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Patent Analysis of

3-D electrostatic printer using rack and pinion registration system

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10000010

Application Number

US15/196217

Application Date

29 June 2016

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

XEROX CORPORATION

Original Assignee (Applicant)

XEROX CORPORATION

International Classification

B29C64/20,B29C64/227,B29C64/386,B33Y30/00,B33Y40/00

Cooperative Classification

B29C64/20,B29C64/227,B29C64/386,B29C64/40,B33Y30/00

Inventor

IRIZARRY, ROBERTO A.,FESS, DONALD R.,TERRERO, CARLOS M.,HANNA, BRIAN A.,SAXTON, LYNN C.

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10000010 3-D electrostatic printer rack 1 US10000010 3-D electrostatic printer rack 2 US10000010 3-D electrostatic printer rack 3
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Abstract

3-D printing system include development stations positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials to an intermediate transfer surface, a transfer station adjacent the intermediate transfer surface, guides adjacent the transfer station, and platens moving on the guides. The guides are shaped to direct the platens to repeatedly pass the transfer station and come in contact with the intermediate transfer surface at the transfer station. The intermediate transfer surface transfers a layer of the build and support materials to the platens each time the platens contact the intermediate transfer surface at the transfer station to successively form layers of the build and support materials on the platens. The platens and the intermediate transfer surface include rack and pinion structures that temporarily join at the transfer station, as the platens pass the transfer station, to align the platens with the intermediate transfer surface as the platens contact the intermediate transfer surface.

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Claims

1. A three-dimensional (3-D) printing system comprising: an intermediate transfer surface; development stations positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials to said intermediate transfer surface; a transfer station adjacent said intermediate transfer surface; guides adjacent said transfer station; and platens moving on said guides, said guides are shaped to direct said platens to pass said transfer station and come in contact with said intermediate transfer surface at said transfer station, said intermediate transfer surface transfers a layer of said build and support materials to said platens each time said platens contact said intermediate transfer surface at said transfer station to successively form layers of said build and support materials on said platens, said platens include a rack structure, said intermediate transfer surface includes a pinion structure, and said rack structure temporarily join with said pinion structure at said transfer station, as said platens pass said transfer station, to align said platens with said intermediate transfer surface as said platens contact said intermediate transfer surface.

2. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, said rack structure are shaped and sized to lock with said pinion structure as said platens approach said transfer station, and to unlock from said pinion structure as said platens depart from said transfer station.

3. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, said rack structure and said pinion structure are matching pairs of balls and sockets, and sprockets and cross-members.

4. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, said guides comprise at least one of rails, tracks, slots, magnetic pathways, or tubes.

5. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, said guides are positioned in a loop and return said platens to said transfer station after said platens pass through said transfer station to have more of said layers of said build and support materials transferred to said platens.

6. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, further comprising a drive device moving said platens along said guides.

7. The 3-D printing system according to claim 6, said drive device comprising at least one of an electric motor, a chain drive, and magnetic drive units.

8. A three-dimensional (3-D) printing system comprising: an intermediate transfer belt (ITB); development stations positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials to said ITB; a transfer station adjacent said ITB; guides adjacent said transfer station; and platens moving on said guides, said guides are shaped to direct said platens to repeatedly pass said transfer station and come in contact with said ITB at said transfer station, said ITB transfers a layer of said build and support materials to said platens each time said platens contact said ITB at said transfer station to successively form layers of said build and support materials on said platens, said platens include a rack structure, said ITB includes a pinion structure, said rack structure temporarily join with said pinion structure at said transfer station, as said platens pass said transfer station, to align said platens with said ITB as said platens contact said ITB, and said platens include a height adjustment that moves a surface said platen away from said ITB as a stack of said layers on said platens becomes larger.

9. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, said rack structure are shaped and sized to lock with said pinion structure as said platens approach said transfer station, and to unlock from said pinion structure as said platens depart from said transfer station.

10. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, said rack structure and said pinion structure are matching pairs of balls and sockets, and sprockets and cross-members.

11. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, said guides comprise at least one of rails, tracks, slots, magnetic pathways, or tubes.

12. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, said guides are positioned in a loop and return said platens to said transfer station after said platens pass through said transfer station to have more of said layers of said build and support materials transferred to said platens.

13. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, further comprising a drive device moving said platens along said guides.

14. The 3-D printing system according to claim 13, said drive device comprising at least one of an electric motor, a chain drive, and magnetic drive units.

15. A three-dimensional (3-D) printing system comprising: an intermediate transfer belt (ITB); development stations positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials to said ITB; a transfer station adjacent said ITB; guides adjacent said transfer station, said guides define a path; and wheeled platens moving on said guides, said guides restrict movement of said wheeled platens to only said path, said guides are shaped to direct said wheeled platens to repeatedly pass said transfer station and come in contact with said ITB at said transfer station, said ITB transfers a layer of said build and support materials to said wheeled platens each time said wheeled platens contact said ITB at said transfer station to successively form layers of said build and support materials on said wheeled platens, said wheeled platens include a rack structure, said ITB includes a pinion structure, said rack structure temporarily join with said pinion structure at said transfer station, as said wheeled platens pass said transfer station, to align said wheeled platens with said ITB as said wheeled platens contact said ITB, and said wheeled platens include a height adjustment that moves the top surface said platen away from said ITB as a stack of said layers on said wheeled platens becomes larger.

16. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, said rack structure are shaped and sized to lock with said pinion structure as said wheeled platens approach said transfer station, and to unlock from said pinion structure as said wheeled platens depart from said transfer station.

17. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, said rack structure and said pinion structure are matching pairs of balls and sockets, and sprockets and cross-members.

18. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, said guides comprise at least one of rails, tracks, slots, magnetic pathways, or tubes.

19. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, said guides are positioned in a loop and return said wheeled platens to said transfer station after said wheeled platens pass through said transfer station to have more of said layers of said build and support materials transferred to said wheeled platens.

20. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, further comprising a drive device moving said wheeled platens along said guides.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A three-dimensional (3-D) printing system comprising:
    • an intermediate transfer surface
    • development stations positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials to said intermediate transfer surface
    • a transfer station adjacent said intermediate transfer surface
    • guides adjacent said transfer station
    • and platens moving on said guides, said guides are shaped to direct said platens to pass said transfer station and come in contact with said intermediate transfer surface at said transfer station, said intermediate transfer surface transfers a layer of said build and support materials to said platens each time said platens contact said intermediate transfer surface at said transfer station to successively form layers of said build and support materials on said platens, said platens include a rack structure, said intermediate transfer surface includes a pinion structure, and said rack structure temporarily join with said pinion structure at said transfer station, as said platens pass said transfer station, to align said platens with said intermediate transfer surface as said platens contact said intermediate transfer surface.
    • 2. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, said rack structure are shaped and sized to lock with said pinion structure as said platens approach said transfer station, and to unlock from said pinion structure as said platens depart from said transfer station.
    • 3. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, said rack structure and said pinion structure are matching pairs of balls and sockets, and sprockets and cross-members.
    • 4. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, said guides comprise
      • at least one of rails, tracks, slots, magnetic pathways, or tubes.
    • 5. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, said guides are positioned in a loop and return said platens to said transfer station after said platens pass through said transfer station to have more of said layers of said build and support materials transferred to said platens.
    • 6. The 3-D printing system according to claim 1, further comprising
      • a drive device moving said platens along said guides.
  • 8
    8. A three-dimensional (3-D) printing system comprising:
    • an intermediate transfer belt (ITB)
    • development stations positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials to said ITB
    • a transfer station adjacent said ITB
    • guides adjacent said transfer station
    • and platens moving on said guides, said guides are shaped to direct said platens to repeatedly pass said transfer station and come in contact with said ITB at said transfer station, said ITB transfers a layer of said build and support materials to said platens each time said platens contact said ITB at said transfer station to successively form layers of said build and support materials on said platens, said platens include a rack structure, said ITB includes a pinion structure, said rack structure temporarily join with said pinion structure at said transfer station, as said platens pass said transfer station, to align said platens with said ITB as said platens contact said ITB, and said platens include a height adjustment that moves a surface said platen away from said ITB as a stack of said layers on said platens becomes larger.
    • 9. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, said rack structure are shaped and sized to lock with said pinion structure as said platens approach said transfer station, and to unlock from said pinion structure as said platens depart from said transfer station.
    • 10. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, said rack structure and said pinion structure are matching pairs of balls and sockets, and sprockets and cross-members.
    • 11. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, said guides comprise
      • at least one of rails, tracks, slots, magnetic pathways, or tubes.
    • 12. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, said guides are positioned in a loop and return said platens to said transfer station after said platens pass through said transfer station to have more of said layers of said build and support materials transferred to said platens.
    • 13. The 3-D printing system according to claim 8, further comprising
      • a drive device moving said platens along said guides.
  • 15
    15. A three-dimensional (3-D) printing system comprising:
    • an intermediate transfer belt (ITB)
    • development stations positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials to said ITB
    • a transfer station adjacent said ITB
    • guides adjacent said transfer station, said guides define a path
    • and wheeled platens moving on said guides, said guides restrict movement of said wheeled platens to only said path, said guides are shaped to direct said wheeled platens to repeatedly pass said transfer station and come in contact with said ITB at said transfer station, said ITB transfers a layer of said build and support materials to said wheeled platens each time said wheeled platens contact said ITB at said transfer station to successively form layers of said build and support materials on said wheeled platens, said wheeled platens include a rack structure, said ITB includes a pinion structure, said rack structure temporarily join with said pinion structure at said transfer station, as said wheeled platens pass said transfer station, to align said wheeled platens with said ITB as said wheeled platens contact said ITB, and said wheeled platens include a height adjustment that moves the top surface said platen away from said ITB as a stack of said layers on said wheeled platens becomes larger.
    • 16. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, said rack structure are shaped and sized to lock with said pinion structure as said wheeled platens approach said transfer station, and to unlock from said pinion structure as said wheeled platens depart from said transfer station.
    • 17. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, said rack structure and said pinion structure are matching pairs of balls and sockets, and sprockets and cross-members.
    • 18. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, said guides comprise
      • at least one of rails, tracks, slots, magnetic pathways, or tubes.
    • 19. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, said guides are positioned in a loop and return said wheeled platens to said transfer station after said wheeled platens pass through said transfer station to have more of said layers of said build and support materials transferred to said wheeled platens.
    • 20. The 3-D printing system according to claim 15, further comprising
      • a drive device moving said wheeled platens along said guides.
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Description

BACKGROUND

Systems and methods herein generally relate to three-dimensional (3-D) printing processes that perform electrostatic printing.

Three-dimensional printing can produce objects using, for example, ink-jet printers. In one exemplary three-stage process, an ink jet prints layers of build and support material on a platen, and each layer is hardened using a UV light source. These steps are repeated layer-by-layer. Support materials generally comprise acid-, base- or water-soluble polymers, which can be selectively rinsed from the build material after 3-D printing is complete.

The electrostatic (electro-photographic) process is a well-known means of generating two-dimensional digital images, which transfer materials onto an intermediate surface (such as a photoreceptor belt or drum). Advancements in the way an electro-photographic image is transferred can leverage the speed, efficiency, and digital nature of printing systems.

SUMMARY

Exemplary three-dimensional (3-D) printing systems herein include, among other features, an intermediate transfer surface, such as an intermediate transfer belt (ITB). Development stations are positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials to the ITB. Also, a transfer station is adjacent the ITB, and guides are adjacent the transfer station. The guides define a path, and wheeled platens move on the guides. Any form of drive device moves the wheeled platens along the guides (e.g., an electric motor, a chain drive, magnetic drive units, etc.). For example, the guides can be rails, tracks, slots, magnetic pathways, and/or tubes, etc. The guides restrict movement of the wheeled platens, so that the wheeled platens can only move within the path.

More specifically, the guides are shaped to direct the wheeled platens to pass the transfer station and come in contact with the ITB at the transfer station. The ITB transfers a layer of the build and support materials to the wheeled platens each time the wheeled platens contact the ITB at the transfer station, to successively form layers of the build and support materials on the wheeled platens. The guides are positioned in a loop and return the wheeled platens to the transfer station after the wheeled platens pass through the transfer station to have more of the layers of the build and support materials transferred to the wheeled platens. The wheeled platens include a height adjustment that moves the top surface of the platen away from the ITB as a stack of the layers on the wheeled platens becomes larger.

