Three-dimensional structural electronic integration for small satellite fabrication

Cassie Denise Gutierrez, University of Texas at El Paso


The ability to realize truly three-dimensional electronic circuits is complicated if not impossible using traditional fabrication techniques. Such techniques are limited to the use of two dimensional printed circuit boards (PCBs), and require various dissonant processes which exhaust time, volume and cost. Due to the nature of Additive Manufacturing (AM) such problems are diminished and in some ways completely overcome. Additive Manufacturing allows for a higher range of design freedom along conformal surfaces, as well as unit level customization; it is the threshold for embedded electronics, allowing for three-dimensional circuitry in ways traditional fabrication is unfeasible. In such ways, additive technologies provide for a diverse range of optimization toward space applications, such as small satellites. Specific to this research is the CubeSat project, which is the use of small satellites to provide for low cost fabrication, as well as shared launches. The purpose of UTEP's collaboration with the CubeSat project is to prove not only the successful integration of additive technologies for low cost fabrication of small satellites but participate in the launch and prove the performance of such fabricated devices in space research. The Additive technologies described within this thesis are both Stereolithography and Fused Deposition Modeling. Also discussed are the Direct Print process used and the conductive ink required to fabricate the conductive traces of circuitry. The fabrication process and advantages of said technologies, as well as those of the materials required, are discussed in reference to space applications. The following research incorporates an avant-garde approach to fabricating small satellites, calling for the use of both additive technologies as well as Direct Print processes. Described herein is the process for creating such structures, the advantages Additive and Direct Print technologies offer toward the fabrication of said structures and the successful fabrication of a CubeSat module section, set to launch in 2012.^

Subject Area

Engineering, Electronics and Electrical

Recommended Citation

Gutierrez, Cassie Denise, "Three-dimensional structural electronic integration for small satellite fabrication" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1512575.