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Autodesk Unveils 3d Printer As It Aims To Become Industry's Android

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the spread-the-wealth dept.

Open Source 85

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "BBC reports that Autodesk — the leading 3D modelling software-maker — is going into hardware with its own 3D printer and in addition to selling the machine, Autodesk will also allow other manufacturers to make their own versions of the printer or power their own models off its software at no cost. 'The printer is a bona fide attempt to prove the interoperability and open source nature of Autodesk's platform,' says Pete Basiliere. 'And by sharing its design we could see a second wave of small start-ups creating stereolithography machines just as the makers did when the early material extrusion patents expired.' Chief executive Carl Bass likened the new printer to Google's first Nexus smartphone, a product meant to inspire other manufacturers to install Android on their handsets rather than become a bestseller itself. In Autodesk's case the idea is to drive the adoption of its new Spark software, a product it likens to being an 'operating system for 3D-printing'. Although Autodesk is giving away both Spark and the printer's design, the company should still profit because the move would drive demand for the firm's other products. 'If 3D printing succeeds we succeed, because the only way you can print is if you have a 3D model, and our customers are the largest makers of 3D models in the world.'

Instead of the extrusion technique most commonly used by existing budget printers, Autodesk's printer uses a laser to harden liquid plastic to create the objects delivering smoother, more complex and more detailed objects. 'We're making a printer that, rather than just being able to load in proprietary materials, you can load in any material you want. You can formulate your own polymers and experiment with those. That's an important next step because we think material science is a breakthrough that has to happen to make [the industry] go from low-volume 3D-printed stuff to where it really starts changing manufacturing.' Bass said, its printer is targeted at more professional users–for creating small objects like medical devices or jewelry–and will likely end up closer to the $5,000 range, though exact pricing has not been set."

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Great, another quasi-monopoly (0)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#47007733)

coming to a theater near you.

Re:Great, another quasi-monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47007809)

Pretty much. Every good so called app for this will have already been mysteriously created and proliferated before you can even think to get going.

But still, there ispotentially opportunity here.

Monopoly (5, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | about 4 months ago | (#47008111)

monopoly? huh... how?
They are dozens of 3D printers models out-there, both by big brand (like Materialize [materialise.com] ) or very small maker groups (RepRap [reprap.org] ), based on several different technologies (glued powder, extruted melted material, laser polymerisation, etc.).

There's a clear open standard to transfer data (STL).
This format is documented [wikipedia.org] (and is brain dead simple).
Anything that can spit this format can be used for 3D printing.
Any printer that can eat this format will print.

The only ploy for Autodesk is that they are a dominant actor in the market of software used to make the models (the "STL spitting" mentionned above).
The more the 3D Printing market expands, the more demand for models, and thus the more creator may buy Autodesk professionnal ).

But no monopoly is going to take over the STL ecosystem,
just like the post-script ecosystem didn't got taken over by HP.

Re:Monopoly (-1, Troll)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about 4 months ago | (#47008465)

The original comment is an example of the new style of Slashdot karma whoring. Just say something nasty, no matter how baseless, and boom, +5 Insightful.

Re:Monopoly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008571)

This counts as "new" how?

Re:Monopoly (0)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | about 4 months ago | (#47009023)

No kidding. The one-line quips were usually top-rated for as long as I can remember, provided they were relevant and early. RTFA was never mandatory, however.

Re:Monopoly (0)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 4 months ago | (#47009455)

/sarcasm Keep focusing on the messenger instead of the message.

Re:Monopoly (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 4 months ago | (#47008677)

"just like the post-script ecosystem didn't got taken over by HP."

Wrong analogy. Two things:
1. PostScript was developed by Adobe

2. HP never came close to dominating the PostScript printer market, prefering to sell printers that used its own Printer Command Language. Apple was for a time the dominant PostScript printer vendor with its Laserwriter series. PostScript printers now tend to be niche products favored mostly by manufacturers of high-end imagesetters used to produce the print-ready layouts of fashion magazines, art books and the like.

3. Adobe practically opensourced PostScript, allowing or tolerating "clones" like Ghostscript. The ocumentation was in any case easily available for the price of a trade paperback. Whatever one might say about the quality of its products, Adobe was certainly less evil than many vendors of proprietary solutions that would sue potential competitors to the ground.

Re:Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008863)

Kinda-sorta.

Around 1989, Adobe had all its type 1 fonts using an encrypted format. You could make type 3 fonts, but they had no hinting ability so only non proportional (think Courier New) typefaces could be made.

