Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Afinia Denies Stratasys’ Claims of Patent Infringement

Although many people might think of Apple v. Samsung as an example of modern big business gone wrong, the lawsuit has long been a staple of business strategy in the United States. Thomas Edison was notorious for his patent lawsuits, often using them to drive competitors out of business. This same strategy has been embraced by companies of every shape and size, but becomes more noticeable when giants rumble or when a larger company seems to be unfairly targeting smaller competitors.

By most analyst’s reckoning, the first big boom in desktop 3D printers came as a result of the expiration of key patents pertaining to Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process. The expirations galvanized the open source community, resulting in the RepRap, which in turn gave birth to companies like MakerBot. For a while it seemed as though Stratasys gave its blessing to these developments by not attempting to halt open source development with claims of patent infringement. That time now appears to have passed. Continue reading

Desktop Engineering and Stratasys Award a Mojo 3D Printer to Rapid Ready Sweepstakes Winner

In the wee hours of one morning, Joe Lutgen came across the DE-Stratasys Rapid Ready sweepstakes announcement. It offered Joe — and many others — a chance to win a Mojo 3D printer, priced around $9,900 retail. Joe, who owns and runs his own engineering consulting business RSI Mechanical LLC, is no stranger to 3D printing. He has used it while working with clients in the medical equipment, automotive, and aerospace sectors.

“Maybe I have a shot at this,” Joe thought. So he entered his name. A few weeks later, he received a call from DE‘s publisher Tom Conlon. That’s how Joe found out he was about to become the owner of a brand new Mojo. Continue reading

Stratasys Defines Itself and the 3D Printing Market

A year after the merger of Stratasys and Objet, and just months after its acquisition of MakerBot, the company was ready for its close-up. This week, Stratasys hosted the Manufacturing the Future Summit at its headquarters in Eden Prairie, MN. About a dozen journalists were on hand, and more dialed in, to hear Stratasys executives and their customers explain how 3D printing is not only saving them time and money, but enabling entirely new business models and new ways to design products. Continue reading

Stratasys Looks to the Future, One Layer at a Time

Last night, Stratasys signaled its intent to be as important a part of the 3D printing/additive manufacturing conversation in the media as it has been in practice. Its Manufacturing the Future Summit began with dinner at a restaurant, in which reporters from the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Popular Mechanics joined my colleagues and I in the trade press. Continue reading

Startup Company D3D Develops Slimmer Dual and Quad Extruder Head

Material extrusion is one of the oldest additive manufacturing (AM) processes, having initially been developed by Scott Crump, founder of Stratasys, in 1988. Time has seen many improvements to what Crump labeled Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM, but a large number of modern AM systems operate using what is, essentially, the same process developed more than 20 years ago.

One potential improvement to material extrusion was the addition of a second extruder head. This allowed AM systems to print in two colors and, potentially, with two different materials. The problem with adding a second extruder head is that it actually reduced the total build envelope of a 3D printer. Startup company D3D has developed a new, slimmer, universal (according to the company) dual and even quad extruder head. Continue reading