Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Open source 3D printer from Autodesk

While many hobbyists and makers have embraced the inexpensive 3D printer market, there are a number of higher end devices available to serious fab shops. Autodesk has just announced their Ember 3D printer, coming in March. Since Autodesk is a big player in the CAD world, a lot of engineers who already use it will be interested in this printer. But the big value is their open-source printing software called Spark 3D

In the hobbyist world Makerbot made a lot of fans by using open source design software and Autodesk is betting that this will help them sell more product as well.

The new Ember printer isn’t cheap (starts at about $6000), but for serious fab shops this isn’t outrageous. It uses light-cured resin to print a layer at a time, unlike the hobbyist tools that print using melted plastic. This yields finer features and more accurate models.

Here’s a timelapse video showing the printer making an statue of liberty. Typical of light-cured resin printers, the Ember prints upside down. 

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