HP promises 3D printers will not have DRM

HP has promised that cartridges for its new 3D printer will not be locked by DRM.

The company came under a lot of bad press when it emerged that a software update had locked users out of third party cartridges.

Speaking at the 50th anniversary party for HP Labs, Tim Weber, global head of 3D materials, said that HP would not be the sole provider for consumables. Four other companies – including BASF – are already working on materials that can be used in HP Inc’s forthcoming 3D printers.

HP first announced its foray into the world of 3D printing in May of this year with the $120,000 Jet Fusion 3D 3200. The printer will initially only use one type of material – the popular plastic PA12. More materials will be coming online from other companies in the next two years.

Weber said: "These will be open suppliers, they will set the branding and the price once they have been certified."

He also added that the company has no intentions of moving into consumer 3D printing just yet: "Home printing got a lot of excitement, but when you look at 3D printing, 90 per cent of the value out there is in industry.

"Home printing might eventually get there, but more realistically it’ll take a while. Instead you’ll see 3D print shops, like Kinkos for 2D today, to do the printing for you."

Weber also noted that 3D printing introduces an entirely new pricing model and distribution system and that the use of voxules (volumetric pixels) will help to move away from traditional analogue manufacturing models.

Shane Wall, CTO of HP Inc., said: "In the last 150 years, mankind has built a $12 trillion economy on the simple model of analogue manufacturing. Digital manufacturing is going to turn that model on its head in the next 30 years, and we’re starting out on that road now."

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