Have you ever bought a product and after using it for a while found something you wanted to change?
Do you get tired of using products that are marginal but good enough to get by?
The Open Source Initiative is an organization that provides a frame work for delivering "Common Interest" platforms and software until a clear standard has arisen. Open Source is not free but an open set of standards that the community of peers works to evolve to stablize platform. This feature is common in emerging or state of the art technologies where patents have expired on the process and developers are learning how to implement the technology. Producing a product using an Open Source standard means that you will publish the software and hardware that is used in your implementation so that others can use and improve on the works in the area.
Open Source platforms benefit from work that is done in universities and companies that are seeking to evolve the area for commercial purposes to sell products that can be easily improved upon with a software change or a hardware upgrade. Open Source platforms allow the user the ability to modify the software or hardware in a manner that helps them to improve the product for their specific use or process. In essence, it gives the user the ability to fix things that they do not like or develop an alternative approach to adapt the product.
Open source platforms typically have a development team of 10 - 1000s of individuals dependent on the product. We all use products that were initially started as open source platforms. The browser that you are using today started as an open source project that was commercialized by different entities to provide customized products.
3D Printing and processing of models has been a robust area for open systems. An open systems approach to this area has helped to lower the cost of a 3D printer from 100s to 10's of thousands of dollars 10 years ago to hundreds of dollars today. The community has open standards for software and hardware that have evolved the 3D printing area to a true alternative in manufacturing today. MedFab3D benefits from the Open Source standards in this area to develop and manufacture our own 3D printers to improve the quality of what we produce and lower costs. This approach gives MedFab3D a competitive advantage against competitors that are locked into expensive platforms with high maintenance and material costs while allowing for greater flexibility.