In the past year, Adobe has entered hesitantly into the 3D printing industry by offering 3D printing extensions to its Photoshop CC software, allowing users to format and send CAD files directly to 3D printing service bureaus and 3D printers, like the MakerBot Replicator 2 and the 3D Systems Cube. At the same time, the original CAD producer, Autodesk, has been seriously pumping up its own 3D printing game. Aside from the announcement of their own 3D printer and 3D printing software, as well as the release of numerous user-friendly CAD programs, the company has continued to integrate specific 3D printer manufacturers (specifically Stratasys) into its Meshmixer 3D printing software.
Up until now, users have been able to 3D print directly from Meshmixer with a slew of Stratasys machines, including Makerbot Replicator 2s. To expand its compatibility, and perhaps box Adobe out of the 3D printing sphere, the CAD giant has added compatibility for the smaller, yet definitely important brand of Type A Machines. With Meshmixer, owners of the Series 1 3D printer from Type A Machines can now 3D print from the software, without having to first slice and print their models in two separate programs. And, because Meshmixer is a simple and capable piece of software, it’s possible that Series 1 users will already be repairing, merging, and cleaning up files in Meshmixer in the first place.
You can learn a bit more about the program’s new extension in the video below:
This embrace of Type A Machines not only gives Autodesk some street cred by working with a manufacturer of desktop 3D printers with established roots in the Maker community, but it leaves Adobe with less street cred by comparison. It also spreads word about Type A’s already successful machines through Autodesk’s channels, so it makes for great publicity for the San Francisco-based 3D printer manufacturer, as they rebrand themselves from a Maker-oriented company to a consumer-oriented company with greater mass appeal. All-in-all, a good deal for the partners involved!
It’ll be interesting to see what other manufacturers Autodesk chooses to incorporate into the software in the future. As I’m learning from being involved in this industry, corporate partnerships are a difficult thing to work out and must be finessed just so. With their already extensive relationship with Stratasys, I’m not sure if a certain 3D printer company, currently under litigation, will be added to Meshmixer’s compatibility list very soon (unless users choose to do so manually themselves).