Reading encryted preform files

I want to sell a user a library of encrypted preform designs, allowing them to build complex instruments.
I want my encrypted files to be able to be tied to a specific machine.
I need your machine to be able to read encrypted files.
I or you could sell the machine bundled with the library of designs.
My designs can replace some very expensive pieces of equipment, bring real value
to the customer.

How can I get your machine to read an encrypted preform or STL file.


Hi Doug,

Can you clarify a little bit about what you’re asking for? When you say “tied to a specific machine” are you talking about allowing the files to be printed only a specific Formlabs printer, i.e. to a specific serial name?

A customer would be given a Number, that number would allow them to print encrypted preform or STL files
on their specific Form 2 machine or we can just use the serial name or number on the machine as long as it can’t be changed. This is the same business model used by software companies, here instead I would be providing access to designs instead of software.


Hi Doug,

A word of advice from someone who has been on the internet since the Mid 1980’s

Anything that can be encrypted can be decrypted. Within hours of the Encrypted Form 2 being launched software or Firmware would be released on the internet that removes the block. People just love a challenge!

Your business model is flawed. Sure software companies encrypt their software and sure you can buy any software you want for a few dollars in a street market or off the internet. I have expensive Delcam CAD software which i pay full price for when i know I can buy it for pennies but the reason I pay full price is Customer service and support.

So look again at how you are going to market your product. As a matter of interest you might like to look at the Auto Desk Ember which is fully open source. Ask yourself if they publish everything even the resin formulae - how are they going to make money? Its the very opposite business model of what your are proposing.

Incidentally I did consider the Ember but decided that the Form 2 was much better.


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The subject of Digital Rights Management of 3D printed objects is a very hot topic of late.

To the best of my knowledge no one’s come up with a robust workable solution that can protect property rights in an “open” printing environment. Anything you wanted to do that did not rely on trusting your licensee would require support for your licensing system to be tightly integrated in to PreForm, a “closed” environment.

Consider something like what Shapeways does. On the Shapeways website, you can upload your model and sell it. There’s no need to protect the geometry since Shapeways prints the part for the buyer, they never get access to the geometry itself.

Everybody nowadays wants a piece of the “Cloud”. FL could implement the same kind of Server that Shapeways uses, configured so it will distribute geometry only to specific printers based on licensing defined by the owner of the Geometry. Like Shapeways except the printers would be connected remotely (to end FL users) over a secure network link instead of over a hard line to a printer in the same building.

Kind of an interesting idea. A repository for model files for FormLabs users only. Models can be sold as .FORM files like other similar repositories sell STLs or 3DSs and the buyer can print (but not modify) the geometry as many times as they liked, or for a lower price PreForm prints a fixed number of copies and the .FORM file can’t be saved locally.

You’d need a way to deal with print failures. If I paid you for a print and my printer screwed it up, I’d want to be able to try again for free. Without that kind of guarantee I’d never pay for even a single object.

If FormLabs implemented something like this, it’d support your revenue model in a way that’d be pretty secure and usable by any FL customer. And arguably, it’d be something FL would benefit from as well.

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