Open source, you either love the idea or you hate it. It it weren’t for the open sourcing of 3D printer files, the industry would not be nearly where it is today. It allows for individuals and companies to take someone else’s ideas and designs, improve upon them, use them, and redistribute them. When done in a truly open source manner, this creates an exponential rate of innovation, whereas there could be thousands of people improving a design, only to have a thousand more come along and do the same to their own. We’ve seen 3D printers evolve at tremendous rates over the past couple years, and a large part of the credit belongs to the open source movement that a great deal of the designers and manufacturers have supported.
One company, Printrbot and their Founder Brook Drumm, are very much at the forefront of the open source movement. In fact, just last night, Drumm published a bunch of printable upgrades for his Printrbot 3D printers.
“Moving Printrbot files over to YouMagine.com,” explained Printrbot Founder Brook Drumm. “Just published some printable upgrade bits and bobs there for the metal Simple. Much more to come. Notice no more non-commercial license; that ship has sailed.”
The non-commercial license is gone, and it looks like we will be seeing more and more files for Printrbot 3D printers hitting the YouMagine 3D file repository. The files are marked with a ‘Creative Commons – Attribution Share Alike’ license, which means that they are free to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon for any purpose, including commercial purposes. If you do modify the designs, you must also leave these contributions under the same Creative Commons license. This could go a long way in helping improve upon Printrbot’s already incredible 3D printer.
Drumm plans to initially make the DXF files available on YouMagine, but he will also have them converted to STLs. I checked some of them out and there are some STL files already available. As of the time this article was written, there were five different files available from Printrbot on YouMagine. These include the Printrbot Simple Corner Mount, Printrbot Logo Filament Guide, Printrbot Simple Feet, and Printrbot Simple Filament SpoolHolder.
Drumm doesn’t plan on just releasing a few files. He has plans to go all out! “I’m releasing all the files, including the 1405 stuff,” he explained.
With all the latest patent filing controversies going on with MakerBot, whether or not you support what they have been doing, it is nice to see companies like Printrbot going in the opposite direction by allowing anyone to use their designs. While it isn’t known yet if this decision will help or hurt Printrbot, my guess is that in the long run, it will be beneficial, not only to Drumm and his company, but to consumers as well, who want to see continued fast paced innovation within the 3D printing space.
What do you think? How do you feel about what Printrbot is doing, in making their files available for free download? Discuss in the ‘Printrbot releases source files’ forum thread on 3DPB.com