Autodesk is putting the designs for its Ember 3D printer out there free for everyone – mechanical design files, the lot.
The full design of Ember in Fusion 360 is now available for free to view, download, inspect and modify, shared under the same license Arduino uses to share their design files (a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license).
This adds to Autodesk’s planned disruption of the desktop market, just like the formulation for its resin, which it is “explicitly inviting you to understand, remix, and remake”.
As explained by Eric Wilhelm, the founder of Instructables.com and head of Autodesk’s hardware group, where the Ember 3D printer was designed, with these design files, you can conceivably make your own Ember.
“However,” points out Wilhelm. “Many of Ember’s parts are injection molded, and while it is possible to 3D print these parts (many of Ember’s first prototypes were largely 3D printed — there’s a certain beauty in a 3D-printed 3D printer), it’s probably more work and ultimately more expensive than buying an Ember.”
The same is true for its projector – a Fusion model of the projector won’t help you make your own, but it seems that’s isn’t the point.
“Our thought is not that you would duplicate Ember, but extend it. The design files allow you to make your own modifications and enhancements,” adds Wilhelm. “For example, we’d love to see Ember used as a research platform to explore the next-generation of stereolithography.”
It’s an exciting move and one which also proves that Autodesk is willing to stick to the promises it made when launching its foray into 3D printing.
Expect a few lookalike machines to quickly appear on the market before the end of the year, but also be prepared for people taking the stereolithography process forward – something that is surely worth the risk of open sourcing a machine like this. Other 3D printer makers take note.