Step 6: The Future of Autodesk Is Lots of Free

I think we’re going to see Autodesk slice off more features and web-ize many of their tools. They’ll have lots of free ways to experiment. How do I know for sure? Here’s something Autodesk just released a few weeks ago.

Autodesk 123D public beta…

123D is a free solid modeling software program based on the same Autodesk technology used by millions of designers and engineers worldwide. Not an engineer? No problem, with Autodesk 123D you can design precise and makeable objects using smart tools that let you start with simple shapes and then edit and then tweak them into more complex shapes. Who doesn’t love free stuff? You have access to tons of free models to help you get your project started, finished, or just to use in exploring ideas. Access free content either directly from the search box in the software, or from the “Get Content” section of the 123D site. The 123D site is a central home for getting things made, and that includes giving you info on different personal fabrication options, and centralized access to our partners who can help you with the tools you need to do the work yourself, or can fabricate your design for you.

Download their free app, make stuff, use a service partner to print it out in 3D. What’s missing is a giant community like Instructables bolted onto this site that will create ways to make things, share tips, write how-tos, share results, create new products from their 3D works, and more.

Autodesk knows how to work with professionals, I think that’s clear. They need to learn how to work with non-profressionals, with new makers, with the giant emerging hobbyist market. This is why they bought Instructables.

I tried to scope out all the communities that Autodesk has for some of their latest tools they’re trying to promote. It’s scattered, confusing, and there’s not tons of activity, certainly not as much as Instructables gets. Here’s a few I think will end up getting attention from the team at Instructables.

