Update on 3D Printing in Windows

This post was authored by Kris Iverson, a software developer lead who works on the 3D printing team in Windows.

Last year, at Build 2013, I demonstrated how easy it is to turn bits into atoms using 3D Printing on Windows 8.1. For the holidays, we partnered with Microsoft retail stores and MakerBot to show the world that anyone can be part of the desktop manufacturing revolution with a Replicator 2, Windows 8.1 and our 3D Builder app.

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Our partners were excited by the power of the Windows 3D Printing platform and quickly followed with integration into their products. For example, Beijing TierTime announced Windows plug-and-pay drivers for their consumer 3D Printers at CES and Autodesk delivered Meshmixer, an easy to use consumer application, with a 3D File->Print experience.

I returned to Build this year to deliver the 3D Printing with Windows session and shared some exciting new things:

3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) published

The 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) is available for download on MSDN (http://aka.ms/3dquickstart). 3MF is a file format that makes it possible to File->Print from an app to any supported 3D Printer on Windows. It is a file format specifically tailored for 3D Printing and Windows. 3MF supports colors, textures, scale, a print ticket containing recommended print options, and many other improvements. We believe 3MF is a step forward for the industry and ready for the next generation of 3D Printers.

Printrbot plug-and-play

Microsoft is delivering a 3D plug and play print driver for Printrbot’s new Metal Simple 3D Printer. Brook Drumm, Printrbot Founder, joined us to introduce the Metal Simple and talked about the importance of software. The Printbot Metal Simple is a low-price 3D Printer that is portable, compact and friendly. With Microsoft providing software, it will also be simple to use. Thank you Brook!

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3D Builder app update

We are making a major update to our Windows Store app: Microsoft 3D Builder. My colleague Steve Olsson demonstrated several powerful features. 3D Builder makes it easy to customize a model and prepare it for printing. We added a series of Windows Phone docking stands to our model catalog and with a few taps, you can emboss your name or even merge your face from a 3D scan. 3D Builder will automatically check and fix any problems before printing. (http://aka.ms/3dbuilder)

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Model Repair web service

Microsoft is partnering with Netfabb to offer a Model Repair web service hosted on Azure. The website (http://aka.ms/modelrepair) is free for consumer use. We are also offering this service for integration in a commercial environment. Please contact us for more information.

SOLIDWORKS 3D File->Print

We are not just focusing on consumer experiences. Microsoft supports serious professional 3D Printing, too. Vajrang Parvate, Director of Product Development at SOLIDWORKS, talked about the professional CAD space and demonstrated a 3D File->Print experience on an upcoming version of SOLIDWORKS. SOLIDWORKS prints a 3MF through the Windows 3D Print platform to any supported 3D Printer. Thank you Vajrang!

Microsoft 3D Printing SDK download

And finally, using a sample in our 3D Printing SDK, I demonstrated how you can add 3D Printing to a Windows Store app with one line of JavaScript. It doesn’t get any easier than that! The Microsoft 3D Printing SDK is available for download (http://aka.ms/3dquickstart) from MSDN and includes both desktop and Windows Store app source code samples, device driver source code, and documentation. It has everything you need to include 3D Printing in your apps and prepare your device for Windows.

I can’t wait to see the explosion of new apps and devices for Windows. Just think of the possibilities!

If you want to know more, please check out the related session from //build/ 2014!