The wheeled platens also include rack structures, and the ITB includes matching pinion structures. The rack structures temporarily join with the pinion structures at the transfer station, as the wheeled platens pass the transfer station, to align the wheeled platens with the ITB as the wheeled platens contact the ITB. Thus, the rack structures are shaped and sized to lock with the pinion structures as the wheeled platens approach the transfer station, and to unlock from the pinion structures as the wheeled platens depart from the transfer station. In some examples, the rack structures and the pinion structures are matching pairs of balls and sockets, and sprockets and cross-members.

These and other features are described in, or are apparent from, the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various exemplary systems and methods are described in detail below, with reference to the attached drawing figures, in which:

FIGS. 1-2 are schematic cross-sectional diagrams illustrating printing devices herein;

FIGS. 3A-6 are various views illustrating rack and pinion devices herein;

FIG. 7 is top-view schematic diagram illustrating platens herein;

FIG. 8 is cross-sectional schematic diagram illustrating platens herein;

FIGS. 9-13 are schematic cross-sectional diagrams illustrating printing devices herein;

FIG. 14 is cross-sectional schematic diagram illustrating platens herein;

FIGS. 15-16 are schematic cross-sectional diagrams illustrating printing devices herein;

FIG. 17 is perspective-view schematic diagram illustrating printing devices herein;

FIG. 18 is cross-sectional schematic diagram illustrating printing devices herein;

FIG. 19 is top-view schematic diagram illustrating platens herein;

FIGS. 20-28 are schematic cross-sectional diagrams illustrating printing devices herein; and

FIG. 29 is an expanded schematic diagram illustrating development devices herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As mentioned above, electrostatic printing process are well-known means of generating two-dimensional (2-D) digital images, and the methods and devices herein use such processing for the production of 3-D items (for 3-D printing). However, when performing 3-D printing using electrostatic processes (especially those that use an intermediate transfer belt (ITB)), the mechanical integrity of the printed material may be compromised if it is very thin, and the transfer process can impose stripping shear forces that damage or smear the material.

As shown in FIG. 1, printing devices include an intermediate transfer surface, such as an intermediate transfer belt (ITB 110), and development stations 150-158 positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials 102 to the ITB 110. Also, a transfer station 138 is adjacent the ITB 110. More specifically, the platen 161 passes the transfer station 138 and comes in contact with the ITB 110 at the transfer station 138.

As shown in greater detail below, the ITB 110 transfers a layer of the build and support materials 102 to the platen 161 each time the platen 161 contacts the ITB 110 at the transfer station 138, and this successively forms layers of the build and support materials 102 on the platen 161. The platen 161 repeatedly returns to the transfer station 138, to have more of the layers of the build and support materials 102 transferred to the platen 161. The platen 161 include a height adjustable platform 168, and the top of the adjustable platform (the surface closest to the ITB 110) moves away from the ITB 110 as the stack of layers on the platen 161 grows (becomes larger) from more and more layers 102 are transferred to the platen 161.

The height of the height adjustable platform 168 can be adjusted using any form of actuator structure 170 including electrical, magnetic, hydraulic, pneumatic, etc., actuators; and in one example the actuator structure 170 can include a stepper motor. In addition, the actuator structure 170 can include biasing mechanisms, such as springs and/or biasing bars, etc. Therefore, as additional layers 102 are transferred to the top of the height adjustable platform 168, the actuator structure 170 lowers the height adjustable platform 168 to compensate for the thickness of the layer 102 transferred to the top of the height adjustable platform 168. In addition, the biasing mechanisms of the actuator structure 170 allow the height adjustable platform 168 additional movement tolerances within each step of the stepper motor, to compensate for any unexpected layer thickness variations, any variations in the position of the ITB 110, any variations in the position of the platen 161, etc.

FIG. 1 also illustrates one or more build material development stations 152-158 positioned to electrostatically transfer potentially different colored curable (e.g., ultraviolet (UV) light curable) build materials to the ITB 110; and at least one support material development station 150 positioned to electrostatically transfer support material to a location of the ITB 110 where the UV curable build materials are located on the ITB 110. For example, if multiple build material development stations are used, each different development station 152-158 can provide a color of build material that is different from the colors of the build materials supplied by other development stations 152-158. The color of the support material provided by support material development station 150 is not highly relevant because the support material dissolves in different solvents (relative to solvents that dissolve the UV curable build materials) and is eventually removed from the final structure, as discussed below.

In addition, these printers include a transfer or transfuse station 138 having at least one roller 112 on one side of the ITB 110 supporting the ITB 110 that aids transfer of the build and support materials to the platen 161. Thus, the ITB 110 electrostatically or mechanically transfers a layer 102 made up of the different color UV curable build materials and the support material to the platen 161 each time the platen 161 contacts the other side of the ITB 110 at the transfuse station 138 (the side of the ITB 110 opposite the transfuse station roller(s) 112); and this successively forms multiple layers 102 of the UV curable build materials and the support material on the platen 161. Each of the layers 102 is formed by the development stations 150-158 on a discrete area of the ITB 110 and is formed in a pattern before transfer to the platen 161.

The ITB 110 can be a flat, continuous belt supported on rotating rollers 112. Also, such structures can include a heater 120, a pressure roller 122, and a curing station 124 that is positioned to apply light (e.g. UV light) using a light source. The structure can also include an optional support material removal station 148.

The build material development devices 152-158 are aided by charge generators 128 in electrostatically transferring (by way of charge difference between the belt and the material being transferred) build material, such as a (potentially dry) powder polymer-wax material (e.g., charged 3-D toner) to the ITB 110, as is the support material development device 150 in electrostatically transferring a different material (e.g., the support material, again such as a powder polymer-wax material (e.g., charged 3-D toner)) to a location of the ITB 110 where the build material is located on the ITB 110.

Such build and support materials are printed in a pattern on the ITB by each separate development device 150-158, and combine together in the developed layers 102 to represent a specific pattern having a predetermined length. Thus, each of the developed layers 102 has a leading edge oriented toward the processing direction in which the ITB 110 is moving (represented by arrows next to the ITB 110) and a trailing edge opposite the leading edge.

The support material dissolves in solvents that do not affect the build material to allow the printed 3-D structure formed of the build material to be separated from the support material used in the printing process. In the drawings, the combination of the build material and the support material is shown as element 102, and is sometimes referred to as a developed layer. The developed layer 102 of the build material and the support material is on a discrete area of the ITB 110 and is in a pattern corresponding to the components of the 3-D structure in that layer (and its associated support elements), where the 3-D structure is being built, developed layer 102 by developed layer 102.

