Rice University demos a process to spray-on batteries. This is Another step towards fully automated fabrication.
It was easy to predict that 3D printing would be able to make electronic parts. The process Rice uses probably doesn’t actually need 3D printing to work but it fits the concept. Multiple layers of different materials are sprayed on a surface to create a battery.
Circuits are already being made using normal 2D printers by varying the thickness of the traces to create resistors and conductors. By using a 2 or 3 different materials the full range of electronic parts could be printed directly into the circuit so a robot could literally print a copy of itself. Stratasys and Optomec have already printed electronics.
The spray-on battery will make it easier to build batteries of different shapes and sizes. It will also make it possible for nearly anyone to make batteries anywhere in the world. This can drastically reduce the real costs in terms of time and materials.