Development of the thermal wire embedding technology for electronic and mechanical applications on FDM-printed parts

Daniel Abraham Marquez, University of Texas at El Paso


Additive Manufacturing (AM) has increased in popularity and attracted much attention from many fields such as automotive, aviation, aerospace, and even the fashion industry. Since the early 2000s, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technologies have been the most popular in the AM world (“Wohlers Talk” Popularity of FDM). These technologies have been mainly used for building parts for prototype and structural type of applications such as a fixture for components or a housing for mechanisms. With the current state of the FDM technologies, the functionality of the parts that are printed are limited to the applications listed before or simply just as visual aids. Adding more functionality to these structural parts allows the creation of end user parts which cannot be manufactured with traditional means of fabrication. Discussed in this work is the design and development of the thermal wire embedding (TWE) apparatus, describing three generations of the tool, each contains improvements to facilitate both wire embedding and maintenance. The TWE tool is designed to embed wires into the interlayers or surface of a FDM-built part. Adding conductive wires to an FDM-built part provides an electronic functionality to the design and due to the wires acting as a reinforcement, they inherently increase the mechanical properties of the part. The TWE tool is fully automated to drive wire at various speeds with the use of a DC motor and cut wire with the aid of a cutting mechanism. The TWE tool is capable of embedding wire of different gauges as well as different materials. The TWE can place wires a close as 0.5 mm apart without seeing any shorting between the wires. With the ability to adapt to different motion control systems, the TWE tool can embed 28 AWG copper wires in different orientations with a measured accuracy as close as +/- 29 μm of its intended position. The ultimate goal of this line of research is to incorporate the TWE tool with multiple technologies to create a multi-functional AM printed part.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Marquez, Daniel Abraham, "Development of the thermal wire embedding technology for electronic and mechanical applications on FDM-printed parts" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10118212.