In order to ensure that movement of the platen 161 is properly coordinated with movement of the ITB 110 at the transfer station 138, the devices presented herein use a no-backlash rack 162 and pinion 118 mechanism to match the velocity of a transfer belt 110 to the platen 161. This reduces or eliminates the need for reflex printing and the need for platen assembly motion quality.

In one example, the platen assembly 161 (on which the 3-D printed part is built) moves in the process direction (indicated by arrows in the drawings). The rack 162 physically connects to the pinion 118. The pinion can be coupled to the roller driving/supporting the transfer belt 110. The rack 162 is located on the platen assembly 161. The rack 162 and pinion 118 are in different planes than the actual build part, and do not interfere with the build part.

FIG. 2 illustrates that the rack structures 162 temporarily join with the pinion structures 118 at the transfer station 138, as the platen 161 passes the transfer station 138, to align the platen 161 with the ITB 110 (as the platen 161 contacts the ITB 110). As the motorized build platen 160 moves in the process direction, the rack 162 physically engages the pinion 118, as show in FIG. 2. At this point any motor moving the platen assembly 161 is turned off and both the platen assembly 161 and the transfer belt 110 are driven by the same device, and are therefore traveling at the same speed. As shown by the arrow in FIG. 2, the platen 161 with the ITB 110. The ITB 110 electrostatically transfers one of the developed layers 102 of the build material and the support material to the platen 161 each time the platen 161 contacts the ITB 110, to successively form developed layers 102 of the build material and the support material on the platen 161.

At the transfuse station 138, the leading edge of the developed layer 102 within the transfuse station 138 begins to be transferred to a corresponding location of the platen 161. Thus, because the rack structures 162 are physically connected to the pinion structures 118, the platen 161 moves to contact the developed layer 102 on the ITB 110 as the ITB 110 moves. Thus, in FIG. 2, the trailing edge of the developed layer 102 has not yet reached the transfuse station 138 and has not, therefore, yet been transferred to the platen 161.

As shown in FIGS. 3A-3C, the rack 162 and pinion 118 mechanism can include a precision roller pinion 118 with rollers 119. Such rollers 119 precisely fit within depressions 163 of the rack 162, preventing any backlash. The path of a roller 119 relative to the rack 162 is shown in FIG. 3A; the rollers 119 fitting within depressions 163 of the rack 162 is shown in FIG. 3B; and a perspective of the pinion 118 and rack are shown in FIG. 3C.

FIG. 4 illustrates another option of a pinion 118 having sprocket-shaped extensions 119 that fit within depressions 163 of the rack 162, where rotation of the pinion drives the rack 162 as shown by the arrows. FIG. 5 illustrates a motor 117 driven split pinion 118, which includes a co-axel pinion gear pair 119A, 119B where one of the gears 119A or 119B is spring loaded against the other to avoid backlash. By having the pinion gears 119A or 119B spring loaded against each other, they push in opposite directions against the teeth/gears 163 of the rack 162, allowing the pinion gear pair 119A, 119B to tightly hold the position of the rack 162 without any relative movement (and no backlash). FIG. 6 illustrates a dual-pinion electrical pre-load (controlled by the motor/controller 117) that uses two pinions 118 to avoid introduction of any backlash. Again, the motors or controllers 117 are biased against each other, so they push in opposite directions against the teeth/gears 163 of the rack 162, allowing the pinion gears 119 to tightly hold the position of the rack 162 without any relative movement (and no backlash).

FIG. 7 illustrates the platen 161 from a top view and shows how the rack 162 (and pinion 118) are in different planes than the height adjustable platform 168 where the build part will be location (shown using a dashed line in FIG. 7) and therefore the rack 162 (and pinion 118) do not interfere with the build part on the height adjustable platform 168.

FIG. 8 is an expanded view of the platen 161 that shows a linear actuator 167, such as a lead screw mechanism, that adjusts the height adjustable platform 168 location (in the process direction) to further register to the approaching layer of build material to the existing partially formed 3-D part. In FIG. 8 the height adjustable platform 168 is shown in the partially retracted position. With this structure, a stepper motor/lead screw mechanism 167 moves the top surface of the height adjustable platform 168 in the process or cross-process direction (in a direction parallel to the flat upper surface of the height adjustable platform) to adjust the location of partially formed 3-D printed part to the layer of build of material 102.

As shown in FIG. 8, the rack structures 162 are positioned on supports 164 to extend the rack structures 162 to at least the height of the height adjustable platform 168 when the height adjustable platform 168 is fully extended toward the ITB 110. Thus, the supports 164 allow the rack structures 162 to always lock with the pinion structures 118, even if height adjustable platform 168 is fully extended.

As shown in FIG. 9, because the rack structures 162 temporarily physically connect to the pinion structures 118, the platen 161 moves exactly synchronously with the ITB 110 (moves at the same speed and the same direction as the ITB 110), to allow the developed layers 102 to transfer cleanly to the platen 161, without smearing. FIGS. 2 and 9 illustrate that the pinion 118 rotates while the ITB 110 moves to transfer a layer 102 at the transfer station 138, and to provide exact alignment of the adjustable platform 168 and the portion of the ITB 110 transporting the layer 102.

Therefore, with these systems, as the platen 161 passes the transfer station 138, the rack structures 162 mesh, engage, or lock with the pinion structures 118 to provide tight synchronization of the platen 161 with the ITB 110. The rack 162 and pinion 118 stay locked during transfer/transfuse, and then decouple, as shown in FIG. 10. This relaxes the timing of the platen 161 and the transfuse station 138, because the locking of the platen 161 with the ITB ensures correct alignment/timing of the ITB 110 and the top of the adjustable platform 168. Thus, FIGS. 2, 9, and 10, show that the rack structures 162 are shaped and sized to lock with the pinion structures 118 as the platen 161 approach the transfer station 138, and to unlock from the pinion structures 118 as the platen 161 depart from the transfer station 138 (as shown in FIG. 10).

