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SAN FRANCISCO — When Microsoft announced native support for 3D printing in Windows 8.1 this week, one question was how far that support would go, and whether it would include open source printers popular in the Maker community.

makerThe answer is yes, according to the company.

Via email, Microsoft’s Shanen Boettcher points to a printer on display at the Build developer conference here as a hint of what will be possible. The machine, from Type-A Machines, uses Marlin open-source firmware. Type-A was able to get the printer up and running with Windows 8.1 using the 3D printing software development kit for Windows 8.1.

“The Win8.1 driver for this machine is not complete but does show that with a little effort you can take the Microsoft 3d Printing SDK and build support for any 3D printer available today,” says Microsoft’s Kris Iverson in a comment on this Channel 9 video.

The idea behind the overall initiative is to make 3D printing as easy as printing to a traditional 2D printer. Traditionally the process requires exporting a file and then uploading it into special software associated with the printer itself.

At its Build booth here in San Francisco, Microsoft has a series of 3D printers running with Windows and working in conjunction with off-the-shelf software.

A product manager with Autodesk told me that they weren’t able to work directly with MakerBot on the project because they didn’t have a three-way non-disclosure agreement, so they were especially relieved this week when they set things up and the system just worked.

Previously on GeekWire:

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