When Autodesk does something, they don’t fool around. Now they’ve announced a new cloud-based 3D platform that could shake things up.
The new platform, called “Forge”, is described as follows:
A set of Autodesk cloud services, APIs, and SDKs for developers to quickly create the data, apps, experiences, and services that power the future of making things.
So it’s more of a toolkit than anything else, but this is, we believe, quite important for the future.
As you may have noticed, there are many services migrating from their current digital locations deep into the “cloud”. There are many advantages to doing so, such as anytime access from anywhere and easy sharing between parties. That’s why you’re finding more cloud services.
But what’s happening in the world of 3D? Certainly there are a number of 3D-based cloud services, such as several 3D modeling tools, but these are typically standalone entities, operating within narrower domains. The most significant 3D print-related cloud-based environments so far originate from a few 3D printer operating systems, such as AstroPrint, which offers APIs for their environment, and even has an app store of its own. Similarly, 3DPrinterOS also offers a set of APIs for their environment.
With the Forge platform, it’s now very possible to create 3D applications that span entities through the use of the standard set of APIs provided by Autodesk. Thus, you could have a 3D modeling cloud app talk directly to a 3D print service, for example. Or a 3D modeling cloud app could make use of a specialized 3D model repair tool behind the scenes.
One can easily imagine tricky industrial 3D workflows being created by tying together a number of Forge-enabled cloud services.
Autodesk is providing these APIs and toolkits in an effort to increase the size and breadth of their 3D ecosystem, which we expect will happen with this announcement. Not immediately, of course, as it will take time for app builders to learn and make use of Forge capabilities.
Coincident with the platform announcement, Autodesk also announced a USD$100M fund to assist those in using the platform to develop new 3D cloud applications.
The Forge Platform delivers web service components for developers to quickly create the data, apps, experiences, and services that will power the future of how things are made. Join us in creating a seamless, intuitive experience for the people making the world we live in.
That’s what we want to see: better 3D printing experiences, and it may be up to you to build them using Autodesk’s Forge platform.