Autodesk plans $100M investment in 3D printing

Hewlett-Packard isn't the only software giant planting the seeds for a 3D printing ecosystem this week.

Autodesk has been crafting its 3D printing strategy for some time now, but the software maker is taking a much bigger step soon.

The Bay Area-headquartered business announced a new $100 million investment on Thursday, dedicated to third-party 3D printing developers and companies.

Dubbed the Spark Investment Fund, the pool of money links back to Autodesk's Spark open software platform introduced earlier this year as a platform for connecting 3D printing hardware and "digital information," aka data.

The Spark Fund, aimed at startups and researchers aiming to advance 3D printing technologies, would ideally bring more attention and engagement to the Spark platform.

Autodesk's fund launch comes just one day after Hewlett-Packard's pre-announcement of sorts to nurture its own 3D printing ecosystem, expected to come to fruition by 2016.

HP said at an event in New York City on Wednesday that it is working with six customers on 3D printing innovation with partners promised to sign on by early 2015. 

HP is also infusing its own technology into the plan, such as using thermal jet techniques and fusion agents.

Autodesk has already unveiled some of its own in-house hardware — a sleek, cherry red tabletop 3D printer intended to serve as a reference implementation — when Spark debuted in May. 

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