December 20, 2012 AT 5:00 am

EFF: We Need Your Help! Join Our Fight to Keep 3D Printing Open #3dthursday

EFF

EFF continues to fight the good fight to protect the open hardware desktop 3D printer world with a follow up to their initial Call to Action that we covered back in the beginning of November. This time around, they have identified a handful of overly general patents currently passing through the system — requesting help from all of us who have been involved for a few years to help identify the prior art to puncture the claims of invention of the very root basics of how fused-filament fabrication and other methods function. (Thanks to several of you for emailing this tip to me, as I had overlooked it.)

A few weeks ago, we asked for your help to identify patent applications that threaten to stifle innovation in the 3D printing community. Now more than ever, it’s critical to make sure the free and open source community and others who work in the space have freedom to operate and to continue to innovate.

With your help, we have identified a lineup of top-priority patent applications that seem both overly-broad and dangerous to the free and open source community. Now it’s time to find proof that these patent applicants do not deserve the monopolies they are asking for: that what they are trying to patent was known or was obvious before the patent was filed.

Specifically, we need documents published before the filing date of each application. Web pages, emails, journal articles, or patents are all appropriate documents, as long as they were reasonably public. An email to a friend is not public, but an email to a large mailing list likely is, particularly if the mailing list was open for anyone to join. If the date of publication is not clear from the face of the document,  we’ll need to submit evidence of the date for the reference to count.

For each of the applications below, we’ve described the prior art we think would be most helpful. If you think we’re missing something important about one of these applications, don’t hesitate to write in and let us know. We’re counting on your expertise. Please email 3Dprinting@eff.org with any submissions and, if appropriate, let us know which target you think it applies to. Thanks!

Target 1: U.S. PATENT APP. NO. 12/976,111
PRINT HEAD ASSEMBLY FOR USE IN FUSED DEPOSITION MODELING SYSTEM
This application relates to inkjet-style removable print head cartridges used in Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printing. 

Target 2: U.S. PATENT APP. NO. 12/976,204
PRINT HEAD FOR USE IN FUSED DEPOSITION MODELING SYSTEM 
This application relates to a print head cartridge with a liquefier pump assembly for use in FDM printing. 

Target 3: U.S. PATENT APP. NO. 12/687,996
METHOD FOR GENERATING AND BUILDING SUPPORT STRUCTURES WITH DEPOSITION-BASED DIGITAL MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS
This application relates to a method of building up support structures layer-by-layer for 3D-printed objects.

Target 4: U.S. PATENT APP. NO. 13/043,876
BUILD MATERIALS AND APPLICATIONS THEREOF
This blandly-titled application relates to 3D printing with a material that can be cured (particularly with UV light), and also claims every object that is printed with such a method.

Read more.


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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!

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