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Microsoft 3D Builder printing app released for Windows 8.1

by Mark Tyson on 18 November 2013, 11:21

Tags: Windows 8

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Just before the weekend Microsoft released its new 3D Builder app for Windows 8.1. We heard before the launch of Windows 8.1 that 3D printing capability would be native to the operating system; with plug-and-play support for a wide range of 3D printers and native support for many associated 3D file formats. Now the new Microsoft 3D Builder app puts a front end on this functionality and presents you with a “clean, simple user interface,” to easily get you from object browsing to finished output.

Microsoft calls the 3D Builder app “the best place to view, prepare, and print your 3D models on Windows 8.1-ready 3D printers”. The simple interface contains a viewer/browser and a library of 3D objects to get you started. You can choose to scale, rotate and adjust what you want to print. Also the program allows a bit of creativity as you can stack or push objects into each other to create new objects.

The Windows Blog informs us that 3D printing via Windows 8.1 will soon be supported by new drivers from many manufacturers and that “3D Systems, MakerBot and TierTime will be supporting Windows 8.1 in time for the holiday season”. MakerBot has already released its new driver...

If you have a MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer and Windows 8.1 a plug-and-print driver has already been released. MakerBot’s “one-click” driver was heralded by a Microsoft exec who said it helps to “make 3D printing a reality for the masses”. With the driver installed Windows 8.1 users can 3D print directly from any 3D modelling application that supports the Windows 8.1 3D print pipeline.

HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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“make 3D printing a reality for the masses”

Last time I checked, the masses didn't have a spare $2199 for a 3D printer (let alone the additional cost of a Win 8.1 device to run it). When they get down to a few hundred then we might be talking about 3D printing for the masses, but at the minute it's a very high bar to entry…
There are some cheap printers (Printrbot Simple kit for $300), but they're pretty crappy. From what I've read the expensive ones aren't that great either, with people typically printing better replacement parts to upgrade their printers. It's an interesting field, but I think it's currently only for enthusiasts.
IIRC the app doesn't support 90% of the standard 3D formats with MS pushing their own format to support certain features so in my view the app is more a case of MS trying to get a foothold as a ‘3d print format’ more than anything and it's not really an app for building 3d items, it's a select and print app…or the beginning of another revenue stream for MS… 3d build store anyone :)

I don't mind the early access side of things and the price of 3D printing is coming down, the problem is that MS have oversimplified how much is actually involved in 3D printing after the item is produced, most of the current printers need ‘cleaning’ to get an item as ‘clean’ as the image portrays and this can involve chemicals which need good ventilation (as does most melted plastic 3d printers)
Considering its possible to make working 3D printed handguns, is it really wise to make 3D printing public just yet?
Considering its possible to make working 3D printed handguns, is it really wise to make 3D printing public just yet?
Considering its possible to make working bathtub bombs is it wise to make cleaning fluid and industrial fertiliser available to the public yet? If you followed that logic you'd never have anything available.