New open source 3D printer & 3D printing platform could be a game changer.
For a long time, Autodesk has been the market leaders in 3D software. From architects designing complex structures with CAD, to CGI artists wowing audiences with Academy award winning visual effects, they have developed industry standard cutting edge 3D software for a range of industries and applications, including 3D printing.
If you haven't already tried them, the 123D range of applications are simple and fun to use and can yield some good results. Our guide to using 123Catch shows how simple and fun it can be to ‘scan' your own 3D model with your iPad.
The recent announcement of Autodesk's new 3D printing platform, Spark, aims to reach the highest levels of quality for 3D printing applications, and could very well set the standard once again for 3D software. What stands out with Spark, compared to Autodesk's other 3D software offerings, is that it will be available to the public as an ‘open source' platform, meaning developers are free to modify or improve on its design and implementation.
The same is true of the design of their first 3D printer. Besides the image below, few details are known about the printer itself. What we can see from the image released is that Autodesk's first 3D printer will not implement the fused deposition modeling method that has been popular in low cost consumer 3D printers. Instead, it appears to be a high resolution stereolithography 3D printer like the hugely successful Kickstarter printer the ‘Form 1'.
With this printer, Autodesk means business and they cut out the less accurate FDM method and instead go straight to a higher standard.
“We believe that 3D printing has the potential to fundamentally change how things are designed and made, but the industry is still in its infancy. With Spark, we want to enable the acceleration of innovation in 3D printing so that everyone can have even better experiences faster, and make 3D printing accessible and relevant to millions, if not billions, of people.”
Home or consumer 3D printers were born from a community of ‘makers' sharing ideas; tinkering and developing. Together they worked to refine the process and design of early 3D printers. This powerful community of minds is well recognized by Spark's developers and Autodesk will not be keeping the door shut for those who want to continue to share ideas and develop this exciting technology further.
“Spark will be open and freely licensable to hardware manufacturers and others who are interested. Same for our 3D printer – the design of the printer will be made publicly available to allow for further development and experimentation. The printer will be able to use a broad range of materials, made by us and by others, and we look forward to lots of exploration into new materials. The world is just beginning to realize the potential of additive manufacturing and with Spark, we hope to make it possible for many more people to incorporate 3D printing into their design and manufacturing process.”
The message from Autodesk is clear; they're not just dipping a toe into 3D printing, rather they're jumping right in and who will bet against them to make quite a splash.