New machine Licensing

Here is something I just wrote else where. Sorry, this is just so hard to put into words. I don’t really understand my feelings on this but this seems to be the clearest I have stated it yet.

“It all comes down to get a patent, or release it. Once it is released, you can’t patent it. Open hardware licenses are just guidelines for use with no legal ground. I totally understand it and don’t. If I added a doll on top and made it “dance” and called it a kinetic sculpture, it would be CC-able. Put a router on it and it is not. I am not trying to license a way to join pipes together, I am trying to license the LOOK of my may of fastening pipes together.”

Like I can make all my parts look like a flower and copywrite the design of that, and I fully understand it does not cover the machine itself. Why in the heck can’t the look of my machine be considered a work or “art”. If someone wants to totally redesign the parts to look completely different (yet function the same), whatever, I don’t have a patent, but I just do not want people using my “look”. Is that odd or conceited, what am I missing that makes this not able to be under a copywrite?


I just talked myself back into CC…


You can’t copyright a recipe. If you add one pound of flour, egg, sugar and butter, it will make a pound cake. That is functional, and part of the natural world. You can copyright the text of a recipe. If you said, “this pound cake will blow your socks off. Toss one pound of each ingredient in and give it a spin!”. That text is copyright material. But you can’t keep anyone else from releasing their text that describes the fact that those ingredients make that cake.

You can’t copyright or patent a chemical reaction. Adding baking soda to vinegar is not something you invented. It is something you discovered. It is part of the natural world. Physics is not patentable.

In my (very non legal) opinion. That means that theoretically, the stl files tell a story. They describe a shape that is a work of art. The actual decimals in the file describe the art. The functional pieces are not your invention. You just discovered them. But the art of writing the recipe is what you created. The stls are your copyright. You can’t take calipers to a mustang and make your own copy and not have legal trouble. But you definitely make your own car. It can even have 4 wheels!

In practical terms, from the little reading I have done, it is not very easy to keep power over stls. Even if you are in the legal right. And the legal system is complicated and expensive. FWIW, the risk is on the infringer. You won’t ever have to spend a dime on a lawyer. But if you are willing to take the nuclear option, they have to pay for legal (at least if you can reach them).

In reality, I would bet that this would not ever get decided in a court. Both sides would agree before it ever reached a judge.

In the court of popular opinion, licenses like CC have power. And so does the license page on v1engineering. Those explain what you want to happen with your work. If that is morally acceptable, then most people will back you. If that is not legally acceptable, then it won’t matter until the rubber hits the road. At that point, both sides have already lost.

In total, the license may not give you firm legal footing. But it should reflect what you want to say about your design.



I understand the points you are making. Back to open because there are no other viable options.

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So I think I am sort of trying to ask for is, you can make my cookie, you just can’t have exactly 7 chocolate chips showing, that makes it MY cookie. Still feels like a gray area, but in terms of baking that would be a ridiculous ask. So I guess that is a ridiculous ask in the machine world as well, patent a new idea or it is just a machine like any other.

@vicious1, just some thoughts, not about Licensing but more on get some money back for your work…

When it comes to make money around a free project it almost always turns around the associated services.
Premium support, video formation access, webinars, all that can help consumers to “masterize” the product.

I think there is a lack of offers when it takes to run a CNC, at least 3 that could lead to premium services:

The build :
I found the documention very complete and i didn’t encoutered difficulty on my build.
But some people might prefer step by step videos with explainations, maybe a time payed access to build video library could help you making some money.

Troubleshooting :
Small recorded sequences of most common issues and solutions to fix it.

Do making things :
Last year I subscribed to wood working online lifetime formation of a famous French wood worker, he has a lot of projects for beginners to confirmed and you can buy for the project you want(build a sheld, a workbench…). Video are great quality and the content is very rich, each formation is about 60 hours+ of videos. He deliver the plan for a project (pdfs, sketchup) and explains it in the first course.

He also offers dedicated forums for the payed “students”.
Learning with a goal is easier, and the A to Z project formations are just, in my opinion, awesome way to onboard free user to pay for something that worth the value as they will learn by being leaded by a professionnal/passionate/expert…what ever you prefer to call yourself.
I paid 400€ for 2 of it’s formations without any regret.

Now about CNC machining, we do have lots of sources to find objects/SVG, DXF we can work on in a CAM Software.

