The Design and Prototyping Group of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing has developed a unique hybrid 3D printing process that allows electrical, optical and structural elements to be introduced throughout an additively manufactured component during the build process.
‘THREAD’ is a patent-pending process, which means components can now be manufactured with in-built, continuous connectivity and additional functionality passing through the X, Y and Z axes.
The fully automated THREAD process is suited to a variety of additive manufacturing (AM) platforms. It has so far been successfully demonstrated on machines used for 3D printing polymer components.
THREAD will be an advantage in the manufacture of components requiring encapsulated electronics. Components such as those used in medical prosthetics, consumer electronics or structural components that require electrical connections would have been secured externally to the component.
The AMRC is further developing the THREAD process and technology for various commercial markets.