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Title:
APPARATUSES HAVING A NON-ELECTRICALLY WIRED MOVABLE PLATE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/074510
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
According to examples, an apparatus may include a first plate, a second plate positioned in spaced and intermediate relation with respect to the first plate, and a movable third plate positioned in spaced and intermediate relation with respect to the first plate and the second plate. Movement of the third plate may vary a mutual capacitance level between the first plate and the second plate. In addition, the first plate, the second plate, and the third plate may be electrically conductive plates and the third plate may not be electrically wired to another device.

Inventors:
SAKSA, Thomas A. (1070 NE Circle Blvd, Corvallis, Oregon, 97330-4239, US)
CHAFFINS, Sterling (1070 NE Circle Blvd, Corvallis, Oregon, 97330-4239, US)
DEKAM, Kevin P. (1070 NE Circle Blvd, Corvallis, Oregon, 97330-4239, US)
Application Number:
US2017/056371
Publication Date:
April 18, 2019
Filing Date:
October 12, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P. (11445 Compaq Center Drive W, Houston, Texas, 77070, US)
International Classes:
B29C64/10; B33Y80/00
Foreign References:
US20110169109A12011-07-14
US20170236644A12017-08-17
US8302270B22012-11-06
US20060203456A12006-09-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEMMON, Marcus B. et al. (HP INC, 3390 E. Harmony RoadMail Stop 3, Fort Collins Colorado, 80528, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1 . An apparatus comprising:

a first plate;

a second plate positioned in spaced and intermediate relation with respect to the first plate; and

a movable third plate positioned in spaced and intermediate relation with respect to the first plate and the second plate, wherein movement of the third plate varies a mutual capacitance level between the first plate and the second plate, wherein the first plate, the second plate, and the third plate are electrically conductive plates and the third plate is not electrically wired to another device.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 , further comprising:

a base component supporting the first plate and the second plate, wherein the third plate is spaced from the first plate and the second plate by a portion of the component, and wherein the third plate is in slidable contact with the base component.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the first plate has an arcuate shape that lies along a first plane, the second plate has an arcuate shape that is exterior to and spaced from the first plate along the first plane, and the third plate has an arcuate shape that lies along a second plane and extends over portions of the first plate and the second plate when the third plate is in a first rotated position and extends over portions of less than both of the first plate and the second plate when the third plate is in a second rotated position.

4. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the first plate, the second plate, and the third plate are formed of build material particles that are fused together by a 3D printing system with use of an electrically conductive fusing agent and the base component is formed of build material particles that are fused together with an electrically non-conductive fusing agent, and wherein the first plate, the second plate, and the third plate have non-rectangular shapes.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the first plate extends along a first plane, the second plate extends along a second plane, and the movable third plate extends along an intermediate plane between the first plane and the second plane, and wherein the second plate is positioned with respect to the first plate such that the second plate does not overlap with the first plate.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 , further comprising:

a base component having a curved surface, wherein the first plate is positioned along a first portion of the base component and the second plate is positioned along a second portion of the base component, and wherein the movable third plate is movable along an arcuate path with respect to the first plate and the second plate.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the first plate and the second plate are positioned along a first plane and the movable third plate is positioned along a second plane and wherein rotation of the movable third plate varies the mutual capacitance level between the first plate and the second plate.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the first plate, the second plate, and the third plate comprise inductor plates.

9. An apparatus comprising:

a first plate connected to a first conductive element;

a second plate connected to a second conductive element, the second plate being in a fixed and spaced relation with respect to the first plate; and

a third plate positioned near the first plate and the second plate without contacting the first plate or the second plate, wherein the third plate is movable and movement of the third plate with respect to the first plate and the second plate is to vary a mutual capacitance level between the first plate and the second plate.

10. The apparatus according to claim 9, further comprising:

an actuator attached to the third plate, wherein the actuator is to move the third plate with respect to the first plate and the second plate.

1 1 . The apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the third plate is not electrically wired to another device, and wherein the first plate, the second plate, and the third plate have non-rectangular shapes.