The thing is that software factory is not an easy part and we have seen numbers of people, on various cnc forums, that loved to build their open source CNC but then give up or get to much lost on how to use it and ends to try to sell there cnc.
Not enough time to get involve or not enough inspiration, we often says you are limited only by your imagination, can be frustrating for someone that lacks of imagination.

I think a premium access to step by step didactic videos of a small panel of project would be just awesome.
Projects declined for Primo and LowRider, and with 3/4 skill levels.
Small format of videos( 10/20 min max) and several for a project to cover it all, explaining pockets, tabs, direction of maching if the project need it… every thing you know without having to ask yourself but that could causes pain to bebinnners.
I know it’s a hudge work, but starting low and growing it months over months you could build something cashable.

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I am horrible with that part.

I have such a hard time showing my projects. I might try making some stools soon, maybe I will give it a shot. I will warn you I am a better engineer than skills teacher.


The Stumpy Nubs woodworking magazine channel on YouTube… The guy who is the lead on that has hired a skilled woodworker to make (and film himself making) the projects because the lead guy doesn’t have time to make a lot of projects anymore. Maybe you could bring in a ringer! Lol


That would be a lot more fun!

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I have not read this in full but I do see the way it’s going. If it were me I would avoid patents, they are very expensive, require maintenance fees and in reality if someone wants to copy it they will find a loop hole in your patent. I work with this quite often designing suspension seats for boats. We actually even have government agencies that try to knock off our designs with patent loop holes and it’s not even worth trying to fight it.

You could sell your stl files for small amounts to make a bit of money, on the kits you sell you could print in a unique serial number that you could trace for support.

At the end there are a number of approaches, each one has a loop hole or a weak spot. Your strength is your customer support and the volume you sell. It will allow you to stand out over time and the idiots that want to steal your idea and make money themselves will die out themselves and you will remain strong with your network.

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“Associated services” includes printing parts, packing and shipping correct hardware kits, providing supporting electronics and firmware, selling associated upgrades and accessories… i think you seem to reasonably well at that.

I can see why you wouldn’t want someone selling MPCNC Clone kits with low infill parts printed on unsquared printers with horrible.tolerances, where you can’t tell the 23.5mm parts from the 25mm or 25.4mm parts, then having the seller directing customers to your forums to discover why their excrement stinks.

Open source is good for the things that aren’t your core products. The MP3DP for example. I suppose someone can scrub your logos off of the parts and sell those if they wanted to, and you wouldn’t be financially hurt by it. Even if they got support for the printers here, it’s the seller’s reputation at stake. The CNC products you make are different.

I think the CC NC license is a good step. You can give the STL files for free, but retain some control.


The associated services around the actual product seem like a great idea. You’re going to end up being half engineer, half content creator which would be a TON of work that might not be in your wheel house. But maybe it is.

But as you said if it’s that easy to clone the new design, then value added services might be the most viable option. Unless you are independently wealthy I don’t think you could fight IP theft without losing your lunch.

There has to be an example of someone in your situation out there. I’m currently building a Voron 0.1 printer. How does Voron Design make their money? They don’t sell anything. I’ve sourced all my parts from vendors in the US and haven’t given Voron Design a dime. Maybe they don’t make any money but it seem to be quite the endeavor to do it for free.

I don’t know. The more I think about the situation the more I see why you are struggling with the question. Advanced BOMs, tiered versions, ad revenue, premium support for discord - no idea!

One thing I really think you should do is open up a Patreon account for yourself. There’s a vibrant community here that would be more than happy to support V1, myself included. Sure it’s cliché but every small stream helps.


V1 does have a Patreon account if you want to support him there. Aside from the free stickers you can get some flair on your forum account avatar too.


I have always wondered that. In their discord it says they are an ethos, and a hobby, not a business. There is a merch store and a couple affiliate links. Vendors are not asked to do anything special except answer questions if people have them. This takes a lot of time, maybe there is a team of them working in their spare time. That also means that is not an example I am trying to follow. Those designs are quite a different design philosophy than mine. Love them though.

Official Patron!


The Voron guys have really turned over a new leaf. Back when I was looking at upgrading my printer the Voron discord was full of assholes.

Thanks! Your badge should update here sometime today to reflect that like Frosty’s…and you now have inside information :wink:

Yeah I did. Wasn’t expecting to get smacked with that right off the bat! Nice!

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Funny you say that. Looks like you went Rail Core instead because your vids were suggested to me when doing my own research!

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Yep. Saw Joel’s video on it. We were also at the table across from the first vendor to sell kits at the last MRRF I went to, so I got to give them crap about my kit taking so long to ship.