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Old 11-10-2013, 03:23 PM #1
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Default Laser Sintering Patents?

Selective Laser Sintering Patent Expiration Will Not Be a Game Changer | Industry Market Trends

So 3D printing is basically the next big thing; kind of like 'Today' is 1995-1996 and we are talking about the Internet is the next big thing. At least, that's what I think, simply because I'm getting the same feeling I had in 1995 - that this thing is big, and all the naysayers are going to be chewing felt soon enough.

Well right now the big story is that a key patent in 3D printing is about to expire for machines that cost between $200,000 and $750,000. The above article argues that won't matter because the Chinese are scared of all the other patents and afraid of being sued. I think this kind of confidence is questionable.

I have ordered various laser components from China (which obviously now includes Hong Kong) and when I was last in Shanghai, I had the opportunity to get a good look at their tech industry from a civilian side, and it is definitely no joke. They innovate, and they market to their own people products the west will likely never see, but that also means they have the capacity for innovation necessary to circumnavigate other patent limitations to do their own thing.

I was curious what the rest of you in LPF thought about the idea of commercial or hobby kit laser scanning and laser sintering coming out of China?


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Old 11-11-2013, 07:31 PM #2
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Default Re: Laser Sintering Patents?

I agree 3D printing is going to be big but I am not sure the most widely used units will be laser sintering or laser scanning. Cheap source materials are key for the costs to come down and the laser sintering source material costs a lot, as far as I understand it. We use an older "plastic printer" type 3D printer here and it is great if you want to prototype something in ABS fast but even that ABS source material is fairly expensive.

We do see more and more innovation out of China and along with it more willingness to play by patent rules since they have their own IP to protect. I am just not sure laser sintering it the technology that will be the main driver of mass market 3D printers.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:17 AM #3
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Default Re: Laser Sintering Patents?

there's polymers obviously, but recently they have been doing neat stuff with ceramic-like components and particle board 3D printing. the mix of plastics and metal though composes the bulk of household objects, that's why I think metal printing will become critical to the 3D print revolution, adding support structure where other materials exist for aesthetics and practical but less durable purposes. Thermal ratings also need to come up - right now we can't 3D print in G10 and microwave safe plastics are still sketchy at best.
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:54 AM #4
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Default Re: Laser Sintering Patents?

I think DIY 3D metal printing will be a HUGE game changer. Will be interesting to see what happens with China and the Patent. I hope we can get something going Stateside

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Old 11-19-2013, 12:38 AM #5
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Default Re: Laser Sintering Patents?

Patents and China are comical

LB says the same as I said 4 years ago when 3d printers were first proposed (outside of labs), game changer will end up being an understatement.

On a similar note, a lot of years ago there was a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor built in the US, it ran for just under 4 years and it's safety / efficiency figures made BWR's and FBR's look like insane ramblings. So on a nice friendly exchange visit to Oak Ridge the oldest son of the former Chinese premier asked about the MSR documents from the 60's cancelled project. Oak Ridge gave him a copy of all of it quite freely (I have the same papers here) and surprise surprise China now plans on building 3 LFTR's before 2020.

Here in the west we will continue to build reactors that burn a fuel as as rare as Gold @ 0.5 - 0.7% efficiency.

The moment China get in to building 3D printers like they have with lasers it's all done for the Western developers.

In the West we plan 3 years ahead and keep getting it wrong, in China they plan 3 generations ahead and are making us in the West look like fools by selling US the stuff WE developed and walked away from.

God bless democracy...it clearly works so well....

cheers

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