The latest edition of the RP Patent Alert Newsletter is now available on our
web site. Seventeen RP patents were issued during the last five weeks.
IN ADDITION, recent changes in US patent law to bring it into alignment with
the most of the rest of the world, now require publication of patent
applications after 18 months. One surprising aspect of the new law is that
publication can occur well before that time if an applicant requests, or if
foreign publication occurs before the period elapses. Indeed, applications
for rapid prototyping related patents have now begun to appear, and some of
them are less than 6 months old. Five RP applications were published during
Here are a few highlights of patents and patent applications issued from
7/17/01 to 8/21/01:
* Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) and related technologies are moving
smartly ahead: The National Research Council of Canada has received a patent
which is aimed at repairing turbine blades and the like, but with possibly
wider application. The claimed advantage of little or no post machining is
achieved by delivering material normal to the surface where it smoothly melts
into an already molten pool. Optomec has been granted a patent for using
multiple beams and nozzles to speed the LENS process, and the University of
California describes a means of splitting delivery powder flows into multiple
* A patent was granted to Daniel Graf of Germany for a method of solid
freeform fabrication similar to the Conveyed-Adherent laminated object
manufacturing (LOM) method previously patented by Marshall Burns. The
technique extends the prior art to the creation of metal and ceramic objects
and tools. A laser is used to cut layers of web-fed material which is bonded
into an object by a brazing process.
* Rolls Royce PLC of the UK has described a method of controlling a process
of freeform fabrication, based on robotically-controlled welding deposition,
directly from a CNC milling software program. Objects are built in sections
and the amount of data processing required is reduced.
* Jet soldering applications for surface mount components and similar
electronic devices move toward commercialization with two patents granted to
Speedline, Inc. The work is similar to that being done at the University of
California and that group shares invention credits.
* Nanotek has been granted two patents for freeform fabrication of baked food
goods and similar products. The method uses an extrusion process similar to
FDM. We sincerely regret that it is impossible to resist saying that the
company should be able to make a lot of dough with these patents.
* QQC Inc. has received a patent for a method of creating diamond-like
coatings (DLC) that can also be used to fabricate objects at macro and
mesoscales. The process most closely competes with CVD and related
technologies, but neither requires a vacuum nor a heated substrate. Multiple
lasers of multiple types are used to effect and control the build up of
* Napp Systems and Cymbolic Sciences share a patent on a method of increasing
the speed and sensitivity of photopolymers. While the patent is nominally
aimed at the generation of printing plates, the specification describes the
application of the invention to stereolithography and related processes. The
idea is to subject the resin to a pre-exposure below the polymerization
threshold immediately prior to imaging exposure.
There were numerous additional developments in photopolymer materials, the
fabrication of objects and supports in MultiJet Modeling, spray formed rapid
tools, vector drawing for stereolithography, etc.
PATENT APPLICATIONS PUBLISHED
* One of the more interesting applications this month describes Adam Cohen's
work at the University of Southern California in the area of electrochemical
Other applications published this month, include material covering the
dispensing of powders for three dimensional printing, photopolymers, tissue
engineering related materials as well as another application by Align
Technology for the InvisAlign (TM) Method of orthodontics.
If you're involved with the development of RP technology in industry or
academia, you should find this an easy and enjoyable way to keep up to date.
Our main patent database includes nearly 750 rapid prototyping patents.
>From our home page,
The Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping located at:
click the PATENTS button or use the direct link on that page.
Castle Island Co.
781-646-6280 (voice or fax)
For more information about the rp-ml, see http://rapid.lpt.fi/rp-ml/
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Jan 04 2002 - 09:57:45 EET