New dimension for Windows: Microsoft puts 3D printing support directly into OS

windows3d

Printing from Windows 8.1 directly to a MakerBot 3D printer.

SAN FRANCISCO — Hitting the “Print” button in Windows just took on a whole new meaning.

Microsoft is adding native support for 3D printing as part of the Windows 8.1 update, making it possible to print directly from an app to a 3D printer. The company is announcing the new feature this morning, working with partners including MakerBot Industries, 3D Systems, Afinia, AutoDesk, Netfabb and others.

“We want all of the apps out there to print to all of the printers out there,” explained Microsoft’s Shanen Boettcher.

[Follow-up: Microsoft says 3D printing in Windows 8.1 will support open-source technologies]

The process of 3D printing typically requires users to export a file from a drawing or modeling program, and then import that file into the software that came with the 3D printer.

Microsoft is aiming to replace that process with a mechanism very similar to sending a file to a traditional printer, using drivers that handle the communication between the software and the 3D printer. The print dialogue in Windows 8.1 recognizes supported 3D printers and identifies them by name.

On the software side, APIs are also available for developers to leverage the new feature inside Windows. Boettcher says the company would like to see developers create new apps that make it simple to make 3D objects.

In conjunction with the news, Microsoft is also planning to start selling MakerBot printers in its retail stores.

Microsoft is announcing the news at its Build developers conference in San Francisco. Follow along with our live blog, and also see my initial hands-on impressions of Windows 8.1.

  • guest

    Cool.

  • http://forefront.io/ chalkers

    Wow

  • aaronmakaruk

    It’s better to support open source software instead of relying on proprietary software and letting the open source alternatives dry up from lack of use and development support.

    • Guest

      Oh go cry and shill for Linux somewhere else.

    • puhlease

      Awesome point. Where can I buy an open source 3D printer? Oh right, I can’t.

      • https://roamingaroundatrandom.wordpress.com/ Natanael L

        That would make you a quite rare species.

        The majority of the sub-$2 000 printers are fully open source, and lots of them can be bought pre-configured, pre-built and pre-calibrated. It’s not that hard to find. A quick google showed Ultimaker being available pre-built for $1 700. And there’s options coming out at $400, also open source and pre-built and pre-calibrated.

      • cluez
  • anonymous

    so the NSA can track who prints guns lol nice try microsoft.

    • Guest

      Your tinfoil hat is on too tight and cutting off the air supply to your brain.

  • Robert Call

    Too bad that everyone is too excited about this to care about the DRM issue at hand: http://gizmodo.com/5952780/new-patent-could-saddle-3d-printers-with-drm

    • guest

      What DRM issue at hand? Does MS’s driver include support for this IV patent? If not, why are you even mentioning here?

      • guest#2

        YEA! Let’s remain ignorant, its easier!

        “A new report from the White House calls for more industry action on online piracy and more scrutiny of innovations in the field of cloud computing, mobile apps and 3D printing”

        “The report also called for anti-piracy technologies and measures to keep up with new emerging technologies, such as 3D printing.”

        • guest

          Are you reading impaired? Again, what is the connection to that and 8.1′s driver support which is the topic of *this* article? If you can’t answer that either, feel free to just stfu.

          • #1guest

            I think it was an attempt to answer your first question “What DRM issue at hand?” as well as respond to “If not, why are you even mentioning here?” by indicating that it’s worth mentioning here because this is a buzz piece about 3D printing and a great way to also inform those interested in the topic about the looming issues surrounding DRM and 3D printing. A link was even provided as resource for more information.

            “remain ignorant” it is.

          • guest

            The link only talks about some patented technology IV has. It doesn’t say anything about whether any 3D printer OEM is using that, and they’re the guys who will write the drivers for MS’s SDK. So again it’s off topic to this article, which is about making it easier for people to print to 3D printers by adding native driver support to the OS. But instead of conceding how that’s beneficial, you instead attempt to hijack the topic to IV patents, and DRM issues that currently don’t exist.
            Remain a jackass it is.

          • juiceguy

            buzz piece about Windows 8.1 AND 3D printing*^

        • Buzzoff

          Gee, can’t imagine why they just wouldn’t let anyone say print a gun.

    • Chicken Little
  • BillyBob

    its a start..kinda like when they added zip support to xp

    • Trolls are such morons

      Congrats on achieving peak stupid.

  • Paul Wilson

    try the services at isofthelps.com
    in relation to any tech issue

  • Mandeep Dalvair

    Try the services at http://www.bluereliance.co.uk/ too