Yesterday, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass made a few key announcements in his blog post that created ripples in the polymer pools of the 3D printing world:
(1) Autodesk is jumping into the hardware game with a new open-source 3D printer. Prices, details, specs are still TBD, but this is significant as it is the first time that a predominantly engineering software company (CAD, 3D modeling s/w, PLM, etc.) is getting into the 3D printing hardware game. Interesting stuff.
(2) The new “Spark” platform- a more “open” 3D modeling software platform – will soon be available. The “open” part means that Autodesk is going to grant access to major pieces of the code and expose the APIs to developers. They are counting on the user and developer communities to help guide the design and create new functionality. This ultimately will drive new capabilities, parts and offerings created by end-users.
The details on the Autodesk products are still a bit lacking- so we’ll all need to wait for the product to hit the virtual shelves, but this is certain: 3DP technologies have just begun to change the way people approach design problems, prototyping and driving innovations. 3DP applications will be attempted in areas where the technology has never been used before… hence the extreme level of “hype” with lots of promises being made by vendors, providers, and entrepreneurs, picked up by main stream media. Keep in mind with “hype” comes with a fair bit of uncertainty. But the uncertainty associated with the hype shouldn’t overshadow the opportunities that 3DP creates.
The world is our 3D-printed oyster. As the digital component of 3DP creates a larger footprint, IT and engineering leaders will need to make sure that the 3DP ecosystem for creating, developing, sharing, and putting digital print files into physical action can be operated in a way that doesn’t become a barrier to innovation. You will need to talk to your engineers and drive alignment.
The Gartner “first take” by Pete Basiliere , Marc Halpern and myself is here: Autodesk Drives Into 3D Printing With a Hardware Play.
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