Sharing the Knowledge


Carol Willing


February 10, 2013

I have the pleasure of mentoring a talented group of high school students. They are the soul of Team 2102 Paradox of San Dieguito Academy. They are creative, curious, humble, dedicated, and caring. They strive to embody “Gracious Professionalism”, a term used by FIRST Robotics that is a parallel to the “Golden Rule” learned in childhood. Sharing knowledge and teamwork are so vital in solving the current challenges in the world. Open source software and hardware embraces these two qualities. The teams of developers that participate in open source create solutions to problems that seemed unsolvable only a few years ago.

3D printing is a media darling in the tech world now. One company, Lulzbot of Aleph Objects, has chosen to commit to open source hardware and software. Innovation and technology moves quickly. Wouldn’t Lulzbot be better off competitively and more profitable by taking a proprietary approach to portions of their development? Perhaps in the short term. For the long run, Lulzbot’s open approach may prove to be an outstanding business decision with global benefits.

Lulzbot has a new 3D system in development with the potential to be much more than a 3D printer. The Lulzbot TK-O could be a compact, portable engineering and manufacturing system for the third world. Collapsible to the size of a suitcase, the system could support 3D printing, laser cutting, milling, and CNC cutting. The possibility of changing the tool module easily makes it flexible enough to use through an entire design to build process of a product.

Check out Lulzbot online. The software and hardware is available as open source. It’s a wealth of knowledge shared with the technical community.

Now if I could just carve out enough resources and hours in a day to build a Lulzbot TK-O for my own lab. When I do, I am assured that the documents and source code will be available due to Lulzbot’s commitment to open source. Bravo Lulzbot!