Back in November of last year, Microsoft enter the 3D printing space from a software standpoint. This is when they announced the release of the 3D Builder application for Windows 8.1 machines. Although a small step into the realm of 3D printing for Microsoft, there was little doubt, at least for me, that this was the precursor to a more elaborate plan for the software giant to capitalize on the emerging market.
Today another step, this time a bit larger, has been taken in Microsoft’s jog towards a more expansive role within the industry. They have just announced an update to their 3D Builder application, with the release of 3D Builder App R5, an update which is sure to get the attention of the larger players within the 3D printing space.
This latest release, which includes an exhaustive list of changes, most notably features a new ‘Buy Print” button within the 3D editing window. Through a partnership with 3D Systems’ Cubify service, Microsoft will enable users of this free application to seamlessly order a 3D print of whatever design they have created. This service is targeted towards designers who do not have access to a 3D printer, or who wish to access an expanded number of materials by which their designs can be fabricated with.
Included in the material options offered by Cubify, are opaque and frosted plastics, metallic and mixed plastics, full-color “Colorstone” and even ceramics. Once a print is ordered, it will take approximately 2 weeks for 3D Systems to ship it to your doorstep. Further details on Cubify’s offerings may be found here.
Like mentioned above, this is only one of the many updates we have seen within the new 3D Builder App R5 release. Below are just a handful of the other important changes within this latest update:
- Ability to save files as .STL
- Overhauled main control, new selection control
- New trophy parts for 3D models
- Windows RT support
This is certainly very exciting for the industry, as Microsoft has just become a partner in providing 3D printing services via their free Windows 8.1 application. 3D Systems may have hit the jackpot in agreeing to this partnership with the worlds largest software company. There is no doubt that others within the 3D printing space, as well as those competing with Microsoft are paying attention to this interesting move.
Do you use the 3D Builder application? Have you downloaded the latest version? What could this mean for the 3D printing industry in general? Discuss in the Microsoft / 3D Systems partnership forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below is a video overviewing some of the more importanted changes within this release:
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