Friends of the GPL ❤️: Compliant 3D Printer Manufacturers

Creality 3D making great progress towards compliance

Some positive news from Creality 3D today, with the launch of their GPL source code portal. This repository has the source code for the majority of their printer models available for download. With 15 models of printer listed, this makes Creality 3D the manufacturer with the most GPL compliant printers in the world! A very impressive achievement, and it is clear to see that Creality 3D is working hard to pursue compliance.

Download Creality 3D Source Code here

We would love to add Creality 3D back to our “Friends of GPL” soon! Things are happening fast around here, and we are trying to keep up! We are all still watching and hoping for some news about GPL firmware for the newly-released CR-X.

A disappointing month for GPL compliance

It is disappointing to again see various 3D printer companies being reluctant to release the marlin open source firmware for their products.

This continued refusal is unacceptable, as these companies have been specifically made aware of their obligations under the GPL license.

As a result, we will be removing AnyCubic and Creality3D from our “Friends of GPL” list until the open source firmware is supplied to owners.

These GPL violations have commercial consequences too – resellers such as Printed Solid, have indicated that they are no longer able to sell Creality3D due to their non-compliance. We support and applaud Printed Solid for taking a firm stand on this issue, as this negatively affects their business operations too.

The AnyCubic Chiron launch has also seen much frustration from customers, due to major bugs in the provided firmware preventing proper calibration and tuning of the machines. While poor factory firmware has been overcome for other printers thanks to the community producing new versions, these efforts are near-impossible for the Chiron unless they release the source for their modified Marlin firmware.

We encourage AnyCubic and Creality3D to consider both their obligations under the GPL, as well as the many other benefits they will receive, from releasing marlin source code for all of their printer models.

First Completely Open Source 3D Printer from China

Creality3D have taken the spirit of Open Source to heart, and have released the popular low-cost Ender-3 3D Printer under a fully open source license. Not only have they fully complied with the GPL by releasing their marlin source code files, but they have gone several steps above and beyond to also release the board schematics, and the hardware CAD design files on GitHub!

This 3D printer has been certified by the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA), who have certified this product as Open Source Hardware.

We applaud the courage of Creality3D by this move, and hope that their amazing success with the Ender-3 continues!

GeeeTech launches new open-source firmware “Smartto”

Time for some more positive news on 3D printers and open source!

Geeetech has just launched their new Open Source firmware Smartto. This is a new ground-up firmware – not a fork of one of the other popular 3D printer firmwares like Marlin or Repetier. Compatible with Geeetech’s more powerful 32-bit GTM32 Pro and GTM32 Mini boards, this firmware supports both 20×4 and Colour LCD interfaces.

“Geeetech welcomes feedback, suggestions and contributions from the community on our new firmware. Github pull requests and issue reports are very welcome!”  – Geeetech Representative

We warmly welcome this move from Geeetech, it is real innovation. We hope that this open source policy will bring many benefits back to Geeetech, from community support and involvement.

The Smartto firmware can be downloaded from Geeetech’s GitHub page at https://github.com/Geeetech3D/Smartto

More information on Smartto is available at the Inov3D blog.

JGAurora release A3S and A5 GPL compliant source code

More positive news was received today, with the public release of the source code for the JGAurora A3S and A5 printers. These printers are based on the Marlin Open Source Firmware, and it is great to see that JGAurora has taken a big step forward in GPL compliance.

JGAurora public firmware page

JGAurora is a Shenzhen based 3D printer manufacturer of both consumer, professional, commercial and industrial 3D printers.

While there remain other JGAurora models that have not yet had their Marlin source code released (such as the Z-603S and A8 3D printers), this is still a good announcement to see another major 3D printer company moving towards full GPL compliance. We look forward to future GPL firmware releases from JGAurora in the future, for their Marlin-based printers.

Creality is on the right path, Anet is Next.

Yesterday Naomi Wu posted a tweet morning with an update that Creality has given her the source code for the CR-10S machine to release to the public. It seems that there was a Beijing company that was doing the coding for Creality’s firmware. She spent many hours with them speaking to them in their native language explaining how the Open Source licenses work. The other company then provided Creality and Wu with the source code for the CR-10S series machines and then Wu posted it online via a Google Drive link.

