This call for prior art is part of the EFF's effort to keep 3D printing open. Read about the initiative here, and check out Google Patents or the USPTO for full details about this particular application.

enter image description here "Ribbon Filament and Assembly for Use in Extrusion-based Digital Manufacturing Systems"

This application relates to 3D printing with a flattened, rectangular filament shaped like a ribbon instead of a cylindrical filament, taking advantage of the “insight” that larger surface area results in faster melting of print material. (Think fettuccine versus spaghetti.)


  • App Number: 13/530,191
  • Publication Number: US20120258190 A1
  • Assignee: Stratasys, Inc.
  • Prior Art Cutoff Date: Prior Art predating September 30, 2009
  • Availability for Challenge: Open Until At Least April 11, 2013

APPLICATION OVERVIEW: This application claims the use of a ribbon-shaped build material for use in 3D printing. The build material is shaped like ribbon rather than a cylinder and put through a ribbon liquefier rather than a cylindrical liquefier. The ribbon shape allows the build material to melt faster and reduces build times.

WHY IT MATTERS: This patent is about using a basic, well-known scientific principle and applying it in an obvious way to 3D printing technology to improve melting and print speed.

Are you familiar with technology similar to that described in this patent application?

If so, please submit evidence of that prior art as an answer below. Please submit only one piece of prior art per answer below. We welcome multiple prior art proposals from the same individual; please create separate answers for each one. This is so the community can vet each individual piece of prior art independently.

For details about what makes good prior art, please see our FAQ. Once you have submitted prior art, check back soon to see if the EFF, the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School, and the Ask Patents community have chosen your prior art to be submitted to the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

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4 Answers 4


One piece of prior art to this one (non-cylindrical feedstock) is here:


by me...; the blog post is about rectangular cross-section feedstock (cut from a drink bottle, but it would obviously work with any source of a rectangular shape). It also priorartizes (can that be a word?) the separate idea of folding the thin rectangular feedstock before it goes into the head. This makes it stiffer (think corrugated cardboard), but allows it so be stored in a more flexible form.


Sorry did not notice the PA cutoff date...

I chatted about that maybe 2 years ago on IRC #reprap. If there's a log and it is usable I could search for it (nick Action68).
The issue rose when I tried to print with PMMA. I used sheet acrylic and cut it to slices with a laser cutter.


The process of plastic welding (quite related to 3D printing) has used plastic welding ribbon that is a flat tape for many years.

The companies from NZ have used it longest. Here's a web site for feed stock.





How about this video?

For the ribbon extrusion, one may point out that plastic welding has used non-round or ribbon shaped materials for many years (see this video from 2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvV9a3lEe2g).

  • Prior Art predating September 30, 2009 is required, not 2010.
    – Ron J.
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 13:02

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