12. A method comprising:

forming, using a 3D printing system, a first conductive member in a first section of build material particles;

forming, using the 3D printing system, a second conductive member in a second section of the build material particles to be in a fixed position with respect to the first conductive member, wherein the second conductive member is formed at a proximal position with respect to the first member without contacting the first conductive member; and

forming, using the 3D printing system, a third conductive member in a third section of the build material particles to be movable with respect to the first conductive member and the second conductive member, wherein movement of the third conductive member varies a mutual capacitance level between the first conductive member and the second conductive member when a voltage is applied to the first member.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein forming the first conductive member and forming the second conductive member further comprise forming the first conductive member and forming the second conductive member in at least one base component , the method further comprising:

forming a first conductive via connected to the first conductive member through the at least one base component; and

forming a second conductive via connected to the second conductive member through the at least one base component, without electrically connecting the third conductive member to another device.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the build material particles are electrically non-conductive particles, wherein forming the first conductive member, forming the second conductive member, and forming the third conductive member further comprise depositing electrically conductive fusing agent onto the first section, second section, and the third section of the build material particles, the method further comprising:

depositing electrically non-conductive fusing agent onto the build material particles positioned in selected areas to form the at least one base component.

15. The method of claim 12, further comprising:

forming the first conductive member to have an arcuate shape that lies along a first plane;

forming the second conductive member to have an arcuate shape that is exterior to and spaced from the first conductive member along the first plane; and forming the third conductive member to have an arcuate shape that lies along a second plane and to extend over portions of the first conductive member and the second conductive member when in a first rotated position and to extend over portions of less than both of the first conductive member and the second conductive member when in a second rotated position.

Description:
APPARATUSES HAVING A NON-ELECTRICALLY WIRED MOVABLE PLATE

BACKGROUND

[0001] In three-dimensional (3D) printing, an additive printing process is often used to make three-dimensional solid parts from a digital model. Some 3D printing techniques are considered additive processes because they involve the application of successive layers or volumes of a build material, such as a powder or powder-like build material, to an existing surface (or previous layer). 3D printing often includes solidification of the build material, which for some materials may be accomplished through use of heat and/or a chemical binder.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0002] Features of the present disclosure are illustrated by way of example and not limited in the following figure(s), in which like numerals indicate like elements, in which:

[0003] FIG. 1 shows an isometric view of an example apparatus including a movable plate;

[0004] FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of another example apparatus including a movable plate;

[0005] FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a further example apparatus including a movable plate;

[0006] FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a yet further example apparatus including a movable plate;

[0007] FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a yet further example apparatus including a movable plate;

[0008] FIG. 6 shows a flow diagram of an example method for forming an example apparatus having a movable conductive member; and

[0009] FIGS. 7A-7C, respectively, depict isometric views of a 3D printing system at various stages in the formation of an example apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0010] Disclosed herein are apparatuses that may include a first plate, a second plate, and a third plate, in which the third plate may be movable with respect to the first plate and the second plate. That is, for instance, the first plate may be positioned in a spaced and intermediate relation with respect to the second plate and the first plate may be fixed relative to the second plate. According to examples, a sufficiently large gap may be provided between the first plate and the second plate such that a mutual capacitance level among the first plate and the second plate may be at or near zero when a voltage is applied to the first plate. In addition, the third plate may be positioned in spaced and intermediate relation with respect to both the first plate and the second plate such that the third plate may increase the mutual capacitance level between the first plate and the second plate when the third plate is positioned to overlap portions of the first plate and the second plate.

[0011] Particularly, the third plate may be movable with respect to the first plate and the second plate and may be moved with respect to the either or both of the first plate and the second plate such that the level of overlap between the third plate and the first and second plates may be varied. Varying the level of overlap may vary the electrical field effect generated by the third plate with the first and second plates. In this regard, the mutual capacitance level between the first plate and the second plate may be varied by moving the third plate with respect to the first plate and the second plate. In addition, the mutual capacitance level may be varied without the third plate being electrically wired to another device, e.g., a voltage source or drain. The third plate may thus be moved in a relatively simple and unencumbered manner. In addition, as the third plate may not contact the first plate or the second plate, the apparatuses disclosed herein may have relatively high reliability and may have relatively long useful lives. As a result, for instance, the apparatuses disclosed herein may be formed through additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing) techniques.

[0012] The apparatuses disclosed herein may be implemented as electrical devices such as resistive potentiometers, rheostats, slider controls, selector switches, or the like. In addition, although particular reference is made herein to the apparatuses functioning as capacitors, it should be understood that the apparatuses may function as inductors without departing from scopes of the apparatuses disclosed herein.

[0013] Before continuing, it is noted that as used herein, the terms "includes" and "including" mean, but is not limited to, "includes" or "including" and "includes at least" or "including at least." The term "based on" means "based on" and "based at least in part on."

