Microsoft joined the wonderful world of 3D printing in 2013, when they announced the release of their 3D Builder application for Windows 8.1 machines. The app allows you to load, view, manipulate, and 3D print right from your PC. In 2014, Microsoft integrated Kinect into 3D Builder, to enable users to perform DIY full body color scanning. 3D Builder was released on Windows 10 PCs around the same time. They continued upgrading the app, including the late 2014 release of the 3D Builder App R5 update and also teaming up with Materialise earlier this year, eventually letting Microsoft users working with 3D Builder directly connect with the i.materialise 3D printing factory when they’re ready to print.
The company announced more good news at its hardware event in October: they’ve decided to make the app available on Windows mobile devices! The 3D Builder app is now available for free download on Windows 10 mobile devices, as well as Xbox One consoles. It gives users even more platforms to print out their 3D content, and it can even be used if you don’t own a 3D printer! Since Windows phones are not yet compatible with all 3D printers, i.materialise is again offering their printing services to those without their own printer.Before now, you had to use Windows 3D Builder from the comfort and confines of your desktop computer, but this release lets you stay on the go with your mobile device. The 3D Builder app takes care of everything while you’re on the move, readying your designs for 3D printing of 3D/3MF models. If you own a 3D printer, or want to rent one, you should have your completed 3D model in a matter of hours. If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, you can get your model within a few days, thanks to i.materialise.
The 3D Builder app is supported by several of the most commonly used 3D formats available, including:
- 3MF files
- STL files
- OBJ files
- PLY files
- WRL (VRML) files
Users also have access to a built-in library, so people can share previously 3D printed models with each other. In addition to its existing features, including automatically repairing models so you can print them, the 3D Builder mobile app also refines objects, adds a base to uneven objects, smooths rough edges, and can emboss any model with additional images or text. You can build objects from scratch using simple shapes, and also combine models to make a new object.
Word on the street is that Microsoft’s Windows 10 Creators Update, which is set for early next year, will also focus on 3D features. So the 3D Builder app could see a considerable enhancement in just a few months! And of course we’re looking forward to the upcoming 3D integrations in Microsoft Paint, too, as Microsoft continues to embrace 3D technologies and make them more available for all users.
If you want to join in on the Microsoft 3D builder fun, but aren’t quite sure how to begin creating your own models for 3D printing, watch this i.materialize tutorial:
Discuss in the 3D Builder forum at 3DPB.com.