123D (above, makes sense to have Instructables-like community around this one).
i like that they support college students like myself by giving me a 3 year license on about 68 different software suites and similar programs for early education [K through 12th grade] and for teachers as well. The education links found on the autodesk website also provide online classes and technical support. I have to say it's a smart move provide future engineers and designers the tools to learn a valuable skill and that becomes an investment that pays off in the form of expanding the user base via early adoption. I have to say supporting a website that is a beacon of free information and community based education seems appropriate considering the audience this site attracts. I believe engineers, designers, and innovators are born rather than made and if I sold tools used to give ideas form I would definitely want to make sure my tools were involved in the learning process.
Hello Instructables, I recently (March,2013) purchased a Pro membership. I've selected the "Allsteps Default" in every way I know how but it just won't "take". HELP ! ! Thanks for your attention - I hope. Dream4real
Add Autodesk to the list of great, 21st century, American companies. The Free Market lives!
Autodesk, inventers, like hand &amp; hand<br>
I hope this doesn't change the personality of Instructables. Because, IMNSHO, I kinda thought the site was DIY nirvana driven by those who just want to share and encourage. I have seen projects that did not interest me, but never saw a &quot;bad&quot; entry. I've never received a &quot;bad&quot; gift&quot; either. <br> My two questions are:<br>1) Why did Instructables sell anyway? weren't you successful already?<br>2) Why did Autodesk by you? What would be the benefit? Call me smallminded if you want (I'm sure many have), but, all I see is a corporation swallowing up another &quot;little guy&quot; that just happened to be 'bout the coolest, most interesting and charitable site I've ever had the pleasure to scope out. In any event, I just hope the spirit of the site is not lost. That would really be a sad thing indeed.<br>Good luck to all parties involved.
without making a wish list a lot of your presented projects filled that requirement. I know the budding minds out there can produce in advance of present technologies and let loose would enhance future projects. If space and time permits, may I suggest a column where people can put their wish list of wanting to make. It can just sit there,or you can refer them to prior projects in most cases that would fill the bill.<br>Those too far off base might just make it to home base with the aid of your intrepid following. Best wishes to your team for now and the future-.
<em>This is my comment reposted from Make:</em><br /> <br /> First off, thanks for the great article. This is perhaps the best article that I have read on Make in years (don't tell Becky I said that).<br /> <br /> Secondly, about six years ago I was hanging about Eyebeam and a friend of mine basically said, &quot;Hey. I taped some LEDs to magnets, threw them at a building, then posted them on Instructables and now I'm famous. You should post your stuff on there.&quot; I thought about it for a while, but didn't really do much with the advice.<br /> <br /> A few months later I followed my girlfriend to San Francisco where I ended up unemployed and quite bored. One day, while trying to kill the time between job interviews, I thought back on my friend's advice and started posting projects on Instructables to try to win some of their contests (with mixed results).<br /> <br /> After posting a few things and lurking on the site for a couple of months, I noticed they were looking for interns. I sent in my application. One thing led to another, and I have spent the past five years filling more positions within the company than I can count (often simultaneously). I'm not sure what has changed more times, my daily responsibilities or the location of my desk. I have watched Instructables grow from 7 people to 23 people and have seen many talented and passionate people come and go (more often come than go). I've also posted 163 Instructables, but (aside from Christy - and her measly 133) who's counting?<br /> <br /> That said, I invested a lot into Instructables as an employee and, personally, as a maker. When I first learned that the company was bought by Autodesk, I was both elated and confused. My gut reaction was &quot;Yay! A great company bought us!&quot; ... &quot;But why did they buy us?&quot;<br /> <br /> I'm not going to bother answering that question here. I think Phil has already pretty much hit the nail on the head.<br /> <br /> The point is... The last five years at Instructables was one crazy ride, and as this ship gains incredible momentum, I have no plans of disembarking. I'm feeling pretty confident right now that there are amazing things in store for Instructables' future. I wish I could share everything that we're planning with you right now, but to be honest, there is still much that is undecided. This is exciting because it means there is a lot of opportunity for everyone to work together and do some really groundbreaking things. While I don't know how this will all ultimately play out, I think we have joined a great team at Autodesk, and I am currently very optimistic for the future.<br />
Wow - That is big news. <br><br>This really validates the good work everyone has done here.<br><br>Someone at Autodesk is very smart.
I tried that once and got stiff neck
It's good to se Wilhelm get a title and hopefully a well paying job for all his efforts.
I especially like your idea for a standardized format for how-to's. I sometimes to post my stuff on a few different sites but it can be hard work porting everything over with the different site designs. A standard format would be nice :)
From my experience auto desk is a wonderful company, and I predict a bright future for the make movement. If it takes a turn for the worse, then we can simply MAKE a new site, and life will go on. This is a movement, and the power is with the makers.
Thank you for your writeup. &nbsp;As a steadfast fan of ibles and having been burned by The Man in real life, I have a cautious outlook of what may come. &nbsp;I wish to have an optimistic outlook but I know how corporate pressures can come and bite you in the behind. &nbsp;We shouldn't be naive about it. &nbsp;Only thing I can continue doing is continue Making. &nbsp;Yeah, I see it as an opportunity for the competition to step up too, my options are open to post somewhere else but I will wait and see. &nbsp;Free-agent makers, a market segment waiting to be tapped.<br> <br> <object height="390" width="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/VMgqrkjpL1g?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/VMgqrkjpL1g?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480"></embed></object>&nbsp;
well, im glad that things are looking up for the future of making! as long as anyone doesent try to make me pay for anything i got for free before, im fine with it. cant wait to see more open source.
Thank you very much for cross-posting this from MAKE! And thanks also to Randy for copying his comment over here as well. <br><br>If you've read the comments on Eric's two I'bles forum topics, you are well aware of the, er, &quot;concerns&quot; that many in the community have about this acquisition. I'm glad that the vitriol, at least so far, hasn't been directed at I'bles, but rather at their evil CAD overlords :-)<br><br>I personally am not sure what to think, being at best an observer and user of the &quot;online ecosystem.&quot; I hope that Eric, Christy, and the rest of the awesome staff are able to maintain their autonomy and support the often irreverent culture we have. How that irreverence (&quot;If you can't open it, you don't own it.&quot;) fits in with a for-profit corporation is an open question.
Awesome! Great instructable and very informative. Thanks!

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Bio: senior editor MAKE magazine / CRAFT magazine
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