Then, as the ITB 110 moves in the processing direction, the platen 161 moves at the same speed and in the same direction as the ITB 110, until the trailing edge of the developed layer 102 reaches the end of the transfuse station 138 (again because the rack structures 162 are physically connected to the pinion structures 118), at which point the platen 161 moves away from the ITB 110 and over to the optional heater 120, as shown in FIG. 10 (the heater 120 can be a non-contact (e.g., resistive heater, infrared (IR) heater, etc.) which bonds the layer 102 to the platen.

As shown in FIG. 11, the platen 161 can then moves to the optional pressure roller 122 (which can also be heated) and moves synchronously as the pressure roller 122 rotates, potentially heating and pressing the developed layer 102 to bond the developed layer 102 to the platen 161 (or to any previously transferred layers 102 existing on the platen 161). This synchronous movement between the platen 161 and the ITB 110 (and pressure roller 122) causes the pattern of support and builds materials (102) that are printed by the development devices 150-158 to be transferred precisely from the ITB 110 to the platen 161, without distortion or smearing.

As shown in FIG. 12, the platen 161 moves to the optional curing station 124 that is configured to apply light and/or heat to the 3-D structure to cure the developed layers 102 into the freestanding stack 106 on the platen 161. The selective use of heaters, lights, and other components of the curing station 124 will vary depending upon the chemical makeup of the developed layers 102.

In one example, the build material can include UV curable toners. Curing station 124 cures such materials by heating the materials to a temperature between their glass transition temperature and their melting temperature, and applying UV light to cross-link polymers within at least the build materials to thereby create a rigid structure. Those ordinarily skilled in the art would understand that other build and support materials could utilize other curing processing and curing components, and that the foregoing is presented only as one limited example; and the devices and methods herein are applicable to all such curing methods and components, whether currently known or developed in the future.

FIG. 13 illustrates that the platen 161 can also pass by an optional cooling station 146 (or can pause to allow the materials 102 to cool). The cooling station can provide blown air that may be cooled by refrigeration.

The curing station 124 can apply light and/or heat after each time the ITB 110 transfers a layer 102 to the platen 161, to independently cure each layer 102 or the layers 102 can be cured in groups, or the curing station 124 may not be utilized until the entire freestanding stack 106 is completely formed, as shown in FIG. 17. Similarly, the platen 161 can be fused by the heater 120 and/or pressure roller 122 after each time the ITB 110 transfers each of the developed layers 102 to the platen 161 to independently heat and press each of the developed layers 102 and successively join each the developed layer 102 to the platen 161 and to any previously transferred developed layers 102 on the platen 161. The cooling station 146 can also be used periodically. In other alternatives, the platen 161 may only receive heat from the heater 120, pressure from the pressure roller 122, light from the curing station 124, and/or cooling from the cooling station 146, only after a specific number (e.g., 2, 3, 4, etc.) of the developed layers 102 have been placed on the platen 161 to allow multiple developed layers 102 to be simultaneously bonded/fused/cured.

Thus, the processing in FIGS. 9-13 is repeated to fuse, bond, cure multiple developed layers 102 to the platen 161 (and to one another), as shown in FIG. 14. FIG. 14 is an expanded diagram, with many elements omitted for clarity, showing how the developed layers 102 may contain some of the build material 104 and some of the support material 105, and how the lowest developed layer 102 is joined to the adjustable platform 168, and how each successive developed layer 102 contacts and is joined to the immediately preceding adjacent developed layer 102 that is below (e.g., is between the layer 102 and the adjustable platform 168) to form a stack 106 of developed layers 102 on the adjustable platform 168.

The particles of build materials 104 and support material 105 within each developed layer 102 (shown as particles (not drawn to scale) in FIG. 14, using identification number 102) are charged particles, and FIG. 14 shows these items as negatively charged particles (or they could be positively charged). As is understood by those ordinarily skilled in the art, the printing components 150-158 provide the charge to the particles 102 in order to have such particles electrostatically transfer to the ITB 110. A charge generator 128 can be used to create an opposite charge 172 (in this case a positive charge) on the opposite side of the adjustable platform 168, and this opposite charge 172 draws the charged particles 102 from the ITB 110 to the top of the stack 106. In addition, or as an alternative, a transfuse nip heater can be used to make the top layer tacky, to help transferring the layer 102 from the ITB 110 to the other layers 102 on the adjustable platform 168.

Here, the “top” layer in the stack is the layer 102 that is furthest away from the adjustable platform 168, and correspondingly, the layer 102 that contacts the adjustable platform 168 is the “bottom” layer in the stack 106. The charge generator 128 can be any type of charge generating device, such as a corona charge device generating charges and projecting (spraying) the charges. The charge 172 generated by the charge generator 128 is opposite the charge of particles of the build materials and the support material 102 on the ITB, and operates in a similar manner to that shown in FIG. 7.

As the stack 106 of the developed layers 102 grows, additional developed layers 102 are formed on top of the stack 106, as shown in FIG. 15, and such additional developed layers 102 are heated by the heater 120, pressed by the pressure roller 122, and UV cured by the curing station 124, as shown in FIG. 16, to bond/fuse/cure all the develop layers 102 within the stack 106 together. Again, the rack structures 162 are positioned on supports 164 to extend the rack structures 162 to at least the height of the height adjustable platform 168 when the height adjustable platform 168 is fully extended toward the ITB 110. Thus, the supports 164 allow the rack structures 162 to always lock with the pinion structures 118, even if height adjustable platform 168 is fully extended. FIG. 16 also includes an overlay showing portions of support material 105 and build material 104 within the freestanding stack 106. Such may or may not be visible, and is only illustrated to show one exemplary way in which such build and support materials may be arranged.

As shown for example in FIG. 17, alternative three-dimensional (3-D) printing systems herein can include, among other features, one or more 3-D printers 240, and guides 108 that are shaped to direct wheeled platens 160 to repeatedly pass by (pass through), and return to, the 3-D printers 240. For example, the guides 108 can be rails, tracks, slots, magnetic pathways, and/or tubes, etc. The guides 108 restrict movement of the wheeled platens 160, so that the wheeled platens 160 can only move within the path defined by the guides 108. Any form of drive device 166 moves the wheeled platens 160 along the guides 108 (e.g., an electric motor, a chain drive, magnetic drive units, etc.). Further, the time between printing passes on each wheeled platen 160 allows the layers thereon to cool, and optional cooling stations can be positioned along the guides 108, if desired for enhanced cooling.