Microsoft came out with TrueType/TrueImage and Apple jumped on the bandwagon. This did do the job -- Adobe's hand was forced, and they released the type 1 spec.

I would say that Adobe was less evil, but they were in a position that Microsoft and Apple could have rewritten a standard functionally identical to Postscript and have that be the industry standard, so it wasn't just goodwill that Adobe allowed such use of PostScript.

These days, I do miss PostScript. It might require a driver to use more advanced printer features... but it allowed any device to print to any printer... something that is missing these days. To boot, nobody sells PostScript printers these days, so one has to hunt down a used 3 or 4.

Re:Monopoly (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47009431)

"1. PostScript was developed by Adobe"

BTW, my first Postscript Printer did cost 10.000$ at the time and it was only 2D, black&white and only 300dpi.

Re: Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47009427)

It's a heavy hand entrance to the market. Yes auto desk's core is software... And who leads the software market for 3d printing?

Solidworks...

  And autodesk has them in its sights.

Re:Monopoly (1)

bmajik (96670) | about 4 months ago | (#47011771)

Based on my experience of using SketchUp to design a part that I ultimately had ShapeWays print for me, I would say that there's plenty of room for innovation in the 3d printing toolchain.

One thing to note is that modelers like SketchUp assume a uniform internal volume. And so you use tools like slic3r to prepare the model for printing.

In effect, the 3d geometry is the source code. Slic3r would be a "compiler" -- which translates idealized geometry to something more ready for printing -- e.g. by driving an extrusion head in 2d layers (or slices)

I think there is a lot of room left for innovation in the transformation pipeline, which can backfeed requirements into the modelling stage, and which could feed requirements into the print hardware to expose capabilities information upstream as well.

For instance, how can I optimally slice a model so that I use as little print media as possible, while still retaining enough strength? Slicers and printers differ on how they fill interior volumes. Filling volumes with uniform hollow geometry speeds up printing and lowers cost. But is uniform geometry the best choice? When and where are other choices better? And should I slice the model a certain way based on the characteristics of the printer?

Suppose my model let me capture information about stressed joints, where I would want to change the how the interior volume was printed, based both on my design and on the capabilities of my printer?

These features may actually exist, but in the free tools I used, there was no indication that this was the case.

Autodesk could certainly do a lot of good things here. Printing objects that are faster to print, cheaper to print, and stronger when used.. that would be impossible for the industry to ignore.

Re:Great, another quasi-monopoly (2)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 4 months ago | (#47008139)

With Android, google did something good to the mobile world I think. It has created a mostly open source OS, and allowed it for every company to install it on their device. Whether it has a monopoly or not, it created a base for small companies to start with, when creating their own mobile OS. This OS also has standardized lots of the mobile phone world outside of this apple walled garden. Look at how incompatible those old feature phones were across vendors.

Re:Great, another quasi-monopoly (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47008643)

With Android, google did something good to the mobile world I think.

Autodesk is not Google. Android is a mostly open ecosystem, created to prevent Apple from dominating the smartphone market. I don't think that is what Autodesk is doing. If I can code up a design in Python, convert it to STL using FreeCAD [freecadweb.org] , and print it on this device, then I will be very happy and might even buy one. But I will also be very surprised. I RTFAed, and didn't see STL mentioned anywhere, although they did repeatedly use the phrase "open source" in a context that made no sense.

swimming in prosperity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47007743)

there's safety in #s? http://rt.com/usa/159164-los-angeles-oil-spill/

TeNsIoN iN tHaIlAnD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47007753)

CnN rEpOrTs!

wHaT tImE iS iT?

tImE fOr MoRe AdS!

They make their money off of software. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47007755)

Autodesk software is hella expensive. They'll throw in the hardware for free.

Re:They make their money off of software. (3, Interesting)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47007855)

I was thinking the same thing. And this breaks down their analogy to the Google Nexus, since Android was released as "free" and (reasonably) "open" software. OTOH, if you can afford a $5k printer, you can probably afford a "seat" license for AutoCAD too. Seems to me the maker-bot crowd have already sparked the fire, so I'm not sure how this new offering is going to speed up the revolution. I don't see anything wrong with what they're doing either... just have to wait and see what comes of it.

Re:They make their money off of software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008423)

Its not the seat license that would bother me, its the forced DRM that would prevent you printing anything resembling a licensed object unless you pay extra fees.

