36 US Patents and Applications Issued Related to Rapid Prototyping

From: EdGrenda@aol.com
Date: Tue Oct 16 2001 - 17:13:09 EEST

Good Morning:

The latest edition of the RP Patent Alert Newsletter is now available on our
web site. Eighteen RP patents were issued during the last six weeks and
another eighteen RP applications were published during this period.

Here are a few highlights of patents and patent applications issued from
8/21/01 to 10/2/01:

* MIT has been granted a patent for a method of producing electronic and
other devices based on inkjet deposition of nanoparticles of semiconductors
and related materials. The surprising result is to permit fabrication of
active electronic devices and complex systems in small numbers, without
tooling and without recourse to the harsh fabrication chemicals and
conditions generally required. Much work has been done with passive devices
in the past such as resistors, capacitors, etc., but this work opens the way
for much more interesting possibilities.

* In the area of tooling, Ford Global Technologies (now Visteon) has received
a patent for a method of repairing and modifying spray-formed tooling.
Regale Corp. discloses a method of fabricating tooling using RP for forming
products from fibrous slurries and the like, such as egg cartons. A method
of creating sandcasting tools using CNC to machine blocks of foundry sand
held together with binder has been invented by Gustafson. This entirely
avoids the use of rapid prototyping or any other type of pattern.

*Agfa-Gevaert (Belgium) has received two patents for methods of producing
spherical polymer particles with a narrow size distribution. The polymers
are claimed to be excellent for use in selective laser sintering.

* DSM has described a photopolymer with properties that are similar to
polyethylene and another compound which exhibits high impact strength and
folding resistance. Ciba has been granted a patent for a photopolymer with
improved yellowing characteristics.

* Patents have been granted to Princeton University for photocured ceramic
composites that are useful for fabricating orthopedic implants and to Implico
(Netherlands) for RP-generated lattice structures for bone implants.

* Three additional patents were issued to Delsys Pharmaceuticals for
manufacture of drug dosage forms and biomedical assay devices using
electrostatic deposition techniques. The method directly competes with
Therics' MIT-licensed three dimensional printing technology in this
application. For its part, Therics received a patent in conjunction with MIT
for dosage forms which exhibit controllable time release properties.

* The Institut fur Neue Materialien Gemeinnutzige GmbH (Germany) has received
a patent for photopolymers that can be used to produce crack-free objects
from such inorganic materials as silicon dioxide, zinc oxide, semiconductors
and a variety of optically useful materials. This offers the possibility of
extending the use of stereolithography to produce objects in glass and other
similar materials.

* Numerous application were published for medically related materials and
methods, including two follow-on applications from Johnson and Johnson for
photocurable hydrogels which can be used as scaffolds for tissue engineering
applications, and a follow-on application from MIT for comb copolymers for
regulating cell-surface interactions on such scaffolds. There were also
applications which address using RP to make skin-like coverings for
prosthetics and for replacement hip sockets.

* Rapid prototyping as a means of tooling and/or production were also well
represented this month with an improved build style for investment casting
applications from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and a method of
aligning semiconductor chips using stereolithography-fabricated components.
General Electric has disclosed a method of making hollow cast parts using
rapid prototyping-based tooling, and Neil Hastilow (UK) discloses a method of
fabricating and using dimensional conformance gauges. Fuj-Xerox (Japan) and
Xerox offer follow-on disclosures of layer-based methods of making small
systems such as inkjet print heads, and small electromechanical and
electro-optical devices.

* Minolta (Japan) complements its 3D scanning abilities with a method of
using inkjets to print on three dimensional objects. Overhangs are at least
partially compensated for by mounting the object on a multi-degree of freedom
table. A similar system was proposed on the RPML a couple of years ago, with
resultant objections to possible alignment errors. The Minolta authors have
concentrated heavily on analyzing and eliminating such errors.

* Boron nitride materials which offer good flow in extrusion applications are
disclosed by Advanced Ceramics Research. This may extend the use of fused
deposition modeling to additional applications. The company also discloses
additional materials for water soluble supports for that RP technology.

* Internet-based manufacture of custom footwear is discussed by Kun Woo Lee
et al (Korea). CNC is the method described for fabrication of custom lasts,
but this certainly addresses markets and applications of interest.

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 entire patent database now includes 850 rapid prototyping patents and

>From our home page,

The Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping located at:


click the PATENTS button or use the direct link on that page.

Ed Grenda
Castle Island Co.
781-646-6280 (voice or fax)
EdGrenda@aol.com (email)

For more information about the rp-ml, see http://rapid.lpt.fi/rp-ml/

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