 July 2009, Pages 5281-5285, ISSN 0924-0136, 10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2009.03.015. (
  2. van Osch, T. H. J., Perelaer, J., de Laat, A. W. M. and Schubert, U. S. (2008), Inkjet Printing of Narrow Conductive Tracks on Untreated Polymeric Substrates. Adv. Mater., 20: 343–345. doi: 10.1002/adma.200701876
  3. Marko Pudas, Niina Halonen, Päivi Granat, Jouko Vähäkangas, Gravure printing of conductive particulate polymer inks on flexible substrates, Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 54, Issue 4, 1 December 2005, Pages 310-316, ISSN 0300-9440, 10.1016/j.porgcoat.2005.07.008. (
  4. Alonso, Matthew P., Evan Malon e, Francios C. Moon, and Hod Lipson. "Reprinting the Telegraph:Replicating the Vail Register Using Multi-materials 3D Printing." Web. 30 May 2012. <>.
  5. "SpoolHead." - RepRapWiki. Web. 30 May 2012. <>.
  6. "MaterialsScience." - RepRapWiki. Web. 30 May 2012. <>.
  9. Moses, Matthew S., and Gregory S. Chirikjian. "DESIGN OF AN ELECTROMAGNETIC ACTUATOR SUITABLE FOR PRODUCTION BY RAPID PROTOTYPING." Proceedings of the ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences &Computers and Information in Engineering Conference. N.p., 31 Aug. 2011. Web. 14 June 2012. <>.
  10. Pearce, J. M., C. M. Blair, K. J. Laciak, R. Andrews, A. Nosrat, and I. Zelenika-Zovko. "3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development." Journal of Sustainable Development, Dec. 2010. Web. 14 June 2012. <>.
  11. Moses, Matt, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, and Gregory S. Chirikjian. "Towards Cyclic Fabrication Systemsfor Modular Robotics and Rapid Manufacturing." John Hopkins University, n.d. Web. 14 June 2012. <>.
  12. E. Sells and A. Bowyer, "Rapid prototyped electronic circuits," University of Bath, Tech. Rep., Nov. 2004. [Online]. Available:
  13. Periard, Daniel, Evan Malone, and Hod Lipson. "Printing Embedded Circuits." Cornell University, n.d. Web. 14 June 2012. <>.
  14. Olaf Diegel et al., 2011, Key Engineering Materials, 467-469, 662.
  15. Gutierrez, Salas, Hernandez, Muse, Olivas, MacDonald, Irwin, and Wicker. "CubeSat Fabrication ThroughAdditive Manufacturing and Micro-Dispensing." N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2012. <>.
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