What is Open Source, and why should I care?
Following in the footsteps of many other pillars of the 3D printing community; I will make my 3D printing designs and parts open source.
By providing these designs I create on an open source licensing agreement (Creative Commons, Attribution - Share Alike), it opens up barriers between other innovators and designers to collaborate quicker, modify and improve upon existing materials. This promotes creativity and innovation.
So why do people choose to give things away for free?
Why choose Open Source? Well, for me it is incredibly important to honour the reason I was able to find an avenue into 3D printing. During my studies in Mechanical Engineering, I always had a an eye on 3D Printing but thought it was not accessible to a student, or someone just out of University. When I started my career as a Design Engineer, I was introduced to a few machines; Ultimaker and re:3D Gigabot. I managed and operated these machines for several years. What these machines provided me, aside from 3D printing experience, was the insight into the RepRap community. A Community solely based on creating, innovating and producing designs that others could use, and create 3D printers than could, well, 3D print other 3D printers! Hence the name, RepRap. The work from this community had a direct influence on the 3D printers I had access too, there were lots of fixes, changes, modifications and advice available throuhg that community, and essentially is where the birth of every day consumer printers has stemmed from.
You see, the Open Source license is a breeding ground for excellent design and engineering. One person shares a design that solves a problem, another analyses the design, builds on it, improves it, and shares it further. This cycle is what sustains the current home-based 3D printing community, and websites such as Thingiverse, Myminifactory or Cults. You can view and check the licensing agreement on these websites, which often use the Creative Commons licensing to attribute to files hosted.
Who else uses the Open Source license agreement?
Surprisingly, some of the most common software you use day to day, is open source. Software companies are, in my opinion, the forerunner in Open Source adoption. You could be reading this blog on a Browser that is open source. In fact, you almost certainly are if the stats are anything to go by. Check out the image below to see who some of the software front runners are:
Therefore, any designs we engineer in house for improving printers, we will share. We plan to release designs on a regular basis here, on the website. Providing CAD here and hosting the STLs on a community website, like Thingiverse.
Customer commissions will remain proprietary to satisfy privacy and NDAs.