Rapid Ready Roundup: USPTO, MakerBot, Sculpteo, and Rubik’s Cube

In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.

Let’s start today’s Roundup with some attention from Uncle Sam. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced an additive manufacturing partnership meeting to be held at the USPTO campus in Alexandria, VA, on Jan. 23, 2013. Along with government officials, representatives from MakerBot, Stratasys and 3D Systems will be on hand.

No Guns

MakerBot has pulled all 3D printable gun data from Thingiverse.

“In addition to serving as a forum for users sharing ideas, experiences, and insights in the emerging field, the meeting will elicit discussions on how the USPTO can improve and expand its relationship with individual users.”

And speaking of MakerBot, in the wake of the recent school shooting tragedy, the company has pulled all plans for 3D printed guns from its Thingiverse site. Even before the latest incident, 3D printed guns were under scrutiny in congress for their potential to sidestep the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act. The law, which will expire in 2013 without new action, bans weapons that are basically invisible to metal detectors commonly used for security.

According to MakerBot’s attorney, Richard McCarthy, “… recent events served as the impetus to take immediate action.” And, “We reiterate or emphasize the site’s focus on creative empowerment for products that have a positive impact.”

Moving on, AM service bureau Sculpteo has raised €2 million ($2.5 million) from XAnge Private Equity to further develop its 3D printing cloud service. The cloud allows users to tap into their creative energies from multiple electronic angles. From the press release:

Since our launching in 2009 we developed 3D printing cloud solutions that let customers and businesses manufacture products from their 3D files: 3D printing through smartphone apps, web apps, embeddable stores, and customization tools.

Finally, how many of you remember struggling with a Rubik’s Cube at some point in your life? Did you ever wish the popular puzzle had been harder to solve? If so, your wish has come true.

Dane Christianson, a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Idea Shop, has developed and prototyped what he calls the “X-Cube” using a 3D printer. The new version of the classic puzzle has more moving parts than the original and is even harder to solve.

You can find a video of the nightmare that is the X-Cube below.

Sources: USPTO, BBC, Sculpteo, VentureBeat

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