Development of a Laser Solder Process for Use with Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Electronics Prototyping in Embedded Sensing Applications

Emerson Roland Armendariz, University of Texas at El Paso


Industrial and rapid prototyping (RP) trends toward miniaturization of electronic devices containing temperature sensitive electronics and surrounding materials are calling for highly controllable, selective laser soldering technologies. Laser soldering is a non-contact technique that eliminates the risk of marring or damaging sensitive components by precisely focusing a laser beam on a solder filler alloy, leading to a fast and non-destructive electrical joint. Using the benefits of accurate and controlled heat delivery via inexpensive low power laser diodes (LPDL’s) in conjunction with ever-increasing additive manufacturing capability in producing complex internal features and geometries, development and testing of a laser application system capable of soldering electrical interconnections embedded within thermally sensitive thermoplastics is investigated, with intent of producing electrically multifunctional end-use parts with embedding sensing capabilities, and with little human intervention. This system is intended to reinforce UTEP’s Multi3D hybrid additive manufacturing (HM) system which pauses prints produced via fused deposition modeling (FDM) to ultrasonically embed wire within any plane of a 3D printed thermoplastic substrate, followed by insertion of electronic components housed within predesigned cavities before print continuation to create functional and embedded circuits for rapid prototyping and embedded sensing applications. Methods for creating and placing the conductive pathways required for embedded circuitry have been explored, while non-contact methods for embedding and terminating of these circuits has yet to be investigated. Investigation of discrete, passive surface mount technology (SMT), as well as methods in which such components are terminated, is presented in this research in order to develop a laser soldering system and methodology for the Multi3D hybrid manufacturing system. A process plan for embedding and terminating a circuit during a build interrupt is reviewed, along with methods for machining designated electronic component cavities and preparation of all constituent materials for paste deposition before laser soldering testing. Tooling for laser system integration and positioning wasdesigned, along with laser controller programming for adequate temperature control.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering|Materials science|Computer Engineering

Recommended Citation

Armendariz, Emerson Roland, "Development of a Laser Solder Process for Use with Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing and Rapid Electronics Prototyping in Embedded Sensing Applications" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28718178.