Microsoft plans to offer more information on plans to develop a new file format for 3D printing as part of its Build 2015 developers conference next week in San Francisco. The reveal will be made as part of the session "Developing 3D Printing Applications and Services in Windows 10" on April 30.
Support for 3D printing was added natively into Windows 8.1 in 2013, with the goal of making that kind of work as easy as printing a word document is right now. However, Microsoft says that current file formats are unable to realize the full potential that is available from modern 3D printers. The company describes what a next-generation file format will have to do to work well with 3D printers.
"It should align CAD software, 3D printing hardware and software on a more information-rich file format, specifically designed to support the needs of modern 3D printing. The file format must support information interchange throughout the entire 3D printing process, from CAD application to printer. The file format must contain a complete definition of the printed model, in a way that allows unambiguous and accurate processing of the model. Finally, the file format must be practical, simple to understand and easy to implement.
Microsoft says that a new, but unnamed, industry consortium, has already been formed to create this format. HP has already been announced as a member and we would assume Microsoft is part of the group as well. Again, we should learn a lot more about this effort at Build 2015 next week. We will be attending the conference and will offer first-hand coverage of the event.