May 27, 2016 | By Tess

As our readers will know, an important part of the 3D printing community is the idea of accessibility. Of course, it is more than just an idea, as everyday makers around the world share their 3D designs and models for free, and even 3D printing companies exercise an open-source philosophy with DIY 3D printers and accessible models. Recently, Barcelona based 3D printer developer BCN3D Technologies decided to further embrace the additive manufacturing open-source philosophy with their latest initiative, Open Source 360º. As part of the initiative, the company has announced that it will share all of its engineering, design, and fabrication information used in the manufacturing of their flagship product, the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer.

BCN3D Technologies was founded as a project from the Fundació CIM, a nonprofit branch of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. According to the company, it was having these roots in the university system that prompted it to launch the Open Source 360º initiative. Through the initiative, BCN3D Technologies will release its BCN3D Sigma documents under the CERN Open Hardware Licence (CERN OHL) and General Public License v3 (GPLv3).

The BCN3D Sigma 3D printer, for its part, is perhaps one of the most well-regarded dual-extrusion, professional grade desktop 3D printers on the market. The printer, which costs $2,540, boasts a build volume of 21 x 29.7 x 21cm with a resolution of 50 microns maximum. The printer has offered makers an Independent Dual Extruder system, which allows for easy calibration and virtually limitless geometries.

The easily accessible information, hosted through BCN3D Technology’s website, is divided into five levels: software, hardware, process, tooling, and teaching. In a press release, the company explains that in the software level, the documents will go through the BCN3D Sigma’s firmware (Marlin’s Evolution), source code, and the BCN3D Cura. For its hardware, users will be able to browse and see every detail of the Sigma’s mechanical design, including 3D files, 2D drawings, and assembly instructions.

The process level will then give users insight into how the team at BCN3D Technologies proceeds at the company’s production plant, with access to assembling and QA files. In the tooling section, all the equipment and tools will be accounted for, including the testing bench that is used to calibrate the electro-mechanical components for the printer. Last but not least, the teaching level will provide access to all the courses that are given at both BCN3D’s classrooms, and at its resellers.

Roger Uceda, CEO of BCN3D Technologies, says, “It’s an opportunity to take advantage of the knowledge and enthusiasm of the BCN3D Technologies 3D printers users and the RepRap community, origin of the project. After sharing this information with some Sigma users from countries like Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom or United States we have realized that following this path will be easier to evolve our technology, answering the challenges that have been proposed to us.”

The company, which has seen much success with its high quality and reliable desktop 3D printers is hoping to show that opening up access to knowledge and information will not automatically open the flood gates for piracy. In the end they are hoping to demonstrate that even by, and perhaps because of, making their information more accessible, they can still maintain their position as a profitable and established 3D printer manufacturer.



Posted in 3D Printer



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