Build 2015: will 3MF format be the new standard for 3D printing?

Microsoft-Build-2015Microsoft continues its efforts to make 3MF (for 3D Manufacturing Format) the standard file format for 3D printing.
The number 1 software took advantage of its developer Build 2015 conference that just ended in San Francisco, to unveil the list of new partners have joined the ‘Consortium 3MF. Autodesk, Dassault systems, HP and even the netfabb Publisher ranged behind 3MF which may well, ultimately replace the STL format.

Microsoft has entrusted the fate its 3MF format to a consortium

It is in 2013 that Microsoft unveiled 3D Builder, a small application for Windows 8.1 dedicated to 3D printing. Nothing very revolutionary if it is only the application marked the willingness of Microsoft to make Windows an operating system natively compatible with 3D printers. In his usual editor proposed its own format, 3MF.

3D Print dataflow

Besides the geometrical model, format 3MF embarked textures but also a ‘ticket’, information concerning its priority in the print queue.

Asset of this file format, 3MF is a ‘dialect’ XML. It is therefore easily interpretable and readable, even. But the main contribution of this format is to include data of textures and colors. An interesting capacity for future high-end including 3D printers that will extricate the prototypes in colors with the decoration of the final product without the need to paint. In addition to specifying 3MF, Microsoft then made available an SDK so that application developers integrate this format to their offerings.

3DSystems, Makerbot, nor Stratasys are currently part of the Consortium 3MF

At the time of its announcement, in 2013, Microsoft could rely on the support of Makerbot and 3Dsystems, 2 major manufacturers of 3D printers which then announced their willingness to develop of drivers 3MF for their machines.

3MF will be flown on the Spark of Autodesk 3D printing platform.

3MF will be flown on the Spark of Autodesk 3D printing platform.

On the occasion of Build 2015, Microsoft announced the creation of the Consortium 3MF, an alliance created to push the adoption of the format on the market. The consortium has 7 founding members: Autodesk, Dassault systems, HP, Microsoft, netfabb, shapeways and SLM Solutions.
3MF implementation will be free for members of the consortium, the members sure to acquire the patent rights. Microsoft plans to publish the code on Github to read 3D 3MF-OBJ-STL formats, to write 3MF files, as well as the publisher wants to provide access to Web Services dedicated to the repair of the 3D models. 3MF has everything to the purely commercial 3D printing market. As for the world of the makers, it will take probably much longer this new format to dethrone STL.

Translation : Bing Translator

Sources :

“3MF Consortium Launches to Advance 3D Printing Technology”, 3MF Consortium press release, April 30, 2015

“New Technology for 3D Printing – New Consortium Leading the Way”, Channel9/MSDN, April 23, 2015

“Microsoft Talks More About 3D Printing in Windows 8.1”, Tom’s Guide, September 23, 2013

“3D Printing Support in Windows 8.1 Explained”, Blogging Wnidows, August 22, 2013

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