3D printing is incredibly useful for creating functional prototypes, and is even sometimes viable for manufacturing production parts. But the vast majority of 3D printing is done with thermoplastics, and material like metal is very expensive to print. Complex parts that are made from multiple kinds of material, such as electronic components, have been impossible to print. Fortunately, that may be changing soon thanks to the new EFORGE 3D printer.
The EFORGE Kickstarter campaign just recently started, but it has already reached more than twice its funding goal. That’s because it can do something no other 3D printer has achieved: print functional electronic components. That doesn’t just mean it can print conductive plastic—many 3D printers can do that—but that it can print working components like diodes or transistors. EFORGE comes equipped with eight extruders, and you can take advantage of them to print new specialty materials that are engineered specifically for electronics.
Those materials include: conductive, insulative, capacitive, resistive, N-type semi-conductive, and P-type semi-conductive. You can, of course, also print standard materials like PLA, ABS, and HIPS. The specialty materials are the basis for many electronic components. For example, a diode is made of a combination of N-type and P-type semiconductors. With these materials, you can print a device with the electronic components integrated into the design.
That capability is groundbreaking, but EFORGE is also a great 3D printer by conventional standards. It has a 273mm x 200mm x 300mm build volume, can print as small as 20 microns, can print up to 80 mm/s, has touchscreen control, automatic bed-leveling, dry filament storage, and power loss detection. EFORGE seems to be very well-built, with a metal structure that is fully enclosed. Each printer comes with the six specialty electronic materials, so you can get started immediately.
If you want an EFORGE 3D printer, the Kickstarter campaign will be running until November 21st. Early birds can get an EFORGE for $4,799, which is 40% off the anticipated MSRP. Rewards are expected to be delivered in August of 2020.