[0014] With reference first to FIG. 1 , there is shown an isometric view of an example apparatus 100 including a movable plate. It should be understood that the apparatus 100 depicted in FIG. 1 may include additional components and that some of the components described herein may be removed and/or modified without departing from a scope of the apparatus 100 disclosed herein.

[0015] As shown in FIG. 1 , the apparatus 100 may include a first plate 102, a second plate 104, and a third plate 106. The first plate 102 may also be referenced herein as a first conductive member 102, the second plate 104 may also be referenced herein as a second conductive member 104, and the third plate 106 may also be referenced herein as a third conductive member 106 or a movable plate 106. Each of the first plate 102, the second plate 104, and the third plate 106 may be formed of an electrically conductive material.

[0016] According to examples, the plates 102-106 may be formed through implementation of a three-dimensional (3D) printing process. Particularly, and as discussed in greater detail herein, the plates 102-106 may be formed from electrically non-conductive build material particles, which may have powder or powder-like features, that have been fused together. In some examples, electrically conductive fusing agent may selectively be deposited on the build material particles and energy may be applied to bind the build material particles upon which the electrically conductive fusing agent has been selectively deposited. That is, application of the energy may cause the build material particles upon which the electrically conductive fusing agent has been deposited to at least partially melt such that the build material particles may selectively fuse together when cooled. The electrically conductive fusing agent may include conductive particles that may be dispersed within the interstitial spaces between the build material particles and may be sintered to one another, for instance, during another heating process to form the respective plates 102-106.

[0017] In other examples, a fusing agent and a separate conductive agent that includes electrically conductive particles may selectively be deposited on the build material particles and energy may be applied to bind the build material particles upon which the electrically conductive fusing agent has been selectively deposited. In yet other examples, the fusing agent may be a chemical binder that may bind the build material particles upon which the fusing agent has been deposited. The chemical binder may bind the build material particles when heat is applied to the fusing agent or in other examples, the chemical binder may bind the build material particles without application of heat. In addition, the chemical binder may include conductive particles or another agent containing conductive particles may be applied with the chemical binder. As used herein, "electrically conductive fusing agent" may refer to any of the individual fusing agents or combinations of fusing and conductive agents discussed above.

[0018] The build material particles may be spread into layers and the electrically conductive fusing agent may be deposited at selected portions of selected layers of the build material particles. That is, a first layer of build material particles may be spread and the electrically conductive fusing agent may selectively be applied at portions of the first layer at which the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 are being formed. In addition, energy, e.g., in the form of heat, light, etc., may be applied onto the layer to fuse the build material particles located at the portions of the layer at which the electrically conductive fusing agent was applied. This process may be repeated until the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 are formed. In addition, this process may be repeated on additional layers of the build material particles until the third plate 106 is formed.

[0019] To prevent portions of the third plate 106 from fusing with portions of either of the first plate 102 or the second plate 104, a number of unfused build material particle layers may be spread between the third plate 106 and the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. Likewise, to prevent portions of the first plate 102 from fusing with portions of the second plate 104, the build material particles provided between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may remained unfused. In other examples, a non-electrically conductive fusing agent may be applied to portions of the layers of build material particles positioned between the third plate 106 and the first and second plates 102, 104 and between the first and the second plates 102, 104. In these examples, application of the energy may cause the build material particles upon which the electrically non-conductive fusing agent has been applied to melt and to subsequently fuse together when cooled.

[0020] In addition or in other examples, electrically non-conductive fusing agent (which may equivalently be termed non-electrically conductive fusing agent, an electrically neutral fusing agent, an electrically insulating fusing agent, or the like) may be applied to other sections of the build material particles around the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. Thus, for instance, electrically non-conductive components may be formed around the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 to maintain the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 in the spaced arrangement shown in FIG. 1 . Electrically non-conductive components, which may also be referenced as base components herein, may also be formed on or around the third plate 106. In addition, the third plate 106 may be in slidable contact with a non-electrically conductive component formed around the first plate 102 and/or the second plate 104.

