We looked in the mirror of this article and saw a pretty clear image of our work here at Open 3d Printing: “Never Mind Legality, iPhone Jailbreaking Voids Your Warranty” by Daniel Ionescu, PC World, Jul 27, 2010 7:01 am. The article reports a change in US copyright law that makes modification of iPhone OS software an exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act restrictions.
Our situation is a bit different, as we are dealing with proprietary 3d print materials and associated delivery systems, not copyrights. But the fundamental issue is the same–do what is possible and you violate the warranty, putting at risk the relationship you have with the company you liked enough to buy their product in the first place.
With a few adjustments in the article, we get excerpts like this:
The ruling making 3D printer material-breaking legal doesn’t really matter, as long as the process voids the warranty of your 3D printer, which means no free repairs if your 3D printer goes bust because of that.
“At 3DP Company our goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their 3D printer and we know that material-breaking can severely degrade the experience.
“As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not material-break their 3D printers as this can violate the warranty and can cause the 3D printer to become unstable and not work reliably,” the company said in reply to Monday’s ruling.
The process of material-breaking enables you to use your own material from outside 3DP Company’s Store, and is fun for those who know what they are doing.
For us, the printer experience is just dandy off warranty. Even a bit of soulcraft in it. We have been pleased with the stability of our 3d printers with open materials, and we have found that we can self-maintain our investment quite well. What we want is to have the companies making these printers not void their relationship with us over an anti-freedom marketing strategy.
We have some ideas about how these companies could make money *and* make for greater maker-world happiness. How about an app store for materials, guys? App stores. Have you heard of them? Or how about branding your own line of low cost materials? The margins can be ridiculously high, and the stuff is still low cost by an order of magnitude. Maybe an affiliates program for 3rd party providers of materials, encouraging the maker community to move up market to get access to high performance proprietary stuff when their designs prove out and folks want to mass produce something. For all that, how about some open standards on materials and delivery systems to reduce waste and encourage use of environmentally friendly stuff? Even open standards might make you money by engaging the relatively conservative early majority buying audience, which as Geoffrey Moore teaches us, buys more readily when it has choice (and when it has choice, it likes to choose the market leader). At some point, you will have to “cross the chasm” and gamble on that market leadership bit or pay the price when the patents expire or someone comes up with a disruptive innovation 3d print platform that makes yours–even though it is the best thing you can protect right up until the end–obsolete.