GPL Violations and Printed Solid

Update 4/11/2018: Since this was posted Creality has released their firmware in accordance with GPL and Printed Solid will resume carrying the CR-10S and possibly other printers in stock. We have verified that the source they provided actually is the version they are shipping on the printer and we will continue to monitor them and ensure that the products we carry comply with GPL when applicable.

https://twitter.com/RealSexyCyborg/status/983361545580220417

 


At Printed Solid we take great pride in being part of the 3D printer community. After all Matt Gorton and David Randolph have been in the community since the beginning. If you look around you will find designs and post from both of them for multiple printers and filaments. Both of us are aware of the roots of 3D printing. 

In the before times printers were almost unusable and cost more than a house but thanks to patents expiring and open source the machines have dropped in cost and improved to levels unseen before. This has made Matt and David feel a sense of responsibility for the community.

Not long ago we were looking for a low cost printer to sell to our customers and we of course did our research and found Creality who had a decent machine at a good price and they had published their source files. Then one day they switched to a different board and changed their firmware and refused to published their source. We went back and forth trying to get them to publish source and they did not comply. We talked with Naomi Wu who is near them and she tried to talk with them as well afterwards we compared notes and she agreed that they were no longer in compliance.

It was at this time that she pulled her video and support for them and we did the same. Surprisingly this went unnoticed by most and we were starting to loose faith in the community. It was beginning to look like people didn't care about open source or the hard work people put into it. We were starting to feel a little alone in the community. Thankfully the community is catching up and we are getting that sense of pride from our fellow makers.

From a business perspective it was a very profitable printer for us to sell and it allowed us to sell an affordable printers to DIY'er / Makers / Hackers galore which are people we enjoy working with. But we still had one simple problem. We are members of the community and we must represent the community, not only personally but professionally.

We were the first and sadly the only business still to pull from sale a product because of GPL violations. A lot of other businesses are still selling these printers who do not release source and clone hardware with illegal branding and non-compliance to OSHW and GPL. It is tough as a small business to walk away from money laying on the table but honestly if we have to abandon our roots and our morals then both Matt and David would rather shut the doors of the Printed Solid and leave the community all together. That is not what 3D printing is about and we refuse to be a part of that.

Personally I find it awkward that I have to make this statement as it should just be implied by anyone in this business and community but here we go.

Printed Solid refuses to sell, support, recommend or even use any product or software that violates GPL or OSHW licencing.

As a consumer you also have a voice and we ask that you also speak up and support the community. Demand all companies comply with licensing requirements and before you buy, check to see if they are complying by publishing their source. You may not understand the source files and you may never personally use them but there is an army of people out there working for free to make these products better and if you use a 3D printer I guarantee that you are already using their work on your printer. When these companies refuse to comply they are not just holding the community back but they are holding you back. You are locked into their software and their limits. It cost the companies nothing to publish the source but it cost the community everything by not publishing their source.

If Creality ever decides to comply with GPL then we will carry and support their products again. Some people may ask why we don't just flash our own firmware on the machines and then they are in compliance. Simple, they are making the printer out of compliance and are getting our money while still not complying. If we have to cover for their shortcomings then they still get away with hurting the community and we would just be covering for them. We will not do that.




David Randolph
David Randolph

Author

I have a background in film and television engineering and IT with over 9 years with 3D printing and laser cutting. I've fought robots and even have a Guinness world record for worlds largest video game controller. My nerd cred is strong.



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