Michigan Patent of the Month – May 2023
Shapeways Inc, the renowned 3D printing service provider, has made a significant contribution to the advancement of three-dimensional (3D) printing techniques by introducing on-demand printing services. This innovation enables customers to upload custom 3D models, select materials, and order printed objects to be built without the expense of purchasing and operating a 3D printer.
The company has recently been granted a patent for their 3D printing technique which includes both an efficient printing method and a cooling aspect. In this technique, Shapeways generates a printing plan which may allow for multiple 3D objects to be printed at once. Unprinted areas are then identified and reserved for the insertion of a cooling device.
The design allows for a range of cooling systems, building in versatility. The most common and easily implemented involves the circulation of cooling fluid to support the rapid cooldown of printed materials. This circulated fluid creates a heat transfer process, pulling the heat from the printed material into the cooled fluid, effectively cooling the printed material. As the fluid circulates, it moved through a refrigeration system, ensuring any oncoming fluid is always a temperature below that of the printed material, so that heat transfer can continue.
This method supports Shapeways’ on-demand 3D printing services and works with their most standard materials, including Nylon 11 and Nylon 12. The company regularly conducts R&D to improve efficiencies through automation, innovation, and digitization. The company’s purpose-built software, a wide selection of materials and technologies, and global supply chain lower manufacturing barriers and speed delivery of quality products. Headquartered in New York City, Shapeways has ISO 9001-compliant manufacturing facilities in Livonia, MI and the Netherlands and a network of verified partners around the globe.
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