Re:They make their money off of software. (1)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#47008599)

I'm fully expecting a Digital:Convergence Cue Cat Scanner-type debacle out of this. Someone will figure out how to make the printer work without the expensive software, Autodesk will get pissed off, try to sue them, but the "security" to prevent the printer from working without Autodesk's software will be so poor that it could be proven in court, and in the end, they'll be angry and bitter.

I actually hope that I'm wrong, but we'll just have to see.

Re:They make their money off of software. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47008765)

The whole point of this printer is that you can use it without the expensive software. They're allegedly giving away the part you need to use the printer, that is, the driver. They're also giving away the design for the printer. They probably paid for the design already and couldn't figure out how to commercialize it (you know, the old word for "monetize") on a completely proprietary basis so they decided to trade it for good will and mindshare. Probably the printer driver will come on a disc with some autodesk demos that you can pay-to-unlock.

There's already proprietary 3d printers out there, so selling yet another one wouldn't differentiate them in any way. Why bother?

Re:They make their money off of software. (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47009419)

Probably the printer driver will come on a disc with some autodesk demos that you can pay-to-unlock.

If the price to "unlock" the demos is cheap, they might have a winner, but then why would their current customers continue to pay those hefty per-seat fees? OTOH, if they're going for a mass-market shift toward cheap, ubiquitous 3D printing, that would make sense. I just don't see how a big corporation would make a move like that on such a short time scale. Methinks this is more marketing hype than a real strategic shift.

Re:They make their money off of software. (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 3 months ago | (#47018183)

Autodesk wants to sell you 3D design software. They think it's the best in the world, and worth a premium price. (For all I know, they may be right.) For their purposes, the more useful a created 3D design is, the better, since more people will think their software worth the price. I doubt they care that much whether people who weren't going to buy their software anyway (I have very little use for such software) benefit or not.

Re:They make their money off of software. (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47009509)

The whole point of this printer is that you can use it without the expensive software.

Citation please. I read the article, and it does NOT say that. It seems to imply that, but it doesn't come out and say it unequivocally, and it uses lots and lots of weasel words, that could mean anything or nothing. The term "open source" is tossed around without any context. If you read the AutoDesk's press release [autodesk.com] , you will find more weasel words. They don't use the term "open source" themselves anywhere, even once. That phrase was apparently inserted by a journalist that misunderstood what AutoDesk was saying.

They're allegedly giving away the part you need to use the printer, that is, the driver.

Citation please. "Allegedly" giving something away, is not the same as actually doing it.

They're also giving away the design for the printer.

Citation please. They say it is "freely licenseable", which I take to mean "anyone can license it", but not "license at no cost". If anyone can license the design, use it for free, and maybe even modify or extend it, then WHY DON"T THEY JUST SAY THAT? Instead they wrap everything up in weasel words.

Re:They make their money off of software. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47017459)

They're also giving away the design for the printer.

Citation please. They say it is "freely licenseable"

Guess you missed the part where they say "the design of the printer will be made publicly available" in the very article you linked. Stop FUDding.

Any material? (4, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47007799)

'We're making a printer that, rather than just being able to load in proprietary materials, you can load in any material you want.

How about bacon? I always wanted to print with bacon.

Re:Any material? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47007845)

It "all" it is doing is cutting the object out of a block of stuff, sure why not.

Re:Any material? (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#47007897)

That's exactly what it's not doing.

Re:Any material? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 3 months ago | (#47018209)

Cutting stuff out of a block has different problems from building up something out of amorphous material, and AFAICT they're much harder problems.

Re: Any material? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 4 months ago | (#47007911)

Printing with food has actually some pretty interesting applications: arbitrary shapes and sculptures that are edible + new dishes that are not possible with traditional techniques.

Re: Any material? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47007977)

So I could make a 3D-sculpture of Natalie Portman out of bacon? And then cover it in, for example, hot grits?

Re: Any material? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47008485)

If I were to print a sculpture out of bacon, I'd be sure to name it Kevin. But if the sculpture resembled Natalie Portman, people would probably ask why I call Natalie Kevin and consequently wouldn't get the joke.

K. S. Kyosuke = "Run, Forrest: RUN!" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47009123)

From a fair challenge like a chickenshit blowhard http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

K. S. Kyosuke gets called out & ran (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47009131)

From a fair challenge like a chickenshit blowhard http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

K. S. Kyosuke gets called out & ran (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47016221)

From a fair challenge like a chickenshit blowhard http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

K. S. Kyosuke = "Run, Forrest: RUN!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47016229)

From a fair challenge like a chickenshit blowhard http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re: Any material? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008649)

So I could make a 3D-sculpture of Natalie Portman out of bacon? And then cover it in, for example, hot grits?

