Autodesk’s Spark Causes Collateral Damage?

By on May 20th, 2014 in Ideas


Last week Autodesk announced Spark, an initiative to standardize things 3D printing, and a “reference 3D printer” using those specifications. We think this could be trouble for some. 

Certainly the new specifications that form Spark will be of use to a number of manufacturers. What’s even more interesting is that Autodesk is apparently going to open source their resin-technology reference 3D printer. As with any similar machine specification, we will no doubt see many companies sprouting up quickly to manufacture them, modify them and improve them. 

One improvement will be price. Apparently Autodesk’s machine is set to cost around USD$5,000, but innovative companies may be able to reduce that by using different parts or production processes. So one could imagine the slick Spark machine being retailed for less. Perhaps even USD$3,300. 

But that’s the price of Formlab’s Form 1 resin 3D printer. 

In fact, all of the newly emerged resin-based 3D printers are now at some risk from future competition by new entrants leveraging Autodesk’s gift to the world. The Spark platform may become a benchmark against which these machines are measured. The OWL Nano and FSL3D’s Pegasus Touch must all be a bit more concerned after this announcement. 

For consumers, it’s only good news. More competition inevitably means lower cost and better results.