In the last decade, research focused on 3D printing is no longer limited to the creation of prototypes but includes the manufacture of functional end-use products as well. As patents for 3D printing processes expire and as industry begins to recognize the benefits of additive manufacturing, adoption is increasing. Several application areas such as thermal management and electromagnetic devices stand to benefit given the freedom of these new manufacturing capabilities – with complex geometries, part consolidation, and mass customization. In this study, a 3D fractal antenna was designed in CAD and manufactured with a variety of AM or AM-enabled processes to evaluate suitability. The evaluation included comparisons of dimensional accuracy, material options, surface finish (affecting high-frequency operation), mechanical and electromagnetic performance, maximum build volume and minimum feature size. Additive Manufacturing technologies to be included are powder bed fusion, metal casting with binder and material jetted molds and directed energy deposition.
- Identify an AM process appropriate for complex antennas.
- Describe important aspects of fractal antennas.
- Identify several common geometries for fractal antennas.