Autodesk made the announcement in May, but its strategy isn’t what you think it is. Instead of trying to become the leading manufacturer of 3D printers and having to compete with popular brands like Makerbot, Autodesk is seeking to work alongside popular manufacturers, developers, and innovators by bringing easy-to-use, streamlined, open-source 3D printing software to the market. Autodesk expects Spark to change the game forever.
Spark is designed to give developers, makers, manufacturers, and inventors more control over the printing process. The software enhances the maker’s control over how a design is printed, and it give a more accurate look at how the final product will look before printing (a huge benefit for manufacturers that rely on 3D printing for quick, functional prototypes). The software is compatible with a wide range of printing filaments and is expected to make the 3D printing process so streamlined that a novice can do it.
Since the software is open-source, Autodesk is asking developers to join it in recreating how we 3D print. Developers are welcome to customize the software and share their updates with the world. Autodesk is comparing this approach to Google’s rollout of the Android OS. At one point, Google did sell its own mobile hardware, but its real goal was immersion of its software into the market. Today, almost no one uses Google hardware, but Android is the most popular mobile OS in the world. Autodesk is seeking to do the same with Spark — accompanied (of course) by its very own 3D printer.
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