The Google drive link has been getting taken down due to high traffic but there is a mirror that Tim (TH3D) and Scott (Marlin project) are working on updating to the latest Marlin build as well as fixing some compilation issues. You can download it here: https://github.com/houseofbugs/TH3D-Marlin/tree/creality-cr-10s-wpowerresume

Creality has moved from the Non-Compliant to the Semi-Compliant list until the Ender series firmware are released.

Our next focus is to get Anet to provide the source code so we are gathering the contact information for them so that customers can contact them. Anet has had a rash of printers catching on fire due to no thermal protection in their firmware so this is very important as the Anet machines are much lower quality parts than the Creality machines. This means that the wiring is more likely to overheat due to incorrect installation and/or inadequate gauge wire being used. Please follow the Facebook page for updates on how to contact Anet. If you have contacts over at Anet please share them on the Facebook pages.

Thank you everyone for all the support and help thus far. We will continue to keep an eye on Creality and what they are doing. They have promised Wu that they would be releasing the source for the Ender series machines as well by July 2018. We will follow up with them at the end of June.

Direction and Community Help


Firstly we want to say we cannot believe how many people have voiced their support for this project. When the original video was posted (By Tim @ TH3D) he had no idea that people would actually care let alone other content creators actually showing their support. After watching a video from the 3D Printing Professor and Nerys we are going to outline a less drastic course of action that will benefit the community and help out these companies that may have honestly had no idea what was going on. Creality is listening to us. This movement got Wanhao to comply very quickly and Creality issued a video statement showing that they ARE LISTENING TO US!

Our current plan will be:

  • We will compile a list of manufacturers that are not compliant and a list of the machines that have source and/or binary files released as well as community firmware that works for those machines.
  • We still plan on having information on how to contact these companies to get firmware and source code so that customers can request them from the companies.
  • We will offer to produce Marlin firmware for companies that is GPL compliant leveraging people in the community so that these companies can be compliant. This will be free of charge.
  • If you are a content creator do NOT feel like you have to boycott the companies. If you do that is your own decision but we understand that smaller ones may suffer financially if they remove affiliate links.
    • We understand that you have bills to pay and mouths to feed.
    • Focus on educating your viewers on what these licenses are and why it is important that they are followed.
  • We understand that not everyone can afford a $700+ machine that is GPL compliant and you shouldn’t be afraid to purchase a Chinese machine even though it may not be compliant.

Creality released a statement that they paid an outside developer to put together the CR-10S source code for them and implement the power resume feature. They state that the developer has not provided them with the source code at all and they do have source that their internal R&D department was working on. We can go back and forth about whether this is true or not but for now we feel the best thing to do is give them the benefit of the doubt and extend an olive branch to help them get compliant. Their machines in general are affordable and well built, especially in comparison to other brands. Scott from the Marlin development team is in direct contact with the people at Creality now and is working with them to get them compliant. This could be a good example of Hanlon’s razor here.

We have been in contact with TEVO and they are also releasing all the firmware and source for the firmware very soon. They had no issue complying.

Wanhao is also releasing their source code and they have a GitHub here: https://github.com/garychen99

Anet and Zonestar have been contacted but no response yet.

The goal now is to turn this into a way to get in touch with companies and turn this into a way to show these companies that complying with Open Source licenses is a GOOD thing. The 3D printer community appreciates that they have made 3D printing so accessible to everyone but we firmly believe that the GPL and other open source licenses need to be respected.

Community Help

We have added multiple people to the website, Facebook Group, and Facebook page as admins and moderators. Scott has FULL control over all the social media accounts/pages/groups since he is taking a lot of time to get with these companies. Now that we have the ball rolling we are going to have the community help everything keep going and making progress.

Thank you everyone for your support and voice on the issue. We hope to make a real difference in the community and help these companies do the right thing!

We setup a Discord server for chatting about the direction of the site and working on items discussed here. You can join it here: https://discord.gg/D9UZvKG

Like the 3D Printing Professor said; “Show them that if they open up we will repay them in more than kind. That we will make their lives better and easier. We will be their R&D department.”

About This Site

Our goal is to hold 3D Printer companies around the world accountable to their GPL (and other licenses) obligations for the benefit of the users purchasing and using the machines.