As shown in FIG. 18, each 3-D printer 240 again includes an ITB 110, and development stations 150-158 positioned to electrostatically transfer build and support materials 102 to the ITB 110. Also, the transfer station 138 again is adjacent the ITB 110, and the guides 108 are adjacent the transfer station 138. More specifically, the guides 108 are shaped to direct the wheeled platens 160 to pass the transfer station 138 and come in contact with the ITB 110 at the transfer station 138.

As shown in greater detail below, the ITB 110 transfers a layer of the build and support materials 102 to a wheeled platen 160 each time the wheeled platen 160 contacts the ITB 110 at the transfer station 138, and this successively forms layers of the build and support materials 102 on the wheeled platens 160. FIG. 17 shows that the guides 108 are positioned in a loop and repeatedly return the wheeled platens 160 to the transfer station 138, after the wheeled platens 160 pass through the transfer station 138, to have more of the layers of the build and support materials 102 transferred to the wheeled platens 160. The wheeled platens 160 include a height adjustable platform 168, and the top of the adjustable platform (the surface closest to the ITB 110) moves away from the ITB 110 as the stack of layers on the wheeled platens 160 grows (becomes larger) from more and more layers 102 are transferred to the wheeled platen 160.

The height of the height adjustable platform 168 can again be adjusted using any form of actuator structure 170 including electrical, magnetic, hydraulic, pneumatic, etc., actuators; and in one example the actuator structure 170 can include a stepper motor. In addition, the actuator structure 170 can again include biasing mechanisms, such as springs and/or biasing bars, etc. Therefore, as additional layers 102 are transferred to the top of the height adjustable platform 168, the actuator structure 170 lowers the height adjustable platform 168 to compensate for the thickness of the layer 102 transferred to the top of the height adjustable platform 168. In addition, the biasing mechanisms of the actuator structure 170 allow the height adjustable platform 168 additional movement tolerances within each step of the stepper motor, to compensate for any unexpected layer thickness variations, any variations in the position of the ITB 110, any variations in the position of the guides 108, etc.

FIG. 19 illustrates the wheeled platen 160 from a top view and shows how the rack 162 (and pinion 118) are in different planes than the height adjustable platform 168 where the build part will be location, and therefore the rack 162 (and pinion 118) do not interfere with the build part on the height adjustable platform 168.

In order to ensure that movement of the wheeled platens 160 is properly coordinated with movement of the ITB 110 at the transfer station 138, the devices presented herein use the same no-backlash rack and pinion mechanism 118, 162 described above to match the velocity of a transfer belt 110 to the build platen 160. This reduces or eliminates the need for reflex printing and the need for platen assembly motion quality. As the motorized build platen 160 moves in the process direction, the rack 162 engages the pinion 118, as show in FIG. 20. At this point the motor moving the build platen assembly can be turned off and both the platen assembly 160 and the transfer belt 110 are driven by the same device, and are therefore traveling at the same speed.

As shown by the arrow in FIG. 20, the wheeled platen 160 moves on the guides 108 toward the ITB 110 to have the wheeled platen 160 make contact with the ITB 110. The ITB 110 electrostatically transfers one of the developed layers 102 of the build material and the support material to the wheeled platen 160 each time the wheeled platen 160 contacts the ITB 110, to successively form developed layers 102 of the build material and the support material on the wheeled platen 160. FIG. 20 illustrates that the rack structures 162 temporarily join with the pinion structures 118 at the transfer station 138, as the wheeled platens 160 pass the transfer station 138, to align the wheeled platens 160 with the ITB 110 (as the wheeled platens 160 contact the ITB 110).

FIG. 20 illustrates that the pinion 118 rotates while the ITB 110 moving to transfer a layer 102 at the transfer station 138 to provide exact alignment of the adjustable platform 168 and the portion of the ITB 110 transporting the layer 102. Note also that FIG. 20 shows the next wheeled platen 160 (in the series of wheeled platens 160 shown in FIG. 17) that is to receive the very next layer 102 (already developed on to the ITB 110) approaching the transfer station 138. In the drawings, the details of only a single wheeled platen 160 are identified by number, to avoid clutter.

Therefore, with these systems, as the platens 160 enter the transfer station 138, the rack structures 162 mesh, engage, or lock with the pinion structures 118 to provide tight synchronization of the platen 160 with the ITB 110. The rack 162 and pinion 118 stay locked during transfer/transfuse, and then decouple and continue around the guides 108. This relaxes the timing of the wheeled platens 160 in the guides 108, because the locking of the wheeled platens 160 with the ITB ensures correct alignment/timing of the ITB 110 and the top of the adjustable platform 168.

FIG. 21 illustrates that the wheeled platens 160 move along the path of the guides 108 away from the ITB 110 and over to the heater 120, the roller 122, the curing station 124, etc. As shown in FIG. 21, the rack structures 162 are positioned on supports 164 to extend the rack structures 162 to at least the height of the height adjustable platform 168 when the height adjustable platform 168 is fully extended toward the ITB 110. Thus, the supports 164 allow the rack structures 162 to always lock with the pinion structures 118, even if height adjustable platform 168 is fully extended or when a fully or partially formed stack 106 is on the height adjustable platform 168.

As the stack 106 of the developed layers 102 grows, additional developed layers 102 are formed on top of the stack 106, and such additional developed layers 102 are heated by the heater 120, pressed by the pressure roller 122, cured by the curing station 124, etc., bond/fuse/cure all the develop layers 102 within the stack 106 together.

Thus, the wheeled platens 160 progress in a series by the transfer station 138 in order to sequentially have each platen 160 obtain an additional layer 102. The layers 102 being transferred to the different stacks 106 on each of the different platens 160 can be the same or can be different. Therefore, if multiple copies of the same 3-D item are being printed on all platens 160, the same layer will be printed on each of the different platens 160 (from the first platen in the series of platens 160 on the guides 108, to the last platen in the series) after which the next layer of the multiple-copy structure being printed will be transferred to all of the platens 160 in the series.

