Look out Stratasys. Look out ‘lil ol’ 3D Systems. Mama Autodesk is coming to hardware town, and bringing a truckload of open-platform 3D printed fury with them. Today, it was confirmed in a blog post that Autodesk is entering the hardware market and will be releasing their first 3D printer. It’s not only a 3D printer though.

Indeed, this new venture is attacking fab on both fronts–software and hardware. Autodesk is pushing past the bland, old let’s-launch-a-3d-printer-on-kickstarter mantra and building “an open software platform for 3D printing called Spark,” say Autodesk CEO, Carl Bass, in the blog post. With it, will come an open source 3D printer. Both will be freely licensable and publicly available for all with an itch to 3D print to enjoy.

Spark will be open and freely licensable to hardware manufacturers and others who are interested. Same for our 3D printer – the design of the printer will be made publicly available to allow for further development and experimentation. The printer will be able to use a broad range of materials, made by us and by others, and we look forward to lots of exploration into new materials.

Currently, however, it seems little more than a dream and a single, yet very eye-catching rendering of the concept and the closest mention of a release date to be ‘later this year.’ Still, Autodesk is surely sending a few ripples through the maker-sphere.

On another note, I remember when Adam and I asked Carl when he was going to get into the hardware market and release a 3D printer. He laughed. You can listen to our interview with Carl Bass here and reminisce on the days when Autodesk just use to be a software company.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.