Microsoft launches 3MF Consortium and eponymous 3D printing standard

Microsoft has been a long-time supporter of 3D printing and it’s obvious that the company views this emerging field as an important technology for the future. Not only is Microsoft embedding native support for 3D printing in Windows 10, but the company is also launching a consortium and a file standard for the technology.

Partnering with HP, Autodesk and others, Microsoft is launching the 3MF Consortium, charged with developing the 3MF file format, a new standard on which 3D-printing technologies can develop going forward. The file format is being adopted by all consortium partners, but the standard is, obviously, open to anyone.

The 3MF file format is by no means a new invention, but Microsoft has been working with its partners to overhaul it and create an exact list of specifications that address the numerous problems found in today’s popular formats like .STL.

According to the press release the new standard is:

  • Rich enough to fully describe a model, retaining internal information, color, and other characteristics;
  • Extensible so that it supports new innovations in 3D printing;
  • Interoperable and open;
  • Practical, simple to understand and easy to implement; and
  • Free of the issues inherent in other widely used file formats.

This isn’t the first time that the Windows maker expressed support for 3D printing and new technologies, as even back in Windows 8.1, 3D printing was being supported natively. In fact, Microsoft’s stated goal from the start was to make 3D printing as simple as traditional 2D printing, and available to anyone.

With the launch of the new 3MF Consortium and the 3MF standard, the field as a whole has a much more stable and flexible foundation on which further innovation can take place.

Source: 3MF Consortium via: 3Dprint

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