3D Printing Innovation Aided by Expiring Patents
This year, 3D printing is set to explode, and it’s all thanks to the expiration of some key patents.
According to Tech Crunch, advanced 3D printing technologies will become accessible due to the expiration of patents on pre-existing industrial printing processes. These expiring patents — many of which were issued just before the turn of the century — are releasing the monopolistic control over processes that have long been held by the original pioneers of the 3D printing industry.
“For example,” Tech Cruch’s Filemon Schoffer explains, “when the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printing process patent expired in 2009, prices for FDM printers dropped from over $10,000 to less than $1,000, and a new crop of consumer-friendly 3D printer manufacturers, like MakerBot and Ultimaker, paved the way for accessible 3D printing.”
As the patents continue to expire, pricing will keep dropping, making the technology even more accessible.
This could have massive implications for a number of industries. As 3D printing technology drops in price, it will not only be available to more people, but it should lead to many new applications. As developers or companies get their hands on the technology for the first time, there’s no telling what they can fine-tune it to do.
As 3D printing technology continues to evolve, the possibilities have proven to be essentially limitless. There have been 3D printed bridges and houses and, that’s when the technology was barely available. Imagine what it could do in the mass-market? It has the potential to change everything.