[0021] As shown, the second plate 104 may be positioned in a spaced and intermediate relation with respect to the first plate 102. For instance, the second plate 104 may be spaced from the first plate 102 by a gap 108 that electrically decouples the first plate 102 from the second plate 104. That is, for instance, the first plate 102 may be electrically connected to a voltage source (not shown) and the second plate 104 may be electrically connected to a voltage drain or ground. In addition, when a voltage is applied from the voltage source to the first plate 102, a current may not flow from the first plate 102 to the second plate 104 across the gap 108. In this regard, a mutual capacitance between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may be close to or equal to zero. [0022] As also shown, the third plate 106 may be positioned in a spaced and intermediate relation with respect to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. That is, the third plate 106 may be spaced from the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 by a distance 1 10 such that the third plate 106 does not contact either of the first plate 102 or the second plate 104. The distance 1 10 may be sufficiently small such that the third plate 106 may electrically couple to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 via electrical field effect when the third plate 106 is placed near both the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. That is, for instance, the third plate 106 may be movable to a position in which the third plate 106 is sufficiently close to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 such that when a voltage is applied to the first plate 102, a mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100, e.g., the mutual capacitance level among the first plate 102, the second plate 104, and the third plate 106 may be higher than when the third plate 106 is not present or is positioned away from the second plate 104.

[0023] As further shown, the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may extend along a first plane 1 14 and the third plate 106 may extend along a second plane 1 16 that is parallel to and spaced from the first plane 1 14. The third plate 106 may be movable with respect to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 as indicated by the arrow 1 12 along the second plane 1 16. In addition, the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may be stationary with respect to each other. Although not shown in FIG. 1 , the third plate 106 may be coupled to an actuator that may move the third plate 106 in the directions represented by the arrow 1 12. However, the third plate 106 may not be coupled or connected to a voltage source or drain, e.g., the third plate may not be electrically connected to any other device, which may simplify fabrication of the apparatus 100 via 3D printing while also enabling the third plate 106 to more freely be moved.

[0024] According to examples, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may vary depending upon the position of the third plate 106 along the direction 1 12 with respect to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. That is, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may be lower when there is a smaller amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and both the first and second plates 102, 104 than when there is a larger amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and the both the first and the second plates 102, 104. This may occur because the electrical field effect between the plates 102, 104, and 106 may be greater when there is a greater amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and the first and second plates 102, 104. Thus, by varying the position of the third plate 106 with respect to the first and second plates 102, 104, e.g., the amount of overlap that the third plate 106 has with both the first plate 102 and the second plate 104, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may be controlled. By way of example, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may be at or near zero when the third plate 106 does not overlap the second plate 104 and may be at a maximum level when the third plate 106 is centered between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104.

[0025] It should be understood that the first plate 102, the second plate 104, and the third plate 106 have been depicted as having rectangular shapes for simplicity purposes. As such, for instance, the first plate 102, the second plate 104, and the third plate 106 may have other shapes, such as tapered shapes, or may otherwise be varied in shape. In addition, the plates 102-106 may have different shapes with respect to each other. The plates 102-106 may have other shapes, for instance, to produce non-linear changes in the mutual capacitance level as the third plate 106 is moved. By way of particular example, the non-linear change in the mutual capacitance level may follow a logarithmic progression. In addition, although particular reference is made herein to the plates 102-106 as being capacitive plates, it should be understood that the plates 102-106 may instead be inductive plates without departing from a scope of the apparatuses disclosed herein.

[0026] Turning now to FIG. 2, there is shown a perspective view of another example apparatus 200 including a movable plate 106. It should be understood that the apparatus 200 depicted in FIG. 2 may include additional components and that some of the components described herein may be removed and/or modified without departing from a scope of the apparatus 200 disclosed herein.

[0027] The apparatus 200 may include the first plate 102, the second plate 104, and the third plate 106 discussed above with respect to the apparatus 100 depicted in FIG. 1 . However, the apparatus 200 differs from the apparatus 100 in that the first plate 102 may extend along a first plane, the second plate 104 may extend along a second plane, and the third plate 106 may extend along an intermediate plane between the first plane and the second plane. In addition, the second plate 104 may be offset from each other along the X direction by a gap 108, which may be of a sufficient distance to electrically decouple the first plate 102 from the second plate 104 and to cause a mutual capacitance between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 to be at or near zero.

[0028] The first plate 102 may be coupled or connected to a first conductive via 202, which may also be referenced herein as a first conductive element 202. In addition, the second plate 104 may be coupled or connected to a second conductive via 204, which may also be referenced herein as a second conductive element 204. Each of the first conductive via 202 and the second conductive via 204 may be formed of electrically conductive material, e.g., build material particles that have been fused using an electrically conductive agent that has been dispersed between the build material particles and sintered. According to examples, the first and second conductive vias 202 and 204 may be formed in respective sets of layers of the build material particles in similar manners to those discussed herein with respect to the formation of the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. In any regard, the first conductive via 202 may be electrically connected to a voltage source and the second conductive via 202 may be electrically connected to a voltage drain or vice versa.

