3D Printing and Copyright Law: The Case of the Penrose Triangle

3D Printing and Copyright Law: The Case of the Penrose Triangle

3D Printing and Copyright Law With the development of 3D scanners and printers, anyone who has access to this technology can accurately reproduce objects found in the real world. This has many far-reaching implications, some of which could lead to greater innovation, others which could lead to a whole new host of problems. In this series, we will explore the copyright implications of 3D printing as designers, end users, and lawyers try to sort out the many legal implications of 3D printing and copyright law. The Penrose Triangle For the first installment, we will discuss the interesting case of Ulrich Schwanitz and The Penrose Triangle. To get to the root of this tale, we have to go all the way back to 1934 when artist Oscar Reutersvard drew the first-known Penrose Triangle. Referred to as an “impossible figure,” the Penrose Triangle connects on each side at a right-angle. For decades, this optical illusion was confined to drawings on flat surface and was thought impossible to reproduce in 3D space. That is, until Ulrich Schwanitz, a designer based out of the Netherlands, purportedly solved the problem. Rather than explaining how he solved the puzzle, Schwanitz simply included a YouTube video showing his design. The model was put up for sale on the Shapeways website for around $70. Now, this is where it really gets interesting. Along came Artus Tchoukanov who had formerly been an intern at Shapeways. Tchoukanov was able to watch the above video and figure out how Schwanitz had created his design. Tchoukanov then went to Thingiverse, a 3D printing community that actively encourages the free and open...
Solving the Belt Problem with 3D Printing

Solving the Belt Problem with 3D Printing

Creating a Belt Hangar for 3D Printing. The Belt Problem! Have you ever noticed that your belts don’t really have a home? If you’re anything like me, one day you will find your favorite belt rolled up in the sock drawer and the next day it will be draped over the towel rack. Well, the other day, I decided to put an end to this – my belt would get a designated place once and for all. After deciding how many belts I would like to hang, in my case I decided six would be ideal, I started designing my new belt holder. Since I have some extra closet space, a design that resembled a traditional clothes hanger would be the most convenient. The Design. As a user of Autodesk Inventor, I was able to bring my concept to life with the aid of the design software. By choosing to place my prongs slanted upward, the belts can easily snap in place and by facing the belts backward, I can keep the prong of the belt buckle locked into place, preventing the belt’s hardware from wearing out. Then, I just hit print and let my Stratasys UPrint SE Plus, which I am a reseller for, do the work. In just a couple of hours, my print was complete. The Final Product. Now, each morning when I reach for my belt, I know that I can always find it hanging safe and sound in my closet. Plus, because of the beauty of 3D printing, whenever my belt collection grows further, I can simply print out another belt holder. If you...

3D Printing 101: A Practical Application

3D Printing 101: Creating a New Wheel for a Dishwasher 3D Printing to the rescue! If you pay much attention to the news, you will see all sorts of wonderful stories about the power of 3D printing, or additive manufacturing. From a German engineering team who has discovered how to forgo the assembly line and print an entire 3D car, to scientists who are working on printing a fully-functioning human heart, the prospects for 3D print are astonishing. But with all of these groundbreaking advancements, many readers who are not highly trained scientists or engineers are left wondering – what can 3D printing do for them? In response, I give you, the dishwasher wheel. A Practical Application While cleaning up my kitchen the other day, I found that one of the wheels on my dishwasher was cracked and unusable. Knowing how ordering spare parts for appliances can be a huge pain, I was not looking forward to going online, hoping to find the correct model, or, if not, waiting on hold with customer service, then paying for the part plus shipping and handling, and waiting for weeks for the part to arrive. But then it hit me, this is a great application for my Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printer. The Wheel and Clip Using one of the unbroken wheels as a guide, I carefully measured each piece and plugged the calculations into Autodesk’s Inventor design software. Then, I just sat back and waited while my Stratasys uPrint SE Plus created an exact duplicate of my existing wheel. Here is a comparison of the original wheel on the left...