Autodesk launches open software platform Spark for 3D printing

Summary:Autodesk also unveiled a companion 3D printer, the blueprint of which will also be made open and licensable to hardware manufacturers.

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Matching its dedication to 3D design software , Autodesk unveiled Spark, an open software platform for 3D printing.

Aimed toward product designers, hardware manufacturers, software developers and materials companies, Spark is touted to help make printing 3D models simpler and easier.

That is partly supplemented by Autodesk's second introduction of the day: an Autodesk-branded, tabletop 3D printer that will serve as a reference implementation for Spark.

Details are still minimal on both products, but Autodesk promised that the architectures of both the software and hardware elements at hand here will be made open and licensable to manufacturers and "others who are interested" in experimentation.

The 3D printer is also supposed to be able to handle printing "a broad range of materials" provided by Autodesk as well as other supply sources.

CEO Carl Bass explained more about Autodesk's big bet on 3D printing in a blog post on Wednesday, reflecting the software maker's push to get in on the ground floor of this cutting edge technology while also helping it go mainstream.

Bass wrote:

The world is just beginning to realize the potential of additive manufacturing and with Spark, we hope to make it possible for many more people to incorporate 3D printing into their design and manufacturing process. Over the coming months we’ll be working with hardware manufacturers to integrate the Spark platform with current and future 3D printers.

Without providing an exact calendar date yet, Autodesk affirmed both Spark and the companion 3D printer will be available later this year.

Image via Autodesk

Topics: Hardware, Enterprise 2.0, Open Source, Software, Start-Ups

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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