Open Source vs Closed 3D Print Files

Where do people stand on the subject of copyright protection and companies moving to introduce encryption and data streaming - here is an article about secure 3D printing we recently published which was written by a Dutch company looking to introduce such a solution. Personally I see some applications for it in industry but I am less sure about the benefits of it finding wider use. 3D printing for the masses is still fairly new and we need to have high levels of innovation and sharing.

We’re pretty much very pro open source around here. Digital rights management is just annoying, and you are dependant upon the whim of the company providing the decryption server for your licensed files that you paid for to continue working. (see walmarts failed digital music service for example). That being said, the piece of the equation that I don’t think anyone has figured out yet, is how does an open source designer who has no intention of selling physical parts make money?

Ad revenue from the part hosting website or blogs centered around that part / printers / etc? Open source Non-commercial? The best open source designers will get hired/ sponsored by companies wishing to preserve design excellence in open source (which seems to be the route things go mostly with contests and whatnot) I don’t know. For me, 3d printing is a fun and interesting hobby. I make a pretty decent living as a Server and Network admin, so it’s not a skill I have tried to really turn into a career or a method to support myself financially. I have sold the occasional finished piece to people, usually just enough to cover the filliament and print time. I’ve toyed with the idea of selling printer upgrade kits. The kickstarter route also has some merit I suppose, but the funding there seems to be less about the end product and more about how good you are at social networking and media attention getting.

I don’t know. I really dislike the idea of encrypted files since it prevents printer innovation and the rapid evolution of better things. On the other hand, there are part ideas that might be of interest to other people that I haven’t put time and effort into yet because they are hobbies, not something that I would get paid for. I’ll get around to them eventually one way or the other most likely. I don’t know. it’s definitly something worth discussion. Open source definitly is important and brings alot of innovation and continual leaps to the equation. The trick is keeping the innovators focused on innovating.