Will Arduino Drive the 3D Printing Open-Source Movement?
Could the open-source movement push 3D printing from the peak of the hype cycle to more mainstream adoption? This would enable consumers to get their hands on cheaper 3D printers and 3D printing applications.
A big catalyst for open-source hardware today is Arduino.
Arduino is the brainchild of an international team of five engineers: Massimo Banzi and Gianluca Martino of Italy; David Cuartielles of Spain; and David Mellis and Tom Igoe of the U.S. According to Banzi, who recently made a presentation at TEDGlobal 2012, Arduino has developed the Interactive Design Institute Ivrea (IDII) to help students there actually build prototype objects that could react to their inputs. Using a foam model of a prototype cell phone, for instance, simply would not make sense.
Arduino’s openness means that the micro-controller board can be found in the heart of a lot of open source hardware devices today, including 3D printers, toys and thousands of projects within the maker community. Commercial vendors and do-it-yourselfers alike are picking up Arduino boards and customizing them for their projects with the eventual launch of some compelling devices.
With more 3D printers in the hands of product creators, the reliance on “Made in China” would decrease and more goods would be made locally, even in consumer’s homes. Adding open-source technology to the equation only speeds the time to market because of the price discount experienced by consumers.
Will Arduino be that open-source component that gives 3D printing its due boost?
Arduino photo by LenP17 used under Creative Commons license.