Open source 3D printing materials now available
Aleph Objects, the maker of LulzBot 3D printers, and IC3D Industries, a producer of 3D print materials, have announced the availability of what is claimed to be the world’s first certified open-source hardware 3D printing filament.
The companies state that the desktop 3D printing industry exists thanks to open-source hardware projects such as Arduino and RepRap; yet until today, all 3D printer filaments remained restricted by proprietary or secret processes. Now, IC3D has released a 16-page white paper documenting its manufacturing process, parameters, material grades and more.
“Proprietary materials should not be an impediment to advancing the use of 3D printed objects for certified parts and other industrial applications,” said IC3D founder and CEO Michael Cao. “IC3D is committed to open source 3D printing consumables. LulzBot and Aleph Objects’ focus on open source has been an inspiration to IC3D and we’re pleased that they will be reselling IC3D consumables.”
“The future of the 3D printing industry is open,” added Aleph Objects President Harris Kenny. “IC3D is demonstrating impressive vision by bringing the philosophy of user freedom to filament manufacturing, and we are proud to be working alongside them.”
In October 2016, the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) established a program allowing self-certification of open-source hardware products based on stringent community-established guidelines. LulzBot 3D printers are not only OSHWA-certified as open-source hardware, but are also said to be the only 3D printers with Respects Your Freedom certification from the Free Software Foundation.
When printing IC3D filament with LulzBot 3D printers, it will be possible to have a 100% free/libre open source tool chain for additive manufacturing, from software to hardware to end product. This new level of sharing opens up more possibilities for users, educators and businesses.
Open-source hardware certified 3D printing filaments will allow more individuals to participate in process improvement and more producers to focus on innovative materials rather than elementary process development. Open source filaments may lead to certification of 3D printed parts, since the materials and processes by which they are produced are entirely transparent.
IC3D’s filament white paper and other documentation is hosted on file-sharing website GitHub, which will allow IC3D to easily update documentation as its processes evolve. It can be accessed here.
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