Open Source 3D Printing: LulzBot and IC3D Team Up for First-Ever Open Source 3D Printer Filament

IC3D and LulzBot at MRRF 2017 [Photo: IC3D]

Open source is an ideology important to much of the 3D printing community; the ethos is at the foundation of many companies involved in the scene from the beginning, and it can be a polarizing topic. For some, like Aleph Objects with its open source LulzBot 3D printers and the community built up around the technology, and the RepRap community, sharing is caring. Other entities jealously guard their intellectual property; what’s theirs is theirs, and start to finish the system is proprietary. MakerBot drew some serious flack a few years ago when they changed direction from open source roots and became part of the closed source Stratasys family. For its part, HP’s entry to the 3D printing industry blew some minds when the company, infamous for requiring use of proprietary ink in their gargantuan 2D printing operations, chose an open platform approach to their materials in additive manufacturing.

While companies like HP have opened up materials innovation to work with partners, there has been perhaps room for open source innovation in materials at the desktop level — specifically, filament for extrusion-based 3D printing systems. Or at least Aleph Objects thinks so. At this past weekend’s Midwest RepRap Festival held in Indiana, the company announced to the dedicated crowd of hobbyists and enthusiasts gathered that they’ve entered into a collaboration with Ohio-based IC3D dedicated to opening up the filament scene. Full details of the partnership will be announced in the coming months as there’s more progress to report on, but in the meantime the teams from both IC3D and Aleph Objects are expressing their enthusiasm for the project. The soft announcement at MRRF represented a glimpse into what will be a fuller announcement around the time of RAPID + TCT in May.

“Midwest RepRap Festival is a one-of-a-kind 3D printing event that brings together a community…

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