The issues and the debates that surround the 3D printing domain are interesting — and important — but it is fundamentally exciting when a new development emerges, in terms of the capabilities of the tech, that really push the technology closer to mainstream adoption. When that development is part quality on a machine that is destined to be in the self-build, possibly open source, lower-end of the market it makes the wow factor even sweeter.
Junior Veloso, whose blog depicting his development of a new resin-based 3D printer can be found here: http://3dhomemade.blogspot.com, has most recently posted his results using imagery that is startling. The noteworthy results illustrate parts that are built with 50 micron accuracy on a machine that will compete with RepRap, Makerbot and BfB, all deposition machines.
Judging by the comments on his posts, Mr Veloso has a flourishing number of followers, with most offering enthusiastic support. A minority, however, proffer cynicism, which, in my opinion, is disappointing but unsurprising.
The aim is to get this project sponsored through Kickstarter following planned improvements, which Junior documents in his March 31st post.
This is one to watch and I wish Junior every success as he brings this project to fulfillment.
Monday, 11 April 2011
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Competition has always been strong between the additive machine manufacturers and for many years patent infringements on technology rights have been submitted and challenged in various courts of law. These have been noteworthy, up to a certain point, in terms of monitoring technology development and market dynamics and, sadly, it is an inherent part of any technology sector.
However, as additive manufacturing and 3D printing continue to grow in popularity as a means of production, a more compelling angle on the legalities of intellectual property (IP) is emerging.
The twitter-sphere is awash with the news that conflict has arisen within the 3D Printing world over rights to IP pertaining to a 3D design made available online for 3D printing. The full story is documented well by Peter Hanna, here: http://goo.gl/fb/8C1xS. The problem seems to have been resolved with minimal pain but one can't help but think this is just the beginning. Furthermore, the feral nature of the legal profession (it won't take long for the $$ signs to light up their eyes) will not aid online 3D printing organisations, who will need to take serious measures to avoid being taken down by threats of real (or perceived) IP infringement. In real terms, this will increase the costs for the supplier and, therefore, the purchaser of 3D printed goods. You only need to consider your motor insurance premiums to see how that particular scenario can play out.
Protecting intellectual property is important, I am not dismissing the issue in any way, but it will be a precarious balancing act for burgeoning organisations, which could well inflict limitations on how the market develops.