[0029] As also shown, the first plate 102 may be supported on a first base component 206 and a second plate 104 may be supported on a second base component 208. The first base component 206 and the second base component 208 have been depicted in outline form to enable the first plate 102, the first conductive via 202, the second plate 104, and the second conductive via 202 to be visible. In some examples, the first base component 206 and the second base component 208 may be part of the same base component, e.g., may be connected to each other with an opening formed for the third plate 106. In any regard, the first base component 206 and/or the second base component 208 may maintain the first plate 102 in a spaced and fixed relationship from the second plate 104.

[0030] The first base component 206 and the second base component 208 may be formed of build material particles that have been fused together using an electrically non-conductive fusing agent as discussed herein. By way of example, to form the apparatus 200, an electrically non-conductive fusing agent may be deposited onto sections of layers of build material particles that are to form the first base component 206 and the second base component 208 while an electrically conductive fusing agent may be deposited onto sections of layers of build material particles that are to form the first plate 102, the second plate 104, the first conductive via 202, the second conductive via 204, and the third plate 106. In addition, the build material particles between the third plate 106 and the first and second plates 102, 104 may be unfused or may be fused with an electrically non-conductive fusing agent.

[0031] In some examples, a portion of the first base component 206 may be formed between the first plate 102 and the third plate 106. In these examples, the third plate 106 may contact the portion of the first base component 206 and may slide on the portion of the first base component 206. Similarly, a portion of the second base component 208 may be formed between the second plate 104 and the third plate 106 to maintain separation between the second plate 104 and the third plate 106. In this regard, the second plate 104 may be separated from the first plate 102 a sufficient distance along the Y direction to enable the third plate 106 to be positioned between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104.

[0032] Similarly to the discussion above, the third plate 106 may be spaced from both the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 by a distance that may be sufficiently small such that the third plate 106 may electrically couple to the first plate 102 and/or the second plate 104 via electrical field effect. That is, for instance, the third plate 106 may be movable to a position in which the third plate 106 is sufficiently close to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 such that when a voltage is applied to the first plate 102 through the first conductive via 202, a mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100, e.g., the mutual capacitance level among the first plate 102, the second plate 104, and the third plate 106 may be higher than when the third plate 106 is not present or is not positioned to overlap with both the first plate 102 and the second plate 104.

[0033] As further shown, the third plate 106 may be movable with respect to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 as indicated by the arrow 1 12 along the intermediate plane on which the third plate 106 extends. In addition, the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may be stationary with respect to each other. Although not shown in FIG. 2, the third plate 106 may be coupled to an actuator that may move the third plate 106 in the directions represented by the arrow 1 12. In addition, the third plate 106 may not be coupled or connected to a voltage source or drain, e.g., the third plate may not be electrically connected to any other device, which may simplify fabrication of the apparatus 200 via 3D printing while also enabling the third plate 106 to more freely be moved.

[0034] According to examples, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may vary depending upon the position of the third plate 106 along the direction 1 12 with respect to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. That is, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may be lower when there is a smaller amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and both the first and second plates 102, 104 than when there is a larger amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and the both the first and the second plates 102, 104. This may occur because the electrical field effect between the plates 102, 104, and 106 may be greater when there is a greater amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and the first and second plates 102, 104. Thus, by varying the position of the third plate 106 with respect to the first and second plates 102, 104, e.g., the amount of overlap, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may be controlled. By way of example, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may be at or near zero when the third plate 106 does not overlap the second plate 104 and may be at a maximum level when the third plate 106 is centered between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104.

[0035] Turning now to FIG. 3, there is shown a perspective view of a further example apparatus 300 including a movable plate 106. It should be understood that the apparatus 300 depicted in FIG. 3 may include additional components and that some of the components described herein may be removed and/or modified without departing from a scope of the apparatus 300 disclosed herein.

[0036] The apparatus 300 may include the first plate 102, the second plate 104, and the third plate 106 discussed above with respect to the apparatuses 100, 200 depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2. However, the apparatus 300 differs from the apparatuses 100, 200 in that the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may have arcuate shapes that extend along a common plane. In addition, the second plate 104 may have an arcuate shape that is exterior to the first plate 102 along the X direction and does not completely surround the first plate 102. As discussed herein, the second plate 104 may be spaced from the first plate 102 by a sufficient distance to electrically decouple the first plate 102 from the second plate 104 and to cause a mutual capacitance between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 to be at or near zero.

