Big 3D Printing Needs To Stop The Bullying



Stratasys, one of the two giants in the 3D printing market (the other is 3DSystems), is on a roll. This summer it bought one of the biggest and beloved home 3D-printer makers, MakerBot, and watched its printers churn out the first 3D-printed gun. Now it’s back in the news for suing printer reseller Afinia for infringing on its patents.

These patents cover some of the most basic aspects of 3D printing, from the process of creating “infill,” the cross-hatched pattern that printers use to support the inside, to the heated plate that keeps objects stuck during printing. MakerBot, in fact, has long infringed on these very same patents and, for most of its existence, has skirted lawsuits, albeit with positive results. Many smaller manufactures haven’t been so lucky.

Even Formlabs, makers of the Form One stereolithographic machine, weren’t immune. They went to market last December while facing…

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