The Art of Science
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(Quartz) 3D printing will explode in 2014, thanks to the expiration of key patents
Current 3D printers are cheap, but compared to where we’re going, they’re as Pong is to the iPhone.
Here’s what’s holding back 3D printing, the technology that’s supposed to revolutionize manufacturing and countless other industries: patents. In February 2014, key patents that currently prevent competition in the market for the most advanced and functional 3D printers will expire, says Duann Scott, design evangelist at 3D printing company Shapeways.
These patents cover a technology known as “laser sintering,” the lowest-cost 3D printing technology. Because of its high resolution in all three dimensions, laser sintering can produce goods that can be sold as finished products.