3D Printed PCBs

3D printers are becoming more popular among electronic manufacturers who face supply problems and limitations in the production of circuit boards. 3D-printed circuit boards are more flexible and can be made faster than traditional production methods. They also offer significant cost savings, which can help produce more complex circuits.

A 3D printer creating a dinosaur

3D printed PCBs are especially appealing today because they allow manufacturers to manage their circuit board supply better. Better management will enable them to eliminate disruptions caused by plant shutdowns, shipping delays, or geopolitical maneuvering. These factors have strained circuit board supply chains in the past and left manufacturers searching for alternative solutions.

While this technology is still in its infancy and requires more research and development to make it mass-produced, 3D printing allows electronics manufacturers to produce circuit boards in-house. They can validate their iterations and gain practical insight that they won't get from outsourcing.

This technology has allowed manufacturers to rapidly bring new products to market faster than traditional electronics manufacturing. Optomec, a 3D printer manufacturer, claims its semiconductor solution can increase 5G signals up to 100 percent.

Manufacturers have adopted 3D Printed PCBs for many reasons. 3D printers can be used to build circuit boards using specialized software. Additive manufacturing can affect the circuit board industry in various ways, such as using additively made tools and fixtures in PCB production. 

3D PCB technology, although a relatively new addition to the electronics industry, has made rapid progress in recent years. 3D printing of specialized circuit boards is faster than traditional methods. Sometimes, you can also use a desktop FDM 3D printer with conductive filament.

Traditional circuits can take weeks or even months, but 3D printers can produce functional circuit boards in hours. Another critical factor is the ability to design your circuit. The 3D printer can have courses in more complicated shapes than traditional rectangular boards. This includes flexible boards, honeycomb structures, and even fully 3-dimensional boards.

A 3D printer making a PCB

The two main ways that PCB 3D printing technology works are to print the circuitry with conductive material or to print a circuit board with hollow channels, trenches, or channels that are later filled using conductive fabric. There are differences between these two methods.


Conductive materials are the type of 3D printing that you would expect to see. These 3D printers use conductive materials to create the circuitry. These materials are usually inks or filaments with conductive particles such as silver, copper, and graphite. These materials can also be sprayed with an aerosol-laden stream.

Inks are the most common choice in commercially-available PCB 3D printers. They use inkjets similar to those used in 2D printers to build the circuitry. The printers can have multilayered and double-sided circuit boards with components such as resistors, coils, LEDs, or LEDs. Some printers require a prefabricated substrate, while others can print the entire piece from scratch.

Another option is to print circuit boards with conductive filaments. These filaments can be printed with almost any FDM printer, making them more economical. The circuitry is likely to be bulkier and less efficient than those made from ink-based PCBs. While conductive filaments are unsuitable for commercial operations, they can be used for prototyping.


This second method creates a circuit board with hollow channels, where the circuitry will be. To make it function, you must print the circuit board using a non-conductive filament such as ABS or PLA. After printing, you will publish a case to store the conductive material you deposited into the media.

This allows you to create PCBs using any 3D printer that is sufficiently accurate. It has a higher conductivity than directly printed circuits, especially those with conductive filaments. It is, therefore, an economical option.

How electronics are made and designed is changing with 3D-printed circuit boards. 3D printing technology allows developers to create and print circuit boards of any size. This allows for greater creativity and innovation in electronics manufacturing.