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  1. #1
    Administrator Eddie's Avatar
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    AutoDesk Announces Their Own 3D Printer and the 'Android' of 3D Printing

    Pretty huge news coming out of AutoDesk today. They have just announced that they will be manufacturing 3D printers. They have also announced a new "Operating system for 3D printers", called Spark. They say it will be the "Google Android" of 3D printing. Spark will be a free OS, and the 3D printer will be open source. This could have a huge impact on the 3D printing industry.

    More details at: http://3dprint.com/3760/autodesk-3d-printer-spark/

    Here is a picture of their SLA based 3D printer they announced today.

  2. #2
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    Oh wow, this actually has me cautiously optimistic. Autodesk is a company with enough resources to really flood the market with both its hardware and software. At $5000 it's certainly not going to be the printer of the middle class, but I could certainly see it dominating the "small office" 3D printer market. I really don't see where Autodesk can go with hardware compatibility that they haven't already gone with existing printers, but name recognition could go a long way for them.

    As for focusing their software towards 3D printing, I am downright recklessy optimistic.

  3. #3
    Engineer-in-Training beerdart's Avatar
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    Looks like a coffee maker.. LOL

  4. #4
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    I followed all the links that I could and didn't find any good information. I couldn't find build volume of the reference design.

    I don't see how this will get traction if it really does cost $5,000.

    B9Creator has been around for at least a year now and I think is a better choice if you want an open hardware design.

    If you don't mind closed hardware, Form1 is $3,300. The material cost is a bit high though, even from third parties. I suspect the Spark might require expensive materials too.

  5. #5
    This is very interesting news indeed. Not too terribly surprising, given how much Autodesk has been trying to insinuate itself into the 3D printing world - there sure have been plenty o' tweets from that company with the #3dprinting hashtag.

    I've been using Autodesk's design applications for years, and have always been impressed with what they've had to offer. However, the company has been very, um, "creative" in the last few years in getting to squeeze more money out of their customers in order to keep using those tools. This makes me skeptical about their open-source Spark OS - is it only a matter of time/money before the open source slams shut a la Makerbot? Probably.

    Then there's the issue of a software company taking a step into the hardware world, and winding up with egg on their faces. The comparison to Android seems more than a bit ironic, given Google's difficulty with the hardware/smartphone market. Will Autodesk learn from others' mistakes? I guess we'll find out. It should be interesting, though.

    -Crawford

  6. #6
    Administrator Eddie's Avatar
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    I have confirmed, it will be in the $5,000 range.
    Eddie

  7. #7
    I think the bigger news from all this is that they are open sourcing the Spark platform as well as the technology behind this SLA printer. Ultimately this will lead to innovation, and a great deal of competition like we are seeing right now within the FDM printer market. We all know how cheap FDM printers are getting.

  8. #8
    Administrator Eddie's Avatar
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    I had the chance to talk with one of the Press people at AutoDesk and asked them a few questions about Spark and the new AutoDesk 3D Printer. Here is what I got out of it

    - Would you be able to supply details on pricing, when it will be available, etc?

    · Spark and the Autodesk 3D printer will be available later this year. We have not determined a final price but expect it to be in the $5k range.

    - Can you provide specs on the 3D printer?

    · We will provide designs for the Autodesk 3D printer when we make it available later this year.

    - Also do you have plans on manufacturing any other 3D printers perhaps targeting industry or prosumers?

    · We expect businesses to be the primary users of the Autodesk 3D printer, and hope that by providing designs for our printer others will innovate on our design

    - Any further details on the platform and how developers can get access or when they will have access?

    · Spark is an open 3D printing software platform that sits between digital information and 3D printing hardware. It will include the necessary algorithms (for example slicing and supports) to easily convert 3D models into the necessary format for 3D printing. It will also include tools for checking and repair of 3D models, utilities for print preview that are compatible with mobile and desktop operating systems, cloud connectivity, and the ability to publish and share models. Spark will be a highly extensible platform, with SDKs and APIs for software developers, materials engineers and designers who will be able to create software, services, and information on top of the platform. Autodesk will license the basic aspects of the Spark platform for free to 3D printing manufacturers and software developers. There will be some restrictions and usage guidelines to ensure a consistent user experience.

    - Any screenshots of the Spark Operation System?

    · We don’t have Spark screenshots available, but here’s an image of the 3D printer.

  9. #9
    Staff Engineer LambdaFF's Avatar
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    ... any news on the size of the build volume, and other technical specs ? I find it hilarious that they can already state a price but don't announce what this is buying.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LambdaFF View Post
    ... any news on the size of the build volume, and other technical specs ? I find it hilarious that they can already state a price but don't announce what this is buying.
    This. In reality, they announced a rendering. The rendering looks nice, but footprint for build platform size is poor.

    Do they even have a working prototype?

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