Science China Technological Sciences

, Volume 57, Issue 11, pp 2089–2095 | Cite as

Compatible hybrid 3D printing of metal and nonmetal inks for direct manufacture of end functional devices



The currently available 3D printing still cannot simultaneously deal with the metal and nonmetal inks together due to their huge difference in the melting points and poor compatible printability between each other. Here through introducing the low melting point alloy Bi35In48.6Sn16Zn0.4 and silicone rubber as functional inks, we proposed a compatible hybrid 3D printing method for manufacturing the desired device, the supporting substrate and the allied package structure together. The principle of pneumatic-typed 3D printing of multiple inks was described and typical physical properties of the ink Bi35In48.6Sn16Zn0.4 were measured. Several key factors dominating the printing quality such as the temperature of the printing head, the air pressure exerted upon the liquid metal ink in the syringe, the moving velocity and the height of the printing head etc. were clarified. A general way of directly printing out 3D structured electronic devices consisting of both metal and nonmetal materials was demonstrated. Such hybrid objects were patterned and formed up layer by layer with Bi35In48.6Sn16Zn0.4 alloy and silicone rubber which would become solidified after standing for a period of time under room temperature. To illustrate the compatible printability of these printing inks, a three-layer tricolor LED stereo circuit with controlled lighting capability was further manufactured and evaluated. The present study opens an important hybrid 3D printing way for directly manufacturing functional and structural end devices in an easy and low cost way.


liquid metal ink hybrid 3D printing compatible manufacture electronic device stereo circuit 


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of CryoBiomedical Engineering and Key Laboratory of Cryogenics, Technical Institute of Physics and ChemistryChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of MedicineTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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