Yours would not be the first.

CNC bacon cutter (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 4 months ago | (#47008127)

They make CNC Laser Cutter, they make CNC Wood cutter, they make CNC mills,...

somebody is bound to build a CNC bacon cutter !!!!

Re:Any material? (3, Interesting)

click2005 (921437) | about 4 months ago | (#47008435)

There is a 3D food printer on Kickstarter canned Foodini, it prints almost any food that can be squirted out a tube so bacon paste maybe.

Re:Any material? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47012001)

Fuck, reddit is leaking. Quick, start pumping before the hipsters drown the fucking place with their asinine meme-fucking horsemask faggery.

"open source nature of Autodesk's platform" ??? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47007859)

I thought Autodesk products like AutoCAD weren't open source.... ummmm.... can someone please enlighten me?

Re:"open source nature of Autodesk's platform" ??? (3, Interesting)

some old guy (674482) | about 4 months ago | (#47007987)

The flagship products, i.e. AutoCAD, are closed source, but document utilities and the API's for standard formats (ISO and ASCII *.dxf for example) are open source. Note: the international file format standards were adopted from Autodesk's proprietary formats many years ago.

Re:"open source nature of Autodesk's platform" ??? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47008131)

They aren't This is marketing BS. Autodesk is about as closed source as you can get. They open source their document formats so any competitor will use them and further solidify Autodesks leadership position. But that has nothing to do with being open and everything to do with trying to lock in customers. Go install Autocad... It should elicit memories of installing Microsoft software in the 1990s. You enter keys and serials, verify things on-line over and over... You better hope nothing gets screwed up in your registry because you'll never get it running again. Oh, and you have to pay a yearly subscription that's hundreds of dollars. /rollseyes

I'm not into 3D printers yet, they're not much more than toys at the moment. I'm not paying $1k for a toy. A CNC Mill is a lot more useful and not that much more expensive (granted it wouldn't be a great CNC mill) But I can see it coming, and I'm sure Autodesk does as well. All it will take is the discovery of a new kind of plastic and 3D printers will change things over night. The 3D printer crowd is a pretty big market though in regards to CAD software. Autdesks products are ridiculously expensive. People doing 3D printing just blew all their money on a printer, they cant afford to pay thousands for autocad. So they're either pirating it or switching to Linux which has a couple dozens truly open source cad programs.

This is just an attempt by them to stay relevant. But they stopped being relevant due to their sales model about 10 years ago. The only advantage they still have is being taught in schools. Which isn't a bad advantage... remember Apple in the 80's/90's? Schools didn't even have Dos! But that will only last for so long.

Re:"open source nature of Autodesk's platform" ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47009007)

Welcome to industry. Guess what, everything is closed source. Show me a PLC programming environment that doesn't involve all of what you just mentioned about AutoCAD, plus absurd prices on hardware for the PLC's themselves.

Re:"open source nature of Autodesk's platform" ??? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#47009055)

you are funny, AutoDesk has 85% market share, they are the de factor standard. The are certainty The Relevant ones. The cost of their software is nothing to the companies that use them to make millions to billions a year in profits.

The open source CAD alternatives are crap, sad to say. There is no credible threat to AutoDesk on the horizon for at least the next decade

Re:"open source nature of Autodesk's platform" ??? (1)

Pallas Athena (2855215) | about 4 months ago | (#47010713)

You might be mistaken. Yes, the current manufacturing industry uses AutoDesk, and doesn't care about the price. After all, manufacturing almost anything will set you back at least a few hunderd thousands of dollars before the first product is shipped. Compared to that, the software cost is irrelevant - and if AutoDesk is even just a little bit better in getting everything right the first time, you've saved more than a decade of license costs. So that's their current customer set - big companies shipping products by thousands. With 3D printing, there will be lots and lots of people and small businesses designing, prototyping and manufacturing (in very small quantities). Unless AutoDesk radically shifts its strategy, these people will not be able or willing to pay AutoDesk licenses. Hence there is a huge opportunity for open source programs, and/or for other software houses, and the 85% marketshare may very quickly drop - even though they will probably maintain their current customer base.