However, the systems and methods herein can also print a different 3-D item on each of the platens 160 in the series of platens 160 on the guides 108. In this situation, the development devices 150-158 print different patterned layers 102 on the ITB 110 in a synchronous order in which the different platens 160 will arrive at the transfer station 138. Thus, the layers 102 are printed in a planned sequence so that each successive platen 160 receives a unique layer 102 that is specific to the 3-D structure being printed on that platen 160, and is different from the layer 102 being transferred to the next platen 160 in the series. In other words, each layer 102 printed by development devices 150-158 can have a different pattern corresponding to a different 3-D item, and the timing of when each different layer 102 is transferred to the ITB 110 is controlled so that each platen 160 will arrive at the transfer station 138 to receive a specific layer 102 that corresponds to the 3-D item being formed in the stack on that specific platen 160. In this way, the devices and methods here and can provide 3-D printing of multiple copies of a single 3-D item on different platens 160, or can provide simultaneous printing of different 3-D items on different platens 160, in batch processing that simultaneously prints multiple 3-D items (one per platen 160) in each batch.

The 3-D structure in the freestanding stacks 106 on the platens 160 can be output to allow manual removal of the support material 105 using an external solvent bath; or processing can proceed as shown in FIG. 22-24. More specifically, in FIG. 22, the support material removal station 148 is positioned along the path of the guides 108 to receive the now bonded 3-D structure (freestanding stack 106) on the wheeled platen 160. The support material removal station 148 applies a solvent 144 that dissolves the support material 105 without affecting the build material 104. Again, as noted above, the solvent utilized will depend upon the chemical makeup of the build material 104 and the support material 105. FIG. 23 illustrates the processing where about half of the support material 105 remains, and a portion of the build material 104 protrudes from the remaining stack of support material 105. FIG. 24 illustrates processing after the support material removal station 148 has applied sufficient solvent 146 to dissolve all the support material 105, leaving only the build material 104 remaining, which leave a completed 3-D structure made of only the build material 104.

FIGS. 25 and 26 illustrate an alternative 3-D electrostatic printing structure herein which includes a transfuse nip 130 in place of the planar transfuse station 138 shown in FIG. 1. As shown in FIG. 1, the planar transfuse station 138 is a planar portion of the ITB 110 that is between rollers 112 and is parallel to the wheeled platen 160; while in FIG. 25, the transfuse nip 130 presents a single point of transfer.

Additionally, at some point, the height of the stack 106 may make the distance between the charged (build and support) particles 102 greater than the ability of the opposite charges 152 to attract the charged particles 102 (and this height will vary, depending upon the strength of the various charges), as shown in FIG. 14. In view of this, the structure shown in FIG. 1, and/or the structure shown in FIG. 25 can include a transfuse nip heater 121.

If the transfuse nip heater 121 is included in the structure, the developed layer 102 and ITB 110 are locally heated by the transfuse nip heater 121 to bring the developed layer 102 to a “tacky” state prior to transfuse (i.e., to a temperature higher than the glass transition temperature (Tg) but short of the melt or fuse temperature Tm of the toner resin). The adjustable platform 168 is also heated by transfuse nip heater 121 to approximately the same temperature, and is then contacted synchronously with the tacky layer 102 as it translates through the ITB-platen nip (the transfuse nip 130). Thereby, the ITB 110 transfers one of the developed layer 102 of the build material 104 and the support material 105 to the platen 160 each time the platen 160 contacts the ITB 110, to successively form developed layers 102 of the build material 104 and the support material 105 on the platen 160.

In similar operations to that discussed above, as shown in FIGS. 25 and 26, the platen 160, 161 moves synchronously with the ITB 110, by having the rack 162 and pinion 118 lock and unlock, to have each layer 102 transfer onto the platen 160, 161 cleanly and without smearing, and such processing is repeated to eventually form a stack 106 of the layers 102. After transferring each successive layer 102 to the platen 160, 161, each layer 102 (or groups of layers 102 in a stack 106) are heated by the heater 120, pressed by the pressure roller 122, cured by the curing station 124, etc. Additionally, all other processing mentioned above can be performed using the structure shown in FIGS. 25 and 26.

As shown in FIG. 27 a drum 178 (or any other photoreceptor surface) could be used in place of the ITB 110, with all other components operating as described herein. Thus, the drum 178 includes the pinion structures 118, and could be an intermediate transfer surface receiving material from development stations 114, 116, as described above, or could be a photoreceptor and operate as the photoreceptor 256 described below operates, by maintaining a latent image of charge and receiving materials from development devices 254.

While some exemplary shapes and locations of the rack 162 and pinion structures 162 are illustrated in the drawings, those ordinarily skilled in the art would understand that the claims presented below are intended to encompass all similarly shaped and similarly located features; and that the drawings only show a limited number of examples, in order to allow the reader to understand the general concepts being disclosed. Therefore, the claims presented below are not limited to the shapes and locations presented in the drawings, but instead are intended to include all similar structures.

FIG. 28 illustrates many components of 3-D printer structures 204 herein. The 3-D printing device 204 includes a controller/tangible processor 224 and a communications port (input/output) 214 operatively connected to the tangible processor 224 and to a computerized network external to the printing device 204. Also, the printing device 204 can include at least one accessory functional component, such as a graphical user interface (GUI) assembly 212. The user may receive messages, instructions, and menu options from, and enter instructions through, the graphical user interface or control panel 212.

The input/output device 214 is used for communications to and from the 3-D printing device 204 and comprises a wired device or wireless device (of any form, whether currently known or developed in the future). The tangible processor 224 controls the various actions of the printing device 204. A non-transitory, tangible, computer storage medium device 210 (which can be optical, magnetic, capacitor based, etc., and is different from a transitory signal) is readable by the tangible processor 224 and stores instructions that the tangible processor 224 executes to allow the computerized device to perform its various functions, such as those described herein. Thus, as shown in FIG. 28, a body housing has one or more functional components that operate on power supplied from an alternating current (AC) source 220 by the power supply 218. The power supply 218 can comprise a common power conversion unit, power storage element (e.g., a battery, etc.), etc.

The 3-D printing device 204 includes at least one marking device (printing engine(s)) 240 that deposits successive layers of build and support material on a platen as described above, and are operatively connected to a specialized image processor 224 (that is different than a general purpose computer because it is specialized for processing image data). Also, the printing device 204 can include at least one accessory functional component (such as a scanner 232) that also operates on the power supplied from the external power source 220 (through the power supply 218).

The one or more printing engines 240 are intended to illustrate any marking device that applies build and support materials (toner, etc.) whether currently known or developed in the future and can include, for example, devices that use an intermediate transfer belt 110 (as shown above). While the drawings illustrates five development stations adjacent or in contact with a rotating belt (110), as would be understood by those ordinarily skilled in the art, such devices could use any number of marking stations (e.g., 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, etc.).

