Most everything in the maker community is becoming more open source. It’s almost a requirement–allowing modification of the original hardware or software design, through a free license, to suit the needs of the end user.
Companies such as Raspberry Pi Foundation, Arduino and LittleBits all support the open-source initiative and even some of the larger companies are embracing the movement.
Autodesk is one of those companies, having first put their 3D printer design under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, and most recently, releasing the Ember 3D printer electronics under the same with firmware released under a GNU GPL license. If that wasn’t enough to garner the attention of makers everywhere, they’ve even made their Standard Clear Prototyping resin open-source as well. As strange as that may sound, it allows users to mix and modify their own version of Autodesk’s PR48 to suit their needs.
With the electronics in essentially free-for-all mode, users can modify the primary printer’s PCB, which features a Beagle Bone Black clone, AVR-based motor controller, USB ports, 8GB of RAM and revamped power management. The secondary PCB provides power to the OLED display and the various LEDs, which are also controlled by its own AVR. Yeah, feel free to modify those too.
On top of that, Autodesk provides the design files for each of the four boards in the Ember, as well as schematics for the PCBs, the bill of materials (BOM), and vendor lists and assembly drawings, all of which can be downloaded directly from the Ember website. So how do you benefit as a consumer or maker? The most obvious benefit is that you could essentially build your own printer based on your project needs. Add and subtract what is/isn’t needed to either 1) make it cheaper to build than simply buying the printer 2) make it better thank the original or 3) both. With the added fact that you can use their formulation to mix your own resin, the project makes the DIY option extremely attractive. Those interested in getting everything Ember can head over to their website at ember.autodesk.com.