Re:"open source nature of Autodesk's platform" ??? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47011009)

you are funny, AutoDesk has 85% market share, they are the de factor standard. The are certainty The Relevant ones. The cost of their software is nothing to the companies that use them to make millions to billions a year in profits.

The open source CAD alternatives are crap, sad to say. There is no credible threat to AutoDesk on the horizon for at least the next decade

Yes, the industry uses Autocad. Just like Artists used to use Apple almost to exclusion. But now the indi-people are moving to other things because Autocad is insanely expensive. (and yes, the price really is insane) So what happened when all the indi-people started doing graphic art and recording on IBM PCs in the late 90s early 2000s? It didn't go so well for the apple desktop. Teenagers couldn't learn on ultra-expensive apple computers and apple software so they learned on PCs. When they got to school they took that knowledge with them and the idustry realized they could get away with buying stuff that was 1/10th the price. The market now is rife with PC art and recording software that's every bit as good as anything apple has.

I think the same thing is going on with Autocad now. Highschool kids in their basement with a 3D printer aren't playing around with Autocad... and that should be very worrying to Autodesk. And the next decade? You're probobly right there... I'm talking 5 to 10 years out. But do you think Autodesk isn't planning that far? They'd be foolish if they weren't.

Re:"open source nature of Autodesk's platform" ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008595)

Other commenters are idiots who didn't RTFM. Both the hardware design and the software driver platform ("Spark") are open source.

Autodesk hope to make money by continuing to sell AutoCAD, Maya, Max, etc. etc. and this is a free incentive which they hope will boost the overall market for 3D modelling programs.

NOTE: Spark is open source and freely licensable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47007909)

The summary misses an important point: The software platform is open-source and freely licensable. See the official Autodesk press release here

http://inthefold.autodesk.com/in_the_fold/2014/05/accelerating-the-future-of-3d-printing.html

Re:NOTE: Spark is open source and freely licensabl (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47008783)

The summary misses an important point: The software platform is open-source and freely licensable. See the official Autodesk press release ...

That press release does not use the term "open source" even once. "Freely licensable" does not necessarily mean "licensed for free". This press release contains a lot of gibberish that appears to have been carefully crafted to mean one thing while appearing to mean something else.

As a corporation, AutoDesk has always been on the dark side of the force. Not to the same degree as Microsoft or Oracle, but still pretty bad. You should be automatically skeptical of anything they say.

Re:NOTE: Spark is open source and freely licensabl (1)

Pallas Athena (2855215) | about 4 months ago | (#47010831)

... and 'licensed for free' does not necessarily mean 'open source'. In fact, the term 'freely licensable' suggests to me that it is NOT open source.

Baked Goods (1)

eyepeepackets (33477) | about 4 months ago | (#47008067)

I want the oven/crucible from Diamond Age -- anything else is just an incremental step along the way.

Leading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008163)

Autodesk have a lot of products but Inventor, their MCAD offering (the type of 3d CAD tool used to design the items in the article) is probably the weakest in the market.

Proprietary materials? (1)

AC-x (735297) | about 4 months ago | (#47008167)

'We're making a printer that, rather than just being able to load in proprietary materials, you can load in any material you want. You can formulate your own polymers and experiment with those.

Is UV hardening resin really any less proprietary than ABS filament spool? I don't think there are any 3D printers that require truly proprietary (in that you must get them from the OEM) are there?

Re:Proprietary materials? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008231)

The ones that aren't on some level reprap-derived you lose all your warranty on your $20k+ machine if you put anything but their filament in it.

Re:Proprietary materials? (4, Informative)

orgelspieler (865795) | about 4 months ago | (#47008413)

IANAL, but wouldn't this be prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act? Ingersoll-Rand try to pull that crap on me with an oil change on an air compressor. Once they knew I knew my rights, they got real apologetic real quick.

15 USC S2302 [gpo.gov]

(c) Prohibition on conditions for written or implied warranty; waiver by Commission

No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if—

(1) the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and

(2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.

The Commission shall identify in the Federal Register, and permit public comment on, all applications for waiver of the prohibition of this subsection, and shall publish in the Federal Register its disposition of any such application, including the reasons therefor.

Re:Proprietary materials? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 3 months ago | (#47018297)

IIRC, Magnuson-Moss applies to consumer-level stuff. A $20K 3D printer is not currently consumer-level. What sort of air compressor did you have? I've seen plenty at Home Depot, and if Home Depot sells it it's consumer-level.

