In an interesting move this week, 3D printing giant 3D Systems acquired SYCODE - a software company. Recently 3DS has been swallowing up hardware makers and service companies, but now they turn to the software world.
What exactly does the Goa, India-based SYCODE company make? They offer a very wide breadth of plugin modules for a long list of 3D modeling environments, including: Acrobat, Alibre, ARES, AutoCAD, Bricscad, INOVATE, IntelliCAD, Inventor, IRONCAD, KeyCreator, Pro/Engineer, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Solid Edge, SolidWorks and SpaceClaim. Most of the software plugins permit import and export of unusual file formats, but also there are modules to perform point cloud, mesh or terrain manipulation. These plug-ins fill in gaps existing in the original tools.
So now the question is, why did 3D Systems acquire them? What interest would they have in file format propagation? According to 3D Systems chief Abe Reichental:
We plan to leverage this technology as part of democratizing access and accelerating adoption of 3D content-to-print solutions for the benefit of our professional users and consumers alike.
Ok, but what does this mean? What will could we see come from this alliance in the future?
We suspect the SYCODE plugin-making machine will continue producing its current shelf of plugins, but we may see the emergence of new function that enables more easy use of 3D printers, perhaps specifically those from 3D Systems. Maybe you'll soon be able to generate gcode or similar 3D print instruction streams directly from any 3D modeling tool?