Direct printing and assembly of FM radio at the user end via liquid metal printer
Article publication date: 28 October 2014
This paper aims to demonstrate the practicability of the liquid metal printer, developed in the authors’ laboratory, in the direct manufacture and assembly of circuit boards at the end customer side using GaIn24.5 alloy as printing ink at room temperature.
A practical procedure for printing a real designed frequency modulation (FM) radio circuit on flexible and transparent substrate using liquid metal printer was established. Necessary electronic components are then assembled on this circuit board. To enhance the mechanical stability of the FM radio circuit board, we further package the circuit board using room temperature vulcanizing silicone rubber. Finally, an efficient way to recycle the liquid metal ink and electronic components is presented at the end of circuit board’s life cycle.
Methods of designing the circuit patterns that are applicable to liquid metal printer are similar to the conventional printed circuit board (PCB) designing strategies. The procedure of applying liquid metal printer for printing the circuits is entirely automatic, cost-effective and highly time-saving, which allows the user to print out desired device in a moment. Through appropriate packaging, the FM radio circuit board can be flexibly used. These PCBs own many outstanding merits including easy modification and stretchability. Nearly all liquid metal ink and components can be recycled.
The present end-customer-oriented liquid metal printing opens the way for large-scale personal electronics manufacture which is expected to initiate many emerging applications in education, design, industry, entertainment and more maker targets.
Yang, J. and Liu, J. (2014), "Direct printing and assembly of FM radio at the user end via liquid metal printer", Circuit World, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 134-140. https://doi.org/10.1108/CW-07-2014-0029
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