Next On The Open Source Horizon: 3D Printing

Jack M. Germain | LinuxInsider | May 28, 2014

3D printing is not yet a mainstream business activity, but the technology has progressed to the point where users can print three-dimensional objects and manufacture their own prototypes and replacement parts with relative ease. The open source community is advancing 3D printing technology by conducting experiments that could take it to the next level.

Three-dimensional printing is much more than a hobby industry today. Home users can download design files from websites and print a variety of products for their own use. Business users are creating functional products that let them jump-start their product lines with computer-assisted drafting software and desktop 3D printers.

High-priced proprietary 3D printing systems are rapidly giving way to more economical and innovative hardware and software developed by open source communities.

"Open source is really driving the 3D-printing technology. The desktop market has a price range of (US)$5,000 or less. Open source developers are very active in this industry and are responsible for a lot of innovations in hardware, extrusion methods and materials," Harris Kenny, communications manager at Aleph Objects, told LinuxInsider.