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1. (WO2007005236) RAPID PROTOTYPING SYSTEM WITH CONTROLLED MATERIAL FEEDSTOCK
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CLAIMS:
1. A drive mechanism for use in a deposition modeling system to receive a strand of filament and control the movement of the filament in a desired direction, the drive mechanism comprising:
a fixed block;
a pivot block rotatably connected to the fixed block;
a motor that rotates a drive shaft;
a drive roller connected to the drive shaft;
an idler axle that extends from the pivot block in a direction
substantially perpendicularto the direction of rotation by
the pivot block and parallel with the drive shaft; and
an idler roller mounted on the idler axle such that the idler roller
is free to rotate and its outer rim opposes an outer rim of
the drive roller.
2. The drive mechanism of claim 1 , wherein a series of gears connects the motor to the drive shaft enabling the motor to rotate the drive shaft.
3. The drive mechanism of claim 1 , wherein the drive shaft extends through a bore in the fixed block.
4. The drive mechanism of claim 3, wherein a bearing interfaces between the drive shaft and the bore of the fixed block.
5. The drive mechanism of claim 1 , wherein the motor rotates a drive gear whose teeth are intermeshed with a driven gear from which the drive shaft extends.
6. The drive mechanism of claim 5, wherein the driven gear is larger than the drive gear.
7. The drive mechanism of claim 1 , wherein the motor is a precision servo motor.
8. The drive mechanism of claim 1 , wherein the motor further comprises an encoder.

9. The drive mechanism of claim 1 , and further comprising a bore in the fixed block that is substantially parallel to the drive shaft to receive a pivot axle of the pivot block to rotatably connect the pivot block to the fixed block.
10. The drive mechanism of claim 9, wherein the bore is in a member that extends from a sidewall opposed to the pivot block along a bottom of the fixed block.
11. The drive mechanism of claim 10, wherein the pivot block includes a through hole that runs substantially perpendicular to the drive shaft and the through hole has a first diameter that is greaterthan a second diameter to create a shoulder.
12. The drive mechanism of claim 11 , wherein the side wall of the fixed block opposed to the pivot block includes a threaded bore.
13. The drive mechanism of claim 12, and further comprising a fastenerthat passes through the through hole of the pivot block and is secured in the threaded bore of the fixed block to capture a spring between the shoulder of the through hole and a top of the fastener.
14. The drive mechanism of claim 1 , wherein the drive mechanism further includes a guide that directs the strand of filament between the drive roller and the idler roller.
15. A drive roller for use in a drive mechanism to advance a strand of filament as part of a deposition modeling system that dispenses the filament and creates a defined model, the drive roller comprising:
a roller having an aperture that defines an inner surface;
an outer circumferential surface of the roller having a diameter
that is greater than the inner surface;
a pair of sidewalls between the inner surface and the outer
surface;
a channel along the outer surface between the pairof sidewalls,
wherein the channel includes a series of teeth such that
along a base of the channel successive teeth form an angle of between approximately 55° and 85°.
16. The drive roller of claim 15, wherein the outer surface has a width of between approximately .245 and .255 inches.
17. The drive roller of claim 15, wherein the channel has a width of approximately .084 and .114 inches.
18. The drive roller of claim 15, wherein the roller has a diameter of approximately .550 inches.
19. The drive roller of claim 15, wherein radial lines between successive teeth form an angle of between approximately 8° and 15°. 20. A drive roller for use in a drive mechanism to advance a strand of filament as part of a deposition modeling system that dispenses the filament and creates a model, the drive roller comprising:
a roller having an aperture that defines an inner surface;
an outer circumferential surface of the roller having a diameter
that is greater than the inner surface;
a pair of sidewalls between the inner surface and the outer
surface;
a channel along the outer surface between the pair of sidewalls,
wherein the channel includes a series of teeth that
contacts the strand of filament on opposite sides of the
filament such that the minimal distance between the
points of contact on opposite sides of the filament is
greater than one-tenth of the diameter of the strand of
filament.
21. A deposition modeling system that utilizes a drive mechanism for advancing a strand of filament that is used to create a model, wherein the drive mechanism comprises:
a drive roller mounted on a drive shaft that includes a channel
having a series of teeth; and
an idler roller rotatably mounted on an idler axle adjacent the
drive roller; and a nip between a base of the channel on the drive roller and an
outer surface of the idler roller to receive the strand of
filament, wherein the width of the nip varies between .059
to .109 inches.
22. The deposition modeling system of claim 21 , wherein the idler axle pivots away from the drive shaft to vary the size of the gap creating the nip.

23. The deposition modeling system of claim 22, wherein the idler axle is biased toward the drive shaft.
24. The deposition modeling system of claim 23, wherein a spring biases the idler axle toward the drive shaft.
25. The deposition modeling system of claim 21 , wherein the outer surface of the idler roller opposing the channel includes a trough.
26. A deposition modeling system that utilizes a drive mechanism for advancing a strand of filament that is used to create a model, wherein the drive mechanism comprises:
a drive roller mounted on a drive shaft that includes a channel
having a series of teeth;
an idler roller rotatably mounted on an idler axle adjacent the
drive roller; and
a gap between the drive roller and the idler roller to receive the
strand of filament such that thedrive roller advances the
stand of filament in a desired direction with up to 24
pounds of push force.
27. A drive mechanism for advancing a strand of filament in a deposition modeling system to create a model, the drive mechanism comprising:
a drive roller with a circumferential channel containing teeth; an idler roller with a circumferential toothless trough;
a bias for urging the idler roller toward the drive roller to define
a nip between the trough aligned with and opposed to the
channel; and a drive train for rotating the drive roller so that a filament fed
through the nip is urged by the trough of the idler into
engagement with the teeth of the channel and driven by
the drive roller through the nip.
28. The drive mechanism of claim 27, wherein the idler roller is rotatably mounted on a pivot block and a spring biases the pivot block. 29. The drive mechanism of claim 28, wherein the pivot block pivots about an axis substantially parallel to the rotational axis of the idler roller.