Does anyone else like money?

Does anyone know if it’s technically possible to restrict an Easel user’s access to gCode once it has been sent to the GRBL controller so that the gCode could be used to mill a part but it couldn’t easily be copied in the process? If this restricting of access to the gCode were possible, it would open the door for members of the Inventables community–potentially even the wider (GRBL) CNC community–to be compensated for their CNC designs. In effect, each of us could sell “products” to other members of the community WITHOUT OUR HAVING TO MANUFACTURE OR SHIP A THING! Imagine being able to scroll through pages and pages of community-created designs, finding the right one for your needs, purchasing access to its gCode files and then automatically finding these gCode files available for use inside of Easel where you could then proceed to manufacture their corresponding parts on your X-Carve! Better yet, as a designer, imagine your designs being purchased (with a small percentage going to Inventables, of course) and money miraculously appearing in your Inventables account… I don’t know about other members of the Inventables community, but if I stood a chance of making an occasional 5 or 10 dollars from others’ use of my design, I’d be far more likely to make it available to others. I understand that the Inventables team has already done some work towards achieving such a goal of enabling community members to profit from their designs but that this effort was put on the “back burner”. For the benefit of everyone in the Inventables community, I for one hope that this project will soon be revived. IMHO, the coming CNC explosion isn’t just waiting for the right combination of effective, inexpensive hardware and software–it’s waiting too for that “incentivisation” which will ultimately ignite it and frankly, I’d like to see Inventables be the spark. But the question remains: Is it technically possible to restrict an Easel user’s access to the gCode? I sure hope so, 'cause I like money! :slight_smile:

Gcode is not where you should be restricting anything, the gcode is specific to the particular tool and size of the work. I would never run gcode that I did not generate myself. Bad gcode can damage tools or cause the machine to move in an unsafe manner.

If you want to sell designs then you need sell the designs in a common CAD format that can be used with CAM software to generate the specific gcode for the user.

The CAD formats are not securable, once a user has it they can give to someone else if they wish. You can have legal restrictions (copyright) but nothing that will prevent an unauthorized user from using your file if they ignore the legal restrictions.

4 Likes

I for one choose Inventables for the open source of the business model. If they close it and make it for profit only as their model then I will let go of the whole process. If you want to make a profit then by all means go and do it, create your own programs, site to distribute, whatever else you might feel will make you money. But for some of us this is not the motivation we have or even want out of this. If I change my motivation I would never ask that Inventables be part of it as I seen that they have a greater motivation in mind as they are the ones with the open-source model that they wanted in all 50 states for the schools. Completely behind what Inventables have done.

4 Likes

I agree to an extent but to make an analogy, all computers don’t share the same machine code and yet they can share the same exact high level computer language. Obviously, there are differences in hardware that could cause problems but what if those differences could be engineered around? Regarding bad gCode, that would be somewhat of a risk but once again, I’m sure that technology might be brought to bear on the problem. For example, isn’t this the very justification for toolpath visualization–to help you see that a problem exists with a toolpath before you commit to cutting? As for CAD, no, that wouldn’t do at all as, like you say, anyone would be free to do what they want with it. You bring up some good points that I hadn’t thought about and honestly, this isn’t exactly a “feature request” per se as much as it’s a business idea (and one which Inventables has apparently considered but has placed on the back burner–I assume because it’s not as simple a challenge as I might hope it is). :slight_smile:

Inventables’ business model isn’t open source–their product design is and I’m not suggesting that anyone be forced to purchase anything insofar as this “market” concept is concerned. A designer could charge zero dollars for a “product” if he so chooses and that ought to be his choice to make, not someone else’s. Also, Inventables apparently originated this concept. I’m only hoping that they will implement it. :wink:

Thanks Angus. That’s what I wanted to know–how easy would it be for the end user to copy the code. It does make me wonder though why Inventables was working on this concept if it had no chance of success. I wonder if they thought that they might engineer around this somehow. Hmm… Regarding your last point, no one would know where the gCode was stored on Inventables’ website and even if they did, all that they could retrieve would be an encrypted file (which Easel would need to decrypt before processing).

In many ways, if you’re trying to sell an exact part, G-Code is already what you want for this. While there’s lots of tools out there that can take GCode and render it, I don’t know any that put it into a practically editable state. In that way, its like giving someone the printed schematic a the part. Sure, they can go tediously reverse engineer it and make a CAD drawing of it, but presumably, they’re paying you because its faster for you to do that.

Of course, you can’t prevent them from making as many copies as they want.

As a more practical matter, I’m not sure how useful this is. I use my X-Carve as an outlet for creativity. Boxing me into someone’s exact part (as others said, on the exact same hardware setup) is the exact opposite of what I want. I might pay for someone’s design to use a baseline for something I’m building, but I can hardly imagine just being okay with something out of the box. In that sense, there is a sizeable market for 3D models, or plans for woodworking items, etc. It doesn’t seem crazy to do the same for CNC, but 1.) I’d do it outside of Inventables, as they’re just one of many options, and 2.) You need to sell the plans (Vectric .crvs or SVGs for Easel or something), not the G-Code.

FWIW, when I find time to make it, I’m going to purchase these plans: http://www.derekhugger.com/colibri.html .

Given that Easel in this case is really only acting as a sender, what if the client were an installed, compiled binary?

To get an idea of what your are up against, just take a look at the music/video industry. They have gone to great effort and expense to prevent unauthorized copying of their products with very little success.

If you want to prevent unauthorized use of your work, the best you can do is to make it cost less to buy it, than it would cost to steal it.

Yes, but assuming that Easel were actually used here–and it seems that’s not even a necessity as per my last response to Angus–I imagine that these gCode files would be treated different from the ordinary ones and simply not be saved. I mean, anything inside of Easel, Inventables has control over. It seems to me that the real question involves GRBL itself more so than the client software.

Everybody that uses HDMI.

1 Like

It depends on the nature of the file, a simple flat 2d cutting file (no 3D carving), there are programs that will convert g-code to dxf files making them editable again…

NCPLOT is one

G-Code Ripper is another…I am sure there are more…

It’s HDCP. Built into the HDMI standard, and yes the communicating devices stop the content from going through the HDMI cable, but you still pay extra for the licensing that passes between devices which has nothing to do with the content, but does prevent you from using your TV, etc. for its intended purpose without paying extra for the privilege of doing so.

Yeah, you’re probably still using VGA monitors, too. :smiley:

Hey! I just picked up a free pc/monitor/keyboard/mouse for my CNC and it has VGA! :stuck_out_tongue: Don’t be hatin on the deals

1 Like

No browser. Again, it could be a proprietary binary executable, totally distinct from Easel.

How would this deny anyone of any functionality? Assuming the concept were feasible, it would constitute an option that we members of the Inventables community don’t currently have; that is, to sell our designs over the wire without necessarily having to manufacture or ship anything.

You’re given a limited time period to use the design. You produce as many copies as you want during that period. I don’t see this as an issue so long as a given customer understands the terms of the transaction agreement.

Interesting.

Yep, one. Until the last tiny bit of smoke leaks out of it. :wink:

All about making money. But making money off of fellow enthusiasts? No thanks. I’d much rather contribute to the community as best as I can. I’ve learnt tons off of this forum thanks to shared files and information.

3 Likes

That is what I would like to think most of us are about, Money is not the goal for everyone and for those that it is I hope their money makes them happy, it has never worked for me.