May 15, 2015
It’s one thing to claim a commitment to an open source philosophy, and another altogether to build an open source business. MakerBot ran afoul of the maker community as they accused the company of shifting away from an open source business model. There was much gnashing of teeth directed at Bre Pettis.
Last year Autodesk announced its intention to create a platform specifically for additive manufacturing (AM) called Spark. Rather than keep development in-house, the company declared Spark to be open source, and released developer kits.
Ember, Autodesk’s first 3D printer, is part of the Spark program. Upon release, the Ember was meant to drive creativity as a tool for research and development, rather than acting as yet another professional desktop system. Now Autodesk is continuing with its commitment to crowdsourced development by releasing the mechanical plans for the Ember to open source.
From the website:
The full design of Ember in Fusion 360 is now available for you to freely view, download, inspect and modify. I’ve been having a blast with the explode model function! We’re sharing these designs under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, the same license Arduino uses to share their design files. Just like the formulation for our resin, we’re explicitly inviting you to understand, remix, and remake Ember.
Notice the line in there about the resin formula? That is also open source.
While you might have the plans for the Ember in your hot little hands, that doesn’t mean everyone can simply start zipping out Ember clones. Many of the parts require (ironically) injection molding to manufacture, and a short run of those items would probably end up costing more than just buying an Ember directly.
The open source idea is meant to come up with ways to improve upon the design. Quantity has a quality all its own. The entirety of the Spark experiment has the possibility to be a game changer. Only time will tell.
Below you’ll find a video about the Ember.