If you are at all paying attention to the news coming out of San Francisco at the Microsoft Build Conference, then you know that it’s been an action packed day. Today also happens to be a huge day for the 3D printing community in general, as Microsoft will be unveiling their new 3MF Consortium later this evening, which promises to change the way 3D designers and hobbyists 3D print and create with a variety of additive manufacturing machines.
That’s not the only news related to Microsoft and 3D printing that’s being announced today. In fact, one of the seven new 3MF Consortium members, Autodesk, has just announced a major integration of their Spark Platform within Windows 10, as well as planned interoperability between their design software, the Spark Platform, and Microsoft’s forthcoming HoloLens.
“We’re approaching a tipping point with 3D printing, which means there is a huge market opportunity waiting for companies developing applications for Windows 10,” said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President of Developer Platform & Evangelism and Chief Evangelist for Microsoft. “By providing the 3D printing building blocks found in the Spark platform and optimizing it for Windows 10, Autodesk has empowered our global developer community to confidently enter this new world of additive manufacturing.”
By embedding the Spark 3D printing software platform into Windows 10, Autodesk will ensure that users are able to access a more reliable, optimized 3D printing experience. Spark APIs will be made available by Autodesk to Windows’ developers at no cost so that the 3D printing process can be furthermore integrated within Windows 10. In the process this will help take 3D printing mainstream even further.
“3D printing is incredibly promising, but also still too complex and unreliable. This relationship is a key step in making 3D printing easier and more accessible to businesses and individuals alike,” said Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager, Consumer and 3D Printing, Autodesk. “Together with Microsoft and its global community of developers, we have an opportunity to tackle the complexities of 3D design and printing head-on to improve how things are made and even change the very nature of what we create.”
In addition, Autodesk is taking steps to allow users to use 3D models created within their Autodesk Maya or Fusion 360 software and integrate them into the virtual reality space, by teaming with Microsoft on their Hololens initiative. The Hololens mixed reality VR platform was announced earlier this year and brings an entirely new interface to personal computing, merging virtual reality with actual reality together as one. Autodesk envisions a future where designers and hobbyists will be able to create 3D models using Autodesk’s software, view them with Microsoft’s HoloLens, and then get those models ready to print on any 3D printer compatible with the Spark platform. This could also provide designers an invaluable opportunity to visualize an actual physical model within a virtual realm, eliminating the need for the fabrication of several prototypes.
This news certainly is exciting for the 3D printing community, as it provides multiple tools for designers to look forward to. Let’s hear your thoughts on this breaking news in the Spark/Microsoft forum thread on 3DPB.com