[0037] The third plate 106 may extend along another plane that is spaced from the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 along the Y direction. The third plate 106 may include an arcuate shape that is of sufficient size to extend over portions of both of the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 when the third plate 106 is in the position shown in FIG. 3. However, the third plate 106 may be rotated to another position in which the third plate 106 extends over the first plate 102 without extending over a portion of the second plate 104. As such, the portion of the third plate 106 that is able to extend over both the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may not extend across the entire diameter of the third plate 106 as shown in FIG. 3.

[0038] The third plate 106 may be rotatable in either or both of the directions indicated by the arrow 302 to vary the amount that the third plate 106 concurrently overlaps both the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. Although not shown in FIG. 3, the third plate 106 may be coupled to an actuator that may move the third plate 106 in either or both of the directions represented by the arrow 302. However, the third plate 106 may not be coupled or connected to a voltage source or drain, e.g., the third plate 106 may not be electrically connected to any other device, which may simplify 3D printing of the apparatus 300. By way of example, by not having to electrically connect the third plate 106 to another device, the third plate 106 may rotate freely because the third plate 106 is not tethered to the other device.

[0039] The mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 300 may vary depending upon the rotational position of the third plate 106 along the direction(s) 302 with respect to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. That is, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 300 may be lower when there is a smaller amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and both the first and second plates 102, 104 than when there is a larger amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and the both the first and the second plates 102, 104. Thus, by varying the rotational position of the third plate 106 with respect to the first and second plates 102, 104, e.g., the amount of overlap, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 300 may be controlled. By way of example, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 300 may be near or at zero when the third plate 106 does not overlap the second plate 104 and may be at a maximum level when the third plate 106 covers a maximum amount of the second plate 104.

[0040] As shown, the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may be supported on or in a first base component 304 and the third plate 106 may be supported on or in a second base component 306. The first base component 304 and the second base component 306 have been depicted in outline form to enable the first plate 102, the first conductive via 202, the second plate 104, the second conductive via 202, and the third plate 306 to be visible. The first base component 304 and the second base component 306 may be formed in similar manners to the first base component 206 and the second base component 208 discussed above with respect to FIG. 2. In addition, the third plate 106 and/or the second base component 306 may be in slidable contact with the first base component 304.

[0041] Turning now to FIG. 4, there is shown a perspective view of another example apparatus 400 including a first plate 102, a second plate 104, and third plate 106. As shown, the first plate 102, the second plate 104, and the third plate 106 may each have a semi-circular configuration. In addition, the first plate 102 may be spaced from the second plate 104 by a distance 108 and the third plate 106 may be spaced from the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. Furthermore, the third plate 106 may extend along a plane that is parallel to a plane along which the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 extend. The third plate 106 may be attached to an actuator (not shown) via a connecting member 402. In this regard, when the actuator rotates the connecting member 402 as indicated by the arrow 404, the third plate 106 may be rotated with respect to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104.

[0042] Although not shown in FIG. 4, the first plate 102 may be connected to voltage source through a first conductive via 202 and the second plate 104 may be connected to a voltage drain through a second conductive via 204 as discussed herein. In addition, the third plate 106 may not be electrically connected to another device, which may enable the third plate 106 to rotate freely. Moreover, the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may be stationary with respect to the third plate 106. In one rotated position, the third plate 106 may overlap the first plate 102 without overlapping the second plate 104. In another rotated position, the third plate 106 may overlap portions of both the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. The mutual capacitance level between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may thus be varied by varying the amounts of overlap between the third plate 106 and the first and second plates 102, 104.

[0043] With reference now to FIG. 5, there is shown a perspective view of another example apparatus 500 including a first plate 102, a second plate 104, and a third plate 106. The apparatus 500 may also include a base component 502 upon which the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may be supported. The base component 502 may be formed in similar manners to the base components 206 and 208 discussed above. Thus, for instance, the base component 502 may be formed through selective application of an electrically non-conductive agent on electrically non-conductive build material particles. [0044] As shown, the base component 502 may include a curved surface and the first plate 102 may be positioned along a first portion of the base component 502 and the second plate 104 may be positioned along a second portion of the base component 502. In this regard, the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may also follow the curvature of the base component 502. In some examples, the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may be formed on the surface of the base component 502. In addition or in other examples, an electrically insulative barrier layer may be provided between the third plate 106 and the first and second plates 102, 104. In these examples, the third plate 106 may be in slidable contact with the electrically insulative barrier layer.

