Recent industry-changing announcements for the 3D printing space will see the advancement of digital and physical 3D creation to take 3D printing even further into the mainstream.
These developments include a new interoperable 3D file format, integration of Autodesk 3D models with Microsoft HoloLens, and embedding of the Spark Platform in Windows 10.
Consortium launches new 3D printing 3MF file format
Following a discussion on how best to enable their products to work together, seven leading technology companies have announced a partnership to develop a new 3D printing file format.
According to their release, the 3MF (for 3D Manufacturing Format) Consortium is a “Joint Development Foundation project with the goal to define a 3D printing format that will allow design applications to send full-fidelity 3D models to a mix of other applications, platforms, services and printers.”
The founding members of the 3MF Consortium are:
This news is expected to have large implications for the entire 3D design and printing industry.
Just one file format will be required from design to print, and there will be no loss of information in the process, with the interoperability for full-fidelity 3D models to be sent to other applications, services, platforms and printers.
The consortium’s mission is to deliver a 3D printing file format that addresses widespread problems with currently available file formats such as .STL, and that is:
- Rich enough to fully describe a model, retaining internal information, colour, and other characteristics
- Extensible so it supports new innovations in 3D printing
- Interoperable and open
- Practical, simple to understand and easy to implement
- Free of the issues inherent in other widely used file formats.
Autodesk to Embed Spark Platform in Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Make 3D Models Interoperable with HoloLens
According to Samir Hanna, Vice President and General Manager, Consumer and 3D Printing at Autodesk:
“3D printing is incredibly promising, but also still too complex and unreliable…
“Together with Microsoft and its global community of developers, we have an opportunity to tackle the complexities of 3D design and printing head-on to improve how things are made and even change the very nature of what we create.”
Autodesk will embed its Spark 3D printing software in Windows 10, to provide Windows users with direct access to optimised and more reliable 3D printing experiences for a variety of software, material, and printer choices.
Spark APIs will be available for free to the Microsoft developer community, opening up the 3D printing industry and making it more accessible and extending its reach like never before.
Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President of Developer Platform & Evangelism and Chief Evangelist for Microsoft said, “By providing the 3D printing building blocks found in the Spark platform and optimizing it for Windows 10, Autodesk has empowered our global developer community to confidently enter this new world of additive manufacturing.”
The ability to bring 3D models from Autodesk software into the virtual reality environment of Microsoft HoloLens is also expected to streamline and accelerate creation.
For designers and engineers, this may make it possible to digitally view a full scale model during the upfront design phase of product development, reducing the time and cost required for physical prototypes before fabrication.
Image courtesy of Microsoft.