After successfully embedding magnets, I started experimenting embedding whole PCB boards into prints. I am sure, this is no new idea, but I found it very interesting.
From the outside, the printed object looks solid and there is no trace of the board visible. The board and all electronics are perfectly sealed in the part.
The object is printed hollow with a space in the exact shape of the board at the top. The print is stopped just before the bridging layer above the space for the PCB.
At this point, the charging coil, battery and the board are inserted in the object and the print is resumed.
- If the object is printed using PETG or similar material, the object is perfectly water-tight:
- Decorative lights in the bathroom. 🛁
- Outdoor sensors. ☔️
- The board securely bridges even huge gaps at the top:
- Even with no electronics, hollow objects can be printed in one piece.
- Using a very thin last layer, inputs using capacitive touch is no problem at all.
- Small holes and reversed SMD LEDs can be used as an indicator at this side.
- The electronics are completely invisible:
- With additional coils and magnets, one can create stunning mechanisms.
- Hidden sensors can react to the usage of the object.
- Magic tricks. 🧙♂️🪄
- Puzzle boxes.
- If there is a problem with the embedded battery or electronics, the object has to be destroyed and printed again.
- The electronics must not generate a lot of heat, or you have to print vents into the object.
While it is for sure no new idea, I found it very interesting to experiment with electronics completely sealed in objects. I also successfully made designs, where just a micro USB port was visible on the outside of the object. This port was sealed after the print, using silicone and a thin layer of epoxy in the colour of the object.
I hope, this post gave you some inspiration to make own experiments with electronic boards embedded into prints.
If you have any questions, missed information, or simply want to provide feedback, feel free to comment below or contact me on Twitter. 😄