Jan 2, 2015 | By Alec

Doubtlessly, most of you will know Autodesk as a provider of excellent 3D modeling software. But did you know of their recent expedition into hardware territory as well? For the better part of 2014, they have been working on a number of 3D printing endeavors that could seriously change the environment of this community. Among these: the very promising Autodesk Ember 3D printer, that works with resin.

As the images illustrate, the Ember features a beautiful industrial design. Currently, it is set to be priced at $5,995 – much more expensive than FDM printers, but cheaper than other professional resin machines. Their explorers' program, where customers can test the machine, kicked off in December.

But perhaps most importantly, Autodesk has just shared a few sneak previews with the rest of the world, illustrating exactly what their printer is capable of. As part of their Christmas festivities, one of their employees was asked to produce a set of gorgeous jewelry, as you can see below.

The necklace and earrings were made by the company CEO Carl Bass and Product Manager Arthur Harsuvanakit. For design, they obviously relied on the company's signature Fusion 360 software, before printing it on their brand-new Ember 3D printer. Finally, the set was cast in Sterling silver.

As Autodesk revealed, this set was about more than simply showing off their printer's capabilities. It was also about ensuring that their own employees know the ins and outs of their products. As the company CEO, Carl Bass, argued, 'I want to know from real world experience what our products can and cannot do. I look to experts who take on special projects that demonstrate the power of what we build and the realistic limitations as well.'

Autodesk's whole hardware project primarily revolves around the Spark initiative, a work-in-progress open software platform that aims to make 3D printing easier than ever before. 'Spark connects digital information to 3D printers in a new and streamlined way. It's an open platform so that everyone can join in and use its building blocks to push the limits of 3D printing. To encourage the broadest possible community to participate, Spark is free to license.' As part of that initiative, Autodesk has also created a $100 million Spark Investment Fund to encourage entrepreneurs, startups, and researchers to 'push the boundaries of 3D printing.'

The Ember 3D printer has been developed to maximize the efficiency of the Spark platform. While this interesting printer won't be ready for market for another few months, we already know quite a lot about it. It is a high-resolution resin-based 3D printer, that relies on a DLP light engine to cure its resin (many other printers rely on laser technology). It features 10 micron layer thickness and 100 micron minimum feature size, and a (relatively small) build volume of 64 x 40 x 134mm. As the printer is intended for jewelry, dental structures and other highly detailed object, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

And then there's just one final treat, released on Christmas day: a very brief clip of the Ember in action. If you can't quite make it out, the 3D printer is working on the logo of the Spark project, at 0.025 mm layers. Supposedly, printed took about four hours:


Posted in 3D Printers


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Rich wrote at 1/5/2015 8:59:27 PM:

Wow, such a small build volume. About half that not including height of the Form 1+ and a good $2,600 more in price. I own a Form 1+ and it rocks. Why would I pay more for less? Oh it can do 10 microns. The Form 1+ can do 25 microns and that's more than enough detail, big deal. I don't see how that would convince me to pay almost double.

sergevi wrote at 1/3/2015 12:28:08 AM:

we know autodesk as open source software ???? where ? autodesk has all the closed source , most expensive , rental 3d softwares.. yes, that we know !

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