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December 10, 2013

3D Printing Holiday Ornaments with Surface

It seems like the availability of 3D printers is starting to take off and more and more home tinkerers are discovering the ability to create 3D models at home. After attending Maker Faire this summer in New York and returning from Autodesk’s CAVe conference in Las Vegas, I believe this is one of the most exciting things happening in the creative space right now. We have been having some fun with 3D printing in the office in the past week and I thought we should share the love.

We’re all set up to design ornaments and print them

Printers are increasingly available to the amateur builder and many more printers are available today.  The standout products to me are the MakerBot, 3D Systems Cube, the 3DPPD TierTime UP Plus 2, and the RepRap. They each have their merits and are finding engaged audiences that ranges from beginners to pros.  Developments in the hardware have made these printers more affordable, but the most significant advancements have been made on the software front.  Each of these printers used to come packaged with its own print utility. Now with Windows 8.1 we have an integrated solution that interfaces directly with the printer and connects it with the print utility in Windows.  This means 3D printers in Windows 8.1 look and feel exactly like your standard plug-and-play paper printer. Whether you are just getting started creating your own models or have been building for some time, you can now choose the printer and software combo that best suits your needs and simply swipe and print with Windows 8.1.

A couple of weeks ago one of our teams at Microsoft launched the 3D Builder app in the Windows Store.  It is a one stop shop for building 3D models, riffing on any number of templates provided in the app, and printing complete models.  I don’t think there is any easier setup to get started building.  If you already have a printer or are thinking of purchasing one this holiday season head on over to the store and download the free builder app.

I think the great thing about the 3D builder app is the ease with which you can import your existing models, scale them for proper sizing, and send them to your 3D printer for production.

In the app you have the choice of importing a new model or choosing from one of the templates provided 

Here the app allows you to adjust your model’s scale before printing

Once your model is ready it’s time to get printing 

A complete set of train tracks and cars are available in the templates section of the 3D Builder app

Now that we are officially past the Thanksgiving holiday and the magic of the holidays is upon us, we wanted to share some seasonally inspired 3D models with you.

Decorate your tree this year with special ornaments created by you

If you have the 3D Builder app on your Surface you will see that there is a Seasonal template section with some great holiday models.  But we want to do even better and so our team set out to create some holiday ornaments that you can import into the 3D Builder app, modify in your preferred modeling application, and print at home. Head on over here to download the ornament templates to get started today!

If you are still looking for an extra special Christmas gift for your favorite home builder check out the Maker Bot 2 available at your local Microsoft Store.