Autodesk has announced two new 3D printing products and an open-source 3D printing platform called Spark.

The company is hoping that, together, Spark and its 3D printer will set a new benchmark for the 3D printing user experience. The new offerings are aimed primarily at product designers, hardware manufacturers, software developers and materials scientists.

Spark is open-source and will be freely licensable to hardware manufacturers. Likewise, the design and specifications of its 3D printer will be made publicly available. The printer will be able to use a variety of materials made by both Autodesk and 3rd parties.

Promise and frustration

Autodesk president and CEO Carl Bass said in a blog post that for years he has been "both fascinated by the promise of 3D printing and frustrated by its reality". He explained that making the new offerings open will allow for further development and experimentation in the field.

"The world is just beginning to realize the potential of additive manufacturing and with Spark, we hope to make it possible for many more people to incorporate 3D printing into their design and manufacturing process," said Bass.

Autodesk is aiming to make Spark compatible with current and existing 3D printers. Both Spark and the Autodesk 3D printer will be available later this year.