[0045] In any regard, the third plate 106 may be movable along an arcuate path in either or both of the directions represented by the arrow 504. According to examples, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 500, e.g., between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104, may vary depending upon the position of the third plate 106 along the direction 504 with respect to the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. That is, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 500 may be lower when there is a smaller amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and both the first and second plates 102, 104 than when there is a larger amount of overlap between the third plate 106 and the both the first and the second plates 102, 104. Thus, by varying the position of the third plate 106 with respect to the first and second plates 102, 104, e.g., the amount of overlap, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may be controlled. By way of example, the mutual capacitance level of the apparatus 100 may be at or near zero when the third plate 106 does not overlap the second plate 104 and may be at a maximum level when the third plate 106 is centered between the first plate 102 and the second plate 104.

[0046] Turning now to FIG. 6, there is shown a flow diagram of an example method 600 for forming an example apparatus 100-500 having a movable conductive member 106. It should be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that the method 600 may represent a generalized illustration and that other operations may be added or existing operations may be removed, modified, or rearranged without departing from a scope of the method 600. [0047] The method 600 is described with reference to FIGS. 7A-7C, which respectively depict isometric views of a 3D printing system 700 at various stages in the formation of an example apparatus 100 according to examples disclosed herein. It should be understood that the 3D printing system 700 depicted in FIGS. 7A-7C may include additional components and that some of the components described herein may be removed and/or modified without departing from a scope of the 3D printing system 700 disclosed herein.

[0048] The 3D printing system 700 may include a build platform 702, which may be in a build chamber within which an apparatus 100-500 may be fabricated from build material particles 704 provided in respective layers on the build platform 702. Particularly, the build platform 702 may be provided in a build unit and may be moved downward as the components of the apparatus 100-500 is formed in successive layers of the build material particles 704. Although not shown, the build material particles 704 may be supplied between a spreader 706 and the build platform 702 and the spreader 706 may be moved in a direction represented by the arrow 708 across the build platform 702 to spread the build material particles 704 into a layer.

[0049] The build material particles 704 may be formed of any suitable material including, but not limited to, polymers, plastics, ceramics, nylons, combinations thereof, or the like, and may be in the form of a powder or a powder-like material. Additionally, the build material particles 704 may be formed to have dimensions, e.g., widths, diameters, or the like, that are generally between about 5 μιη and about 100 μιη. In other examples, the build material particles 704 may have dimensions that are generally between about 30 μιη and about 60 μιη. The build material particles 704 may have any of multiple shapes, for instance, as a result of larger particles being ground into smaller particles. In some examples, the powder may be formed from, or may include, short fibers that may, for example, have been cut into short lengths from long strands or threads of material.

[0050] The 3D printing system 700 may also include a first agent delivery device 710, a second agent delivery device 712, and a heating mechanism 714. The first agent delivery device 710 may selectively deliver an electrically conductive fusing agent onto the layer of build material particles 704. The second agent delivery device 712 may selectively deliver an electrically non-conductive fusing agent onto the layer of build material particles 704. Generally speaking, a fusing agent may be a liquid that may enhance absorption of heat from the heating mechanism 714 to heat the build material particles 704 to a temperature that is sufficient to cause the build material particles 704 upon which the fusing agent has been deposited to transition to a partially molten state. In addition, the heating mechanism 714 may apply heat, e.g., in the form of heat and/or light, at a level that causes the build material particles 714 upon which the fusing agent has been applied to transition to the partially molten state without causing the build material particles 704 upon which the fusing agent has not been applied to melt. An electrically conductive fusing agent may also include conductive particles that may be dispersed within the interstitial spaces between the build material particles 704 and may be sintered to one another. The conductive particles may be sintered through application of heat at a higher temperature than may be applied by the heating mechanism 714. The higher temperature heat may be applied following the formation of the plates 102-106. In some examples, the fusing agent may include conductive particles that absorb heat in the process of sintering, while in other examples, the fusing agent does not include such conductive particles.