Re:Proprietary materials? (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | about 3 months ago | (#47019635)

Good thing I'm no lawyer, looks like I completely misunderstood the scope of this law. I hope you get modded up. But these guys I was dealing with apparently didn't know the law either. This was a mid-sized 125hp unit to run a plant, don't remember the price, but it had to be well into five figures.

IR sells some standard lubricant in a fancy bottle with their logo on it. The local rep tried to charge us 9 grand for an oil change that should have cost half that. I told them to go pound sand, and had a competitor do the service instead. IR's local service guy got fired shortly thereafter.

But as for a 3D printer... It walks the line between consumer good and intermediate good. I really don't know how a court would decide, but it would be worth the fight. Is a 2D printer considered a final good? It can arguably be used to "make" newsletters or photographic prints. So, it's arguably an intermediate good, right? Like I said, not a lawyer. :-)

On a good note, the guys at Generac (since you mentioned Home Depot) consider their backup gens to be consumer goods, and completely respected my rights to buy a replacement battery from any vendor. They did offer a replacement, but were not pushy about it.

Re:Proprietary materials? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#47008295)

I don't think there are any 3D printers that require truly proprietary (in that you must get them from the OEM) are there?

Apart from most of them, no. By most of them I mean the higher end ones. It's really common.

Re:Proprietary materials? (1)

AC-x (735297) | about 4 months ago | (#47008355)

Ah of course I was thinking just in the consumer space, even then tho are there 3D printers specifically locked to certain material cartridges, or is it just that no-one else makes resin / powder with the right material properties for the printer? Is it just a contractual thing where companies must buy x amount of refill material from the company etc?

Re:Proprietary materials? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 months ago | (#47008585)

I know one of the 3D resin printer companies had some patents that just recently expired, one of the maker type printers was going to use their tech after the patents expired but they kicked off their crowdfunding campaign before that date which apparently constituted selling an infringing device.

Re:Proprietary materials? (1)

Rrraou (3655889) | about 4 months ago | (#47010431)

This is basically the same thing as my Form 1, which sells for around 3k (http://formlabs.com/products/form-1/). I'll be curious to see the build area on this because from the picture, the platform doesn't look all that big, though it's hard to tell size without a banana for scale. The huge resin tank is a nice feature at first glance to make sure you don't run out during a print, but keep in mind you want to be able to squeegee any misprints off the silicone at the bottom of the tank and use something like a comb to filter the occasional semi hardened globs from the liquid resin so having too much resin in there might result in a messier experience. With a good support generating system it's basically plug and print. and the 25 micron resolution is more than enough for me to print high detail 3d sculpts with great results. It's safe to assume autodesk will at least match or do better on this. Specifically, about materials, it's a lazer at (405nm is the number I remember) that solidifies the 0.25 micron layer between the build platform or the last layer printed, and the silicone at the bottom of the tank. Theoretically, if you can put a liquid in the tank that reacts appropriately to the correct lightwave, you can throw it in there and print with it. The only parts at risk would be the resin tank which is a consumable, and the build platform, which is also easily replaceable but much less likely to be damaged. On the forums, different 3rd party resins have been tried with varying success. The b9's cherry red being one of the better ones. Fails have mostly resulted in damaging the silicone in the resin tank, which can also be removed and replaced. I don't see any way this type of printer could possibly be limited to using proprietary resin. The Form 1 has exposure defaults for it's own resins and no way to add new ones so any third party resin maker would have conform to what's already there, but any similar printer that would allow you to vary exposure times based on resin suppliers specs should be abe to handle a wide variety of materials.

Re:Proprietary materials? (1)

Pallas Athena (2855215) | about 4 months ago | (#47010903)

Actually, yes there are. Stratasys uses their own proprietary filament, and consumer-grade Cube 3D printer uses special cartridges - which of course you can't buy anywhere else.

Form One clone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008299)

Anyone else notice the resemblance to the FormLab's SLA printer? The one that's been out for a year with a price tag of 3K instead of this guy's 5K?

misleading (3, Informative)

joss (1346) | about 4 months ago | (#47008639)

> uses a laser to harden liquid plastic

ie http://www.3dsystems.com/quick... [3dsystems.com] the tech that i was writing software for 20 years ago..

> you can load in any material you want.

well, sure, it just won't make anything. I mean you *could* load the machine with fucking coca cola if you wanted, but its not going to give you a part.

