Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK), a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, announced today that it has acquired San Francisco-based Instructables, a popular online community for people who want to discover, share and be inspired by DIY project ideas and how-to information. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Joining Autodesk will help us reach even more smart, engaged individuals and make Instructables an even better place to share projects and ideas”
Instructables.com is a destination where passionate, creative people come to share their most innovative projects and ideas on everything from technology and home renovation to crafts. Autodesk believes that the acquisition will assist makers of all types by linking Instructables’ vibrant online community to Autodesk software tools and services, such as SketchBook, 123D and Homestyler that allow anyone to explore design ideas and bring them to life.
Millions of Autodesk customers around the world are passionate about making things – whether in their professional lives or their personal lives. Instructables will introduce Autodesk customers to a thriving community of like-minded, smart individuals, with whom they can learn and share their personal inspiration or hobbies. Instructables members will benefit from Autodesk’s scale and powerful design tools, enabling the community to grow and share their ideas with a wider audience.
“Passionate, creative people want communities to support and encourage their endeavors,” said Samir Hanna, vice president of Consumer Products at Autodesk. “As a result of this acquisition, Autodesk will host a unique ecosystem that combines inspiration, accessible 3D software tools and fabrication services so anyone can be empowered to express themselves creatively.”
“Joining Autodesk will help us reach even more smart, engaged individuals and make Instructables an even better place to share projects and ideas,” said Eric Wilhelm, founder and CEO of Instructables. “Autodesk is a great cultural fit for Instructables, and I can’t wait to start changing the world together.”
Instructables members are at the forefront of the Maker Movement. They celebrate designing, personalizing and creating art objects, personal inventions and home ideas. Autodesk intends to retain the Instructables brand and will continue to operate Instructables.com following the acquisition, preserving the elements that make the Instructables community so authentic and successful today. Visit the Instructables blog for more information.
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@jeremy – good question/concern (many people are going to bring this up)… christy and eric who run the site are amazing, their smarts and the instructables DNA will make autodesk even better we think. we also think this acquisition (could be) a great opportunity for autodesk to really jump in to the open source world, maker space, etc. etc we’ll all see how it goes!
I think this shows that the DIY/maker movement is gathering steam.
Bit disappointed with this. Have had to deal with Autodesk’s acquisition of a couple of products that I use and it had not been good.
It does show that the the DIY/maker movement has value to Autodesk. What they do with it is what I am concerned about.
@biga – here is your chance to tell autodesk what they could do to make sure the acquisition goes well. provide specific examples of what they can do different for this and what they can do going forward.
@bigA – agreed, I’m viewing this w/ measured excitement. It’s clear how autodesk tools can be a huge assisted to the projects on instructables, Especially if they’re very low cost and provide open formats. But as a professional user of an autodesk acquisition I often wonder if they’re spread too thin or own too much to focus correctly.
Believe me, I’d love too see some of the sophistication of their tools trickle down into the maker design a space, but not at the cost of getting locked into a format and/or priced out of the range of what makes instructables so great – which is using and reusing what’s around for many of the projects.
I’d love to know *why* Autodesk bought them?
@jason, read eric’s post we linked to:
“Instructables will be the community arm of the same team that makes 123D, SketchBook, Homestyler, and Pixlr, which will help provide creative tools, inspiration, and services for all types of creative people.”
we imagine each of those products having dedicated instructables for projects, how-tos, documentation, etc, etc.
but we’ll all need to wait and see right ?
Autodesk has traditionally been a company that puts out very expensive non-hobbyist-friendly products.
The license of said products (mentioned above) doesn’t help.
Now this could mean that Autodesk is planning on changing their ways and moving in a new direction, but to be honest – I have a feeling this is going to be a bad thing for Instructables that will cause increasing pressure to use proprietary software.
@andy – we think it’s likely a better strategy to tell autodesk what they should do with instructables, what we all need/want, and how their licensing could improved as opposed to punishing them for things they *haven’t* even done yet. no one knows what the integration with autodesk + instructables will be, but we think that’s partly up to all of us 🙂
– Don’t discriminate against users who prefer non-Autodesk tools. That is, let Sketchup, Alibre, Solidworks, and other formats to be offered freely if a project has downloads
– Don’t stop promoting a service if Autodesk does not offer a competitor – For instance, Autodesk partners with Ponoko now, but Ponoko does not offer a lot of services that their competitors do. Don’t prevent, say, Shapeways from having a voice on the site.
– Don’t change the focus to an overly commercial one. Instructables has a community of DIYers. It can be a lucrative community, for sure, but avoid focusing Instructables on selling things to people
– Do encourage high-quality submissions to the site (which, I think are in very poor supply) and incentivize it if you can.
– Do up the profile of the site and encourage your professional users to consider it
– Do integrate it with your 3D warehouse for appropriate projects
– Do find a new logo – but not one from any “corporate” process! 🙂
In autodesk’s defense, they have actually made some interesting efforts in terms of licensing their SW. For example, aside from giving their SW out to students for non-commercial learning purposes, they aso extend the program to any unemployed engineer or I believe former military personal to download, active and learn on it. You can assign whatever motives you want and the license is non-commercial, but I still found myself respecting their decision to offer their entire SW library to unemployed engineers for self-training with absolutely no red tape or hoops to jump through. Obviously they realise you can get all of their SW illegally all over the web, but good on them for making it legal for people who can’t afford it and generating some good will in the process. Smart thinking from my perspective. If you spend 2 years learning something with legal SW, you’re not likely to abandon that effort if you do find yourself employed or in a better financial situation in the future.
Now that Instructables is going to be part of Autodesk, will FREE memberships go away? How about FREE project submissions? If so, then I will go away too… And oh yeah, will Autodesk respect our privacy, or flood our inbox with junkmail?
Does this mean a non paying member might be able to see more than a thumbnail on photos? That paging through a project won’t be interrupted by a popup asking the viewer to become a paying member?
I was going to post a thing or two but when I got around to it I found looking at other projects too annoying as a guest, so I just moved along.
I recognize servers cost money to run and bandwidth costs money but maybe there are better ways to generate revenue than crippling usability of the site. Maybe a pay to vote system and affiliate program/store. Now with commercial backing maybe the cash won’t be as much of a problem.
Obviously many people have had bad experiences with Autodesk policies in the past, but I don’t see why that would cause such a commotion here. Either Autodesk does a good job with Instructables or someone will set up a similar service and the community will move on. Autodesk and Instructables both have to know that too, so why would they execute a deal like this if they didn’t think it would work out well for everyone?
This could benefit the maker community or it could become a very public cautionary tale for corporations on how to destroy a lot of goodwill, but it’s hard to see how it could damage the maker movement in the long run. Keep calm and carry on making things.