Open Source 3D Printer Filament.

Open source software is most commonly defined as “any program whose source code is made available for use or modification as users or other developers see fit. ” Also, there is open source hardware (OSH), which “consists of physical artifacts of technology designed and offered by the open-design movement. Both free and open-source software (FOSS) and open-source hardware are created by this open-source culture movement and apply a like concept to a variety of components.”

The concept of open source is very attractive, as this lends itself to continued development and / or improvement of the original technology by volunteers or other dedicated organizations.

Other notable developments in Open Source concept is the RepRap Project.

“The RepRap project started in England in 2005 as a University of Bath initiative to develop a low-cost 3D printer that can print most of its own components, but it is now made up of hundreds of collaborators world wide. RepRap is short for replicating rapid prototyper.

As an open design, all of the designs produced by the project are released under a free software license, the GNU General Public License.

Due to the ability of the machine to make some of its own parts, authors envisioned the possibility of cheap RepRap units, enabling the manufacture of complex products without the need for extensive industrial infrastructure. They intended for the RepRap to demonstrate evolution in this process as well as for it to increase in number exponentially. A preliminary study claimed that using RepRaps to print common products results in economic savings”

3D Printer Filament

So, let’s talk about the the first open source 3D printer plastic filament, produced by IC3D. A little history in 3D printing – for many years 3D printer companies developed and sold proprietary 3D printers, software and the filament that had to be used with them.  This business model was very much like that which the ink-jet printer companies had years past. Remember those $25 or more ink-jet refills? Anyway, when the open source RepRap 3D printers arrived on the scene there was an corresponding increase in filament manufacturers that provided an abundant and diverse selection of colors and specialty materials. These where and are exciting times.

Now, enter IC3D who has now introduced the first Open Source Hardware association (OSHWA) certified 3D printer plastic filament. What excites me is that we filament consumers can expect advancements in material quality, precision, and performance consistency across the industry. Having used IC3D printer filaments  what stands out most to me is the predictability of  extrusion and bed temperature for a wide range of part geometries and size.  I rarely have to adjust the printer – filament parameters to obtain a robust 3D print. You can see for yourself what this open source 3D printer filament is  and how it is processed by accessing the complete source code on GITHUB.

If you want to try out IC3D ABS or PLA open source printer filament, see Engineers Edge Store 3D Printer Filament.

References:

Wikepedia

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RepRap_project
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_hardware