One exemplary individual electrostatic development station 150-158 is shown in FIG. 29 positioned adjacent to (or potentially in contact with) intermediate transfer belt 110. Each of the individual electrostatic development stations 150-158 includes its own charging station 258 that creates a uniform charge on an internal photoreceptor 256, an internal exposure device 260 that patterns the uniform charge into a patterned charge on the photoreceptor, and an internal development device 254 that transfers build or support material to the photoreceptor 256.

As shown in U.S. Pat. No. 8,488,994, an additive manufacturing system for printing a 3-D part using electrophotography is known. The system includes a photoconductor component having a surface, and a development station, where the development station is configured to developed layers of a material on the surface of the photoconductor component. The system also includes a transfer medium configured to receive the developed layers from the surface of the rotatable photoconductor component, and a platen configured to receive the developed layers from the transfer component in a layer-by-layer manner to print the 3-D part from at least a portion of the received layers.

With respect to UV curable toners, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,250,238 it is known to provide a UV curable toner composition, as are methods of utilizing the UV curable toner compositions in printing processes. U.S. Pat. No. 7,250,238 discloses various toner emulsion aggregation processes that permit the generation of toners that in embodiments can be cured, that is by the exposure to UV radiation, such as UV light of has about 100 nm to about 400 nm. In U.S. Pat. No. 7,250,238, the toner compositions produced can be utilized in various printing applications such as temperature sensitive packaging and the production of foil seals. In U.S. Pat. No. 7,250,238 embodiments relate to a UV curable toner composition comprised of an optional colorant, an optional wax, a polymer generated from styrene, and acrylate selected from the group consisting of butyl acrylate, carboxyethyl acrylate, and a UV light curable acrylate oligomer. Additionally, these aspects relate to a toner composition comprised of a colorant such as a pigment, an optional wax, and a polymer generated from a UV curable cycloaliphatic epoxide.

Moreover, U.S. Pat. No. 7,250,238 discloses a method of forming a UV curable toner composition comprising mixing a latex containing a polymer formed from styrene, butyl acrylate, a carboxymethyl acrylate, and a UV curable acrylate with a colorant and wax; adding flocculant to this mixture to optionally induce aggregation and form toner precursor particles dispersed in a second mixture; heating the toner precursor particles to a temperature equal to or higher than the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the polymer to form toner particles; optionally washing the toner particles; and optionally drying the toner particles. A further aspect relates to the toner particles produced by this method.

While some exemplary structures are illustrated in the attached drawings, those ordinarily skilled in the art would understand that the drawings are simplified schematic illustrations and that the claims presented below encompass many more features that are not illustrated (or potentially many less) but that are commonly utilized with such devices and systems. Therefore, Applicants do not intend for the claims presented below to be limited by the attached drawings, but instead the attached drawings are merely provided to illustrate a few ways in which the claimed features can be implemented.

Many computerized devices are discussed above. Computerized devices that include chip-based central processing units (CPU's), input/output devices (including graphic user interfaces (GUI), memories, comparators, tangible processors, etc.) are well-known and readily available devices produced by manufacturers such as Dell Computers, Round Rock Tex., USA and Apple Computer Co., Cupertino Calif., USA. Such computerized devices commonly include input/output devices, power supplies, tangible processors, electronic storage memories, wiring, etc., the details of which are omitted herefrom to allow the reader to focus on the salient aspects of the systems and methods described herein. Similarly, printers, copiers, scanners and other similar peripheral equipment are available from Xerox Corporation, Norwalk, Conn., USA and the details of such devices are not discussed herein for purposes of brevity and reader focus.

The terms printer or printing device as used herein encompasses any apparatus, such as a digital copier, bookmaking machine, facsimile machine, multi-function machine, etc., which performs a print outputting function for any purpose. The details of printers, printing engines, etc., are well-known and are not described in detail herein to keep this disclosure focused on the salient features presented. The systems and methods herein can encompass systems and methods that print in color, monochrome, or handle color or monochrome image data. All foregoing systems and methods are specifically applicable to electrostatographic and/or xerographic machines and/or processes.

For the purposes of this invention, the term fixing means the drying, hardening, polymerization, crosslinking, binding, or addition reaction or other reaction of the coating. In addition, terms such as “right”, “left”, “vertical”, “horizontal”, “top”, “bottom”, “upper”, “lower”, “under”, “below”, “underlying”, “over”, “overlying”, “parallel”, “perpendicular”, etc., used herein are understood to be relative locations as they are oriented and illustrated in the drawings (unless otherwise indicated). Terms such as “touching”, “on”, “in direct contact”, “abutting”, “directly adjacent to”, etc., mean that at least one element physically contacts another element (without other elements separating the described elements). Further, the terms automated or automatically mean that once a process is started (by a machine or a user), one or more machines perform the process without further input from any user. In the drawings herein, the same identification numeral identifies the same or similar item.

It will be appreciated that the above-disclosed and other features and functions, or alternatives thereof, may be desirably combined into many other different systems or applications. Various presently unforeseen or unanticipated alternatives, modifications, variations, or improvements therein may be subsequently made by those skilled in the art which are also intended to be encompassed by the following claims. Unless specifically defined in a specific claim itself, steps or components of the systems and methods herein cannot be implied or imported from any above example as limitations to any particular order, number, position, size, shape, angle, color, or material.

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37.0/100 Score

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It takes the R&D behavior of the company itself into account that results in IP. During the invention phase, larger companies are considered to assign a higher R&D budget on a certain technology field, these companies have a better influence on their market, on what is marketable and what might lead to a standard.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Three-dimensional printing process for producing a self-destructible temporary structure STRATASYS LTD. 01 June 2010 25 June 2013
Three-dimensional printer HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P. 11 October 2010 09 August 2012
Use and production of coated filaments for extrusion-based 3D printing processes EVONIK RÖHM GMBH 06 November 2013 24 November 2015
Color or multi-material three-dimensional (3D) printing CHANG, KAI-JUI 06 November 2014 21 May 2015
Toners and processes thereof XEROX CORPORATION 23 December 2003 31 July 2007
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US10000010 3-D electrostatic printer rack 1 US10000010 3-D electrostatic printer rack 2 US10000010 3-D electrostatic printer rack 3