Advancements in 3D Printing
In order to take your 3D part from concept to tangible piece, the part must first be modeled in 3D software. Autodesk, the company behind software like AutoCAD, Maya, 3ds Max, Inventor, and Fusion 360, has been rapidly incorporating 3D modeling capabilities into their existing software. Between Autodesk’s well-established software programs and new software in development, Autodesk is charging head first into the 3D printing market.
Over the last year, Autodesk has released a variety of app-based software that is specifically designed for 3D printing. These apps include 123D Catch, a program that allows users to take a series of photos of a model that are transformed into a 3D design, 123D Design, a basic 3D modeling program, and 123D Make, a program that allows users to create 3D models in slices from individual layers. With these apps combined with Autodesk’s Spark, an additional software platform, Autodesk has been described as the “Android of 3D printing.”
Autodesk Talks About the Future
Recently, IDG Connect was able to sit down with Aubrey Cattell, the Senior Director of Business Development and Operations. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits about the interview.
- Cattell reiterates that, although the printing industry is 25 years old, it hasn’t yet blown up. In fact, there have only been 250,000 3D printers sold over the last 25 years. Despite this, Cattell believes that we are on the cusp of huge growth, citing studies that predict that the industry will grow to $16 billion in 2018.
- Cattell compares the current state of 3D printing to a “Homebrew Computer Club.” Essentially, at this point, only the really technical people are taking advantage of the technology. Cattell also believes that people expect 3D printing to be as simple as 2D printing. For widespread adoption, it is possible that technology will have to advance to the point that there is such a thing as one-click printing capabilities.
- Cattell believes that Autodesk’s role is to identify and solve points of failure in the 3D printing process. Eventually, they hope to bring millions more individuals into the 3D printing marketplace. Part of this accessibility will also come from innovations like the Spark Investment Fund, a $100 million investment portfolio that Autodesk has made into advancing 3D printing technologies.
- When Cattell is asked about the comparisons between Autodesk and Android, Cattell agrees with the comparison, stating that both are ways to enable others to innovate without making significant investments in the infrastructure. With Spark, 3D printing developers will be able to work inside of the proprietary software in order to develop their unique products.
With Autodesk’s new software apps and the Spark platform, Autodesk is striving to advance the adoption of 3D technology. If you want to learn more about how you can bring 3D printing technologies into your home or office, contact us at Spectra3D Technologies for additional information.