To actually make something you need a photosensitive resin with very precise material properties. Back in the day that stuff cost $300/litre .. i'm sure its come down a bit, but the i'll bet ya good stuff still aint cheap

Re:misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47015779)

I find the title of your post somewhat ... misleading :p

Nobody said that using a laser to harden liquid plastic was new, in fact TFA specifically talks about this technique coming out of patent.

And TFA also explains quite clearly that you can load in any material you want if you want to experiment with new polymers. Now, I'm not sure how many people want to (or are able to) experiment with new polymers, but that's the stated aim, besides the obvious things of "you can buy your photosensitive resin from any supplier that can meet the required spec, thus allowing competition in the market for the consumables". cf every inkjet company in the world, one of whom is apparently going to enter this market soon (can you say "warning shot across the bows"?)

Cool that you worked on this stuff 20 years ago but RTFAing before commenting still counts for something ;)

Re:misleading (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47015793)

How is it misleading? They don't claim to have invented the technology, they're just one of the first companies to be selling a consumer-aimed laser-based system.

And did you actually read what they meant by "any material"?

We're making a printer that, rather than just being able to load in proprietary materials, you can load in any material you want. You can formulate your own polymers and experiment with those.

Peachy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008747)

So, they saw www.peachyprinter.com and made one for themselves...

Re:Peachy (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 months ago | (#47008997)

And decided to charge 50x more. My guess is the Autodesk one uses gears and stuff. Still doesn't warrant $5000. Maybe they're providing a full suite of their software with the printer (doubtful)?

Re:Peachy (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47009887)

I thought about the PeachyPrinter when I read the article too.

For the price Autodesk is asking, I thought it would use a DLP or something, to print one layer at a time instead of tracing every vector one at a time.

Citation needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47008757)

"Autodesk — the leading 3D modelling software-maker" [citation needed]

stereolithography, makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47009159)

I've been using my own Replicator printer for 2 years now, and agree that it won't ever get to consumer level. It's a dumb machine, lots of moving parts. Prints fail all the time and require lots of experience and patience to diagnose and fix. What worked yesterday, fails today..all the time. Maybe it's possible to add enough sensors (heat, vision, position..), software to do real time adjustment of every possible problem, but that would just complicate things even more.

I've always thought stereolithography will the the solution for consumers. Dramatically fewer parts and simpler software, only a few things that can go wrong. And like said in the article, it's simply a materials science problem to innovate from this point on. Yes there will be proprietary materials available, that's good for innovation for advanced/specialized needs. And of course we are all still fighting the printer ink battle. But there most likely be non-proprietary materials if a consumer market does appear. The software needed already is open source, nothing new is needed there.

I'm excited to see some major players get in the game. All for giving them a chance. I paid $2,000 for a printer that really only should cost $200 based on the simple, large parts it's made of.

The other consideration for consumer 3D printing is 'the cloud'. Why spend $1000 for your own printer when you can select a model online, customize it, have it printed (with someone else confirming quality), and mailed to you in a day.

Leading 3d Modeling? (3, Informative)

ClimbRocks (2654647) | about 4 months ago | (#47009539)

"The Leading 3d Modeling Software" is actually Solidworks by Dassault Systems, I suspect by wide margin over Autodesk Inventor. Of the equipment vendors I deal with, only 2 out of 8 use Inventor, the rest are on Solidworks. It's not unusual however, for most vendors to have Autocad (from autodesk) in addtion to either package, which is primarily for 2d line drawings (it does have some 3d capability, but the modeling is usually done in Inventor) Some other supporting stats. http://blog.cnccookbook.com/wp... [cnccookbook.com]

Re:Leading 3d Modeling? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#47010523)

You forget the entire installed userbase of all flavors of autocad, including most of the architecture industry - not just inventor. I'm sure that's how they calculate their "3d modeling" numbers.

Anything by Autodesk makes me cringe. Autodesk's licensing makes Adobe look like open source. No first sale, upgrades outside of 3 years are at full price, and annual maintenance is 30% of a well-negotiated single seat license price. As a bonus, the dwg format changes every three years (hmmm, that number is familiar...) so that compatibility with anyone not on the maintenance plan is compromised.

Re:Leading 3d Modeling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47014283)

This. They design spacecraft in Solidworks at NASA.

Re:Leading 3d Modeling? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47015791)

"The Leading 3d Modeling Software" is actually Solidworks by Dassault System

No it isn't. People use 3D modelling software for other stuff than CAD/CAM. Autodesk own not only their own branded products, but also Maya and 3D Studio Max and Softimage XSI, which are used extensively in the entertainment industry (games, movies, TV). Their claim to own the 3D modelling software industry is completely accurate once you understand they mean "3D modelling", not "some arbitrary subset of 3D modelling".

