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64 The PCB Design Magazine • March 2016 by Barry Matties We've been hearing a lot about 3D printing for the past few years. But where does 3D print- ing fit in with traditional rigid circuit board development? Sunstone Circuits recently com- pleted a project that focused on that very ques- tion. Sunstone Product Manager Nolan John- son explains why 3D printing is a viable option when it comes to jigs and parts of the support infrastructure that are needed when prototyp- ing today's emerging technologies. Barry Matties: Nolan, today we're talking about some new technology that you're demonstrating here. Why don't you start by telling us about it. Nolan Johnson: Sure. We're here at the IDTe- chEx printed electronics show where there are a lot of emerging technologies around graphene, printed electronics, energy, IoT, wearable devic- es, and that sort of thing. Matties: Where does the traditional rigid circuit board work fit into that sort of environment? Johnson: Well, the story that we're telling here is this: We did a project starting with some open- source designs for a smartwatch, a Bluetooth connection to an Android application, and we started with some off-the-shelf components. We breadboarded together the design, con- firmed that it would work, and then we started using our expertise at Sunstone with PCB123® to design a custom single board to hold the Ar- duino and all the support electronics. We made a single board for the smartwatch, and attached that to an OLED display. Then using our sister company, 3D Fixtures (, we rapid prototyped a series of watch cases and a jig. The jig has some control circuitry under- neath that is a basic circuit board. With this, we can take the board once it's back from manufac- turing and assembly, snap it into the jig, pro- gram it, make it a functional watch, and put it into the case. We counted the hours to do this from start to finish including rapid prototyping the jig, concurrently with having the boards manufac- tured. Everything came together on the work- bench on the same day and to go from the start Sunstone Circuits R&D: 3D Printing Great for Prototyping interVieW

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