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76 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2020 This is an exciting time in the industry. Semi-additive and modified semi-additive PCB processes are being implemented, opening fabrication capabilities that were not previ- ously available, with a significant impact on PCB design. New materials are being released at a rapid pace. The advancements all provide benefits but also come with a learn- ing curve. My recommendation for successfully navi- gating that learning curve is to start a dialog with your fabricator as early in the design pro- cess as possible. Reach out to learn more about the process or materials that are not familiar. What is the best way to add those require- ments to a fabrication drawing? What are the potential challenges to manufacturing with these new processes or materials? How can the design maximize these benefits? Learning, understanding, and working together will save time, money, and likely plenty of headaches with technology that is new and "outside of the box." FLEX007 Tara Dunn is the vice president of marketing and business development for Averatek. To read past columns or contact Dunn, click here. Scientists from Waseda University, Japan, have devel- oped a metal–plastic hybrid 3D printing technique that produces plastic structures with a highly adhesive metal coating on desired areas. Also known as "additive manufacturing," 3D print- ing allows one to create arbitrarily complex 3D objects directly from their raw materials. In fused filament fabri- cation, the most popular 3D printing process, a plastic or metal is melted and extruded through a small nozzle by a printer head and then immediately solidifies and fuses with the rest of the piece. However, because the melting points of plastics and metals are very different, this tech- nology has been limited to creating objects of either metal or plastic only—until now. In a recent study published in Additive Manufacturing, scientists from Waseda University, Japan, developed a new hybrid technique that can produce 3D objects made of both metal and plastic. Their method is actually a major improvement over the conventional metallization process used to coat 3D plas- tic structures with metal. In the conventional approach, the plastic object is 3D-printed and then submerged in a solution containing palladium (Pd), which adheres to the object's surface. Afterwards, the piece is submerged in an electroless plating bath that, using the deposited Pd as a catalyst, causes dissolved metal ions to stick to the object. While technically sound, the conventional approach produces a metallic coating that is non-uniform and adheres poorly to the plastic structure. In contrast, in the new hybrid method, a printer with a dual nozzle is used; one nozzle extrudes standard melted plastic (acryloni- trile butadiene styrene, or ABS) whereas the other extrudes ABS loaded with PdCl2. By selectively printing layers using one nozzle or the other, specific areas of the 3D object are loaded with Pd. Then, through electroless plating, one finally obtains a plastic struc- ture with a metallic coating over selected areas only. (Source: Waseda University) The Best of Both Worlds: A New Take on Metal–Plastic Hybrid 3D Printing

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