Target Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47009851)

My guess is this unit shall be aimed much more towards education, and low cost prototyping than the existing hobby market Makerbot, etc service.

Solving a solved problem (4, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#47009991)

To control your 3d printer, or CNC machine, you use G-Code. Its been around for about 70 years since the original MIT variant. At this point in time it is the de-facto standard for CNC (which includes mills, lathes, AND printers)

All printers and CNC mills I've seen use G-code, there is absolutely no reason Autodesk needs to be involved in this other than to make their software output proper g-code.

For $30 you can create a G-Code capable stepper motor controller using an Arduino and GRBL. For $60 you can combine an Arduino and the GRBL Shield and power low end steppers like those used in pretty much all home/small 3d printers and an extruder, bed warmer and a few other things with only a few additional relays.

GRBL is more than capable of doing all of the important bits of g-code and several that aren't so important when it comes to 3D Printing, so we already have a fully functional OSS g-code implementation, not to mention all the other ones such as the reprap controller software and so forth.

Dear Autodesk,

FUCK OFF, we don't want your shitty ass proprietary bullshit which will use some randomly new standard like printing auto cad files directly rather than producing a proper intermediate format. Its a 100% certainty that you will NOT create anything optimized for efficiency or space, only vendor lock in to your software.

Your software also, well, fucking sucks in almost every conceivable way. The only reason you still have customers is legacy, nothing else.

Re:Solving a solved problem (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#47010563)

Awww, don't be so harsh on Autodesk. They will just want $1200 per person per year to keep your $6000 printer current and running - is that really so much to ask? A pittance, really, a trifle. Imagine all the wonderful things we^h^hyou can do^h^hsupport with that trivial licensing fee, like that great Autodesk HQ building with doggy day care and free meals. All for just a small nearly-voluntary donation once a year.

(If Adobe and SCO had a bastard child, it would only be half as evil as AutoDesk.)

Re:Solving a solved problem (1)

zenlessyank (748553) | about 4 months ago | (#47011061)

You hit the nail on the head. Monetizing & blanketing creativity is the ultimate sin. I think Autodesk and Apple share the same radioactive Kool-Aid.

Solving a solved problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47011803)

you need a bit more for projector based resin printers than gcode.

not much more though.

and there's already open software for doing it. so boohoo. and 5k is kinda lot, since I can't imagine what you would use for such machine that would make it better from the 1k range. except maybe using a 4k projector. if using laser, then maybe they use some expensive servos and really, really fucking expensive linear rails for moving the laser around, but that design makes absolutely no sense unless you want it to cost more just for sake of costing more(cheap linear rails would do just as well). you could build a corexy cartesian movement mechanism that used miniature slides(good quality) for laser movement for far, far far less and still have plenty of money left for buying resin and a riser plate mechanism..

Re:Solving a solved problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47015813)

Dear Autodesk,

FUCK OFF, we don't want your fancy pants laser stereolithography machines that work consistently and might become a viable consumer-level product someday. We like our stepper motor FDM because it's just low-precision CNC with a different tool so we can use legacy software, and failing to print 3 times out of 4 keeps the amateurs out of our elitist playground. Fuck your ease of use bullshit, and fuck you for open-sourcing all this stuff. You think you're one of us? You won't be one of us until you give your mainline products away too. This isn't about money, this is about me having everything I want for free. Why can't you understand that?

PS: whaaa

Re:Solving a solved problem (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 3 months ago | (#47018407)

At least in CNC mills, there isn't any "proper gcode". It depends on things like available tools in the mills, material being milled, etc. I'd imagine that 3D printers of different types would require different gcode. I don't see how you'd use the same for printers that deposit material vs. printers that use lasers to solidify material. There's much to be said for making a 3D model first and then using something else to translate it into the specific gcode needed for the specific use.

Monoprice (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47014677)

Monoprice also announced their printer, it's similar to a dual-head MakerBot but for roughly half the price.

Open Source, my copious backside (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 months ago | (#47016255)

'The printer is a bona fide attempt to prove the interoperability and open source nature of Autodesk's platform,says Pete Basiliere.'

'Please ignore the fact that we still require you to run Microsoft Excel to fully use Autodesk Inventor.'

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