Metal Binder Jetting
Automotive Polymers

Stratasys Awarded Patent for Concealing Seams within the 3D Printing Process

Share this Article

Examples of seams within a 3D print

Examples of seams within a 3D print

As I have mentioned in the past, it’s my personal opinion that technologies like stereolithography (SLA) will eventually win out in the battle for the consumer 3D printing market. The main reason I believe this is because SLA technology currently is able to produce much more intricate end products, usually lacking any appearance of seams or layering. Since there is no continuous flow of material used within the SLA process, there are typically very few undesirable points where layers or seams within a particular layer noticably meet. Although built layer-by-layer, the fact that a laser or other light source is curing a liquid resin point-by-point or layer-by-layer (if using a DLP projector as a light source) means such imperfections are less apparent. This is opposed to the FDM/FFF printing processes in which layers and seams (areas where layers meet up) are much more apparent.

Stratasys, which relies heavily on their Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printers for a large part of their business, via their Fortus and uPrint lines of machines, in addition to the machines sold by their consumer-targeted subsidiary MakerBot, realizes the importance of the continued success of FDM technology within the market. Clearly they have been working on methods to improve the output of such printing methods.s1

This week the company was awarded patent number 8,974,715 B2 for a method to conceal seams within an FDM printed object. Assigned to Stratasys Inc., and invented by Paul E. Hopkins and Donald J. Holzwarth, the process seems to be quite an interesting approach to eliminate some of the less than desirable elements of the FDM printing process. The main purpose of the invention is summarized by the following passage within the filing:

“A method for building a 3D model with an extrusion-based digital manufacturing system. The method includes generating a contour tool path that defines an interior region of a layer of the 3D model, where the contour tool path comprises a start point and a stop point, and where at least one of the start point and the stop point is located within the interior region of the layer.”

Although the terminology and diagrams provided within the filing are rather complicated and difficult to follow, the main ideas behind these methods are rather simple. By using a technique to print two different exterior layers of a model (one on the outer edge and one on the inner edge) which overlap within the interior of the object, seams where a particular layer typically would meet are eliminated, leaving a much smoother layer within an object.  The patent covers a process of adjusting start and/or stop points of the contour tool paths of a layer so that they fall within the interior boundaries of the printed object

s2

Although this patent does not cover a process to reduce actual layering, the techniques used here will at least reduce the bulging and porosity often seen where a start and stop point of a single layer meet up, shifting all such convergence areas into the printed object itself, rather than on its exterior.

It will be interesting to see if Stratasys implements such a process within their software or somehow they hard wire it into the machines themselves. Now all they need to figure out is how to reduce or eliminate layering.

Let’s hear your thoughts on this patent in the Stratasys Seam Concealing Patent forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing News Briefs, August 13, 2022: Natural Fibers, Robotic Gripper, & More

3D Printing News Unpeeled, Live with Joris Peels Friday 12th of August



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

“We Have Limitless Opportunities to Fuel Growth” Says Randy Altschuler after Xometry’s Q2 Earnings

The last few years have been rough for the capital market. Between the Covid-related economic slowdown, inflation’s impact on stock returns, and an ongoing war in Ukraine, the stock market...

Metal 3D Printing Firm Velo3D Announces Impressive Q2 Earning

US financial markets appear to be in a state of limbo. For one thing, there are few clear opinions circulating concerning the question as to whether the American economy is,...

3D Printing News Unpeeled, Live with Joris Peels Thursday 11th of August

Today we’re going to discuss 3D printed sunglasses from Givenchy, 3D printing drone swarms, more sustainable 3D printing materials for buildings by ORNL, 3D printing earnings season and more.  

3D Printing News Unpeeled, Live with Joris Peels – Wednesday 10th of August

Today we’re going to discuss 3D printed razors, CERN and more in this live cast of the 3D Printing news.