By Leo Kelion Technology desk editor
Autodesk - the leading 3D modelling software-maker - is going into hardware with its own 3D printer.
Chief executive Carl Bass revealed the news ahead of an appearance at the MakerCon conference in California.
In addition to selling the machine, Autodesk will also allow other manufacturers to make their own versions of the printer or power their own models off its software at no cost.
Mr Bass likened the move to the way Google had driven adoption of Android.
One analyst said the effort should encourage adoption of the technology.
"The printer is a bona fide attempt to prove the interoperability and open source nature of Autodesk's platform," said Pete Basiliere, research director at the Gartner tech agency.
"And by sharing its design we could see a second wave of small start-ups creating stereolithography machines just as the makers did when the early material extrusion patents expired."
Stereolithography 3D printers create objects by using a laser to harden liquid plastic.