[0051] The electrically conductive fusing agent may include a liquid, such as an ink, a pigment, a dye, or the like, that contains electrically conductive particles, such as conductive metal particles. That is, the electrically conductive fusing agent may result in the build material particles 704 with which the electrically conductive fusing agent has been embedded to form an electrically conductive composite. The electrically non-conductive fusing agent may include a liquid, such as an ink, a pigment, a dye, or the like, that contains no or trace amounts of electrically conductive particles. That is, the electrically non-conductive fusing agent may not result in the build material particles 704 with which the electrically non-conductive fusing agent has been embedded to form an electrically conductive composite. In operation, the first agent delivery device 710, the second agent delivery device 712, and the heating mechanism 714 may be scanned across the build platform 702 as indicated by the arrow 716. In addition, a controller (not shown) may control operations of the spreader 706, the first agent delivery device 710, the second agent delivery device 712, and the heating mechanism 714 in forming any of the apparatuses 100-500.

[0052] With reference back to FIG. 6, at block 602, a first conductive member 102 may be formed in a first section 720 of build material particles 704. As shown in FIG. 7A, the first conductive member 102 may be formed in the first section 720 of the build material particles 704. The first section 720 may include a plurality of layers of the build material particles 704 and may be formed through operation of the spreader 708, the first agent delivery device 710, and the heating mechanism 714. That is, the spreader 706 may scan across the build platform 702 to spread a layer of the build material particles 704 and the first agent delivery device 710 may selectively deposit an electrically conductive agent onto the build material particles 704 located in the first section 720. Next, the heating mechanism 714 may apply heat onto the layer of build material particles 704. Application of the heat may cause the build material particles 704 upon which the electrically conductive agent has been applied to melt without causing the build material particles 704 that have not received the electrically conductive agent to melt.

[0053] Following formation of a portion of the first conductive member 102 in the current layer of build material particles 704, additional build material particles 704 may be provided in front of the spreader 706 and the spreader 706 may spread a next layer of build material particles 704 on the current layer. The first agent delivery device 710 and the heating mechanism 714 may be implemented to form another portion of the first conducted member 102 in this layer. This process may be repeated until the first conductive member 102 has been formed in a plurality of layers.

[0054] At block 604, a second conductive member 104 may be formed in a second section 722 of the build material particles 704. The second conductive member 104 may be formed in similar manners to those discussed above with respect to the formation of the first conductive member 102. In addition, the second conductive member 104 may be formed concurrently with the first conductive member 102, e.g., during common passes across the layers of build material particles 704. Although not shown, a first conductive via 202 (FIG. 2) may be formed beneath and connected to the first plate 102 during block 602 and a second conductive via 204 (FIG. 2) may be formed beneath and connected to the second plate 104 during block 604.

[0055] At block 606, a third conductive member 106 may be formed in a third section 724 of the building material particles 704. As shown in FIG. 7B, the third section 724 may be located in a separate set of layers of the build material particles 704 than the layers used to form the first plate 102 and the second plate 104. In addition, the third conductive member 106 may be formed in similar manners to those discussed above with respect to the formation of the first plate 102.

[0056] According to examples, at least one layer of build material particles 704 may be provided between the third conductive member 106 and the first and second conductive members 102, 104. The at least one layer of build material particles 704 may include build material particles 704 that are fused together or may include build material particles 704 that are not fused together. In examples in which the at least one layer includes fused build material particles 704, the second agent delivery device 712 may be implemented to apply an electrically non-conductive agent onto the old material particles 704 positioned between the third section 724 and the first and second sections 720 and 722.

[0057] According to examples, the first plate 102 and the second plate 104 may be supported by a base component 730 as shown in FIG. 7C. The base component 730 may be formed through deposition of electrically non-conductive fusing agent onto the build material particles 704 by the second agent delivery device 712. Although not shown, a second base component may be formed in a similar manner to support the third plate 106.

[0058] Although a particular example has been provided depicting the formation of the apparatus 100 depicted in FIG. 1 , it should be understood that similar 3D printing processes and procedures may be implemented to form the other apparatuses 200-500 depicted in FIGS. 2-5.

[0059] Although described specifically throughout the entirety of the instant disclosure, representative examples of the present disclosure have utility over a wide range of applications, and the above discussion is not intended and should not be construed to be limiting, but is offered as an illustrative discussion of aspects of the disclosure.

[0060] What has been described and illustrated herein is an example of the disclosure along with some of its variations. The terms, descriptions and figures used herein are set forth by way of illustration only and are not meant as limitations. Many variations are possible within the spirit and scope of the disclosure, which is intended to be defined by the following claims - and their equivalents - in which all terms are meant in their broadest reasonable sense unless otherwise indicated.