In an effort to give back to the open source community, 3D printer maker CEL-UK has released its AutoMaker software under an open source license.
Code is the driving force behind the company’s Robox FDM 3D printers and provides users with slicing, checking, and error checking functionality. With the source code now available to the public, users in the manufacturer community will be able to tailor the software to their own specific needs. This means that tech-savvy people will be able to integrate new features and schedule new hardware actions as needed.
Chris Elsworthy, Managing Director of CEL-UK, said: “We are incredibly proud and excited to open up our work and offer all of our great clients the opportunity to help us and each other continue to grow. of what we think is one of the greatest. workflows on an FDM platform.
Back to basics
Seven years ago, with consumer 3D printing just taking off, CEL-UK launched its Robox 3D printer through a Kickstarter campaign. The system came fully built and ready to use, which was not as common as it is today. Like many others, the company leveraged the collective knowledge of the open source community to accelerate its product development, but quickly moved beyond technology and developed its own electronic components, hardware, and software, including AutoMaker.
While many of CEL’s competitors at the time were shutting down the source of their technology for business reasons, the company wanted to create a more accessible ecosystem and reach a wider audience. The route taken was a semi-open source route, where customers were encouraged to tinker with the process, but many cogs in the technology were still hidden. This approach allowed CEL to gain traction with businesses and schools, but always limited the manufacturer and free software communities that sought full access.
Elsworthy adds, “Our intention has always been to open up all of our work to our clients, to allow the development of the platform to continue and to ensure that the community we have worked so hard for continues to invest in our project. . . Now seems like a great time to open up all of our software so our customers and anyone else who’s been tracking our progress can get rid of their own itch. “
A new chapter for CEL-UK
The public release of AutoMaker is only part of the company’s vision for the near future, which includes the continued development of the Robox product line. Along with the release, CEL-UK is also launching its new second generation motherboard for use with its 3D printers. Fully backward compatible with all existing systems, the Robox Mainboard 2 comes with new features, improved motor control chips and reduced noise levels.
Elsworthy and his modest team also started a company called Q5D Technology, which they are using to develop their new 5-axis FDM technology. According to the company, the project ultimately aims to ensure that “FDM remains at the forefront of additive manufacturing”.
While not by choice, the Stratasys OEM 3D printer will also lose a set of proprietary rights later this week. The upcoming expiration of US6722872B1 will mean manufacturers around the world will be able to use the two-decade-old design of the company’s heated construction chamber. With the entry into the public domain of the device, the high temperature industrial FDM market is expected to experience an influx of competitors.
Elsewhere in the open source community, RepRap founder Dr Adrian Bowyer MBE previously posted a blog post describing his design of a solenoid bed warmer that can be integrated into FDM 3D printers. Much like CEL-UK, Bowyer is a champion of open source collaboration and often posts proposals for new devices that may be of use to DIY makers.
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The image shown shows the AutoMaker status page. Image via CEL-UK.