Shape the Future of AM: The 3MF Consortium Seeks Your Input on File Format Improvements


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The 3MF Consortium is actively seeking feedback from designers, engineers, and software developers in the additive manufacturing space on their use of the 3MF file format, and how it can be improved in the future.

Your feedback is essential for refining and expanding the 3MF file format to better serve the design, engineering and additive manufacturing community.

Participate in our brief questionnaire to contribute to future developments of the open source 3MF format core specification and extensions.

What is the 3MF File Format?

The 3MF (3D Manufacturing Format) is an open-source, universal file format developed by a consortium of leading software and hardware companies in the AM space to streamline the additive manufacturing process at every step. Unlike legacy formats like STL, which often result in ballooning file size with increased complexity, data loss, errors and interoperability issues, 3MF encapsulates comprehensive information about a 3D model—including geometry, color, material and copyright information—in a single, compact file.

The Operational Efficiency of 3MF: How It Works

The 3MF format is designed to optimize the additive manufacturing workflow by focusing on three key areas:

  • Data Accuracy: 3MF files encapsulate comprehensive 3D model data, including geometry, material and machine properties, reducing the risk of data loss or misinterpretation.
  • File Size: The 3MF format is engineered to be compact, ensuring quicker data transfers and reduced storage requirements compared to legacy formats like STL. The Beam Lattice and Volumetric Extensions allow for the communication of incredibly complex designs at a fraction of the size of mesh representation.
  • Interoperability: 3MF is developed to be universally compatible, allowing for seamless data exchange between various CAD software, slicing tools, and 3D printers without the need for format conversion.

Benefits Over STL

While STL files have been the industry standard in the past, they are inherently limited in their ability to convey complex geometries, material properties or even a defined scale.

3MF offers a more robust, data rich solution, reducing the risk of loss of accuracy while always producing a ‘watertight’ mesh with no need for time consuming checks or repairs.

Seeking Feedback on Core Spec and Extensions

The 3MF Consortium is keen to understand how you are using the core 3MF specification as well as the beam lattice, material, volumetric, security and production extensions.

Your Expertise is Essential

For designers, manufacturing engineers, software developers, and academics in the design and additive manufacturing space, your feedback is crucial. Your insights will directly contribute to the refinement and future development of the 3MF file format.

Act Now to Shape the Future of 3MF

Help drive the evolution of 3MF and the broader additive manufacturing industry by taking 2 minutes to fill out the 3MF questionnaire to ensure your professional experience and insight is accounted for in future updates.

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