Microsoft Details 3D Printing Support in Windows 8.1, A Lot like Printing in 2D

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News Posted: Fri, Aug 23 2013 12:35 PM
With Windows 8.1 around the bend, Microsoft is taking the opportunity to add support to the OS for 3D printing. As Microsoft’s Gavin Gear explains in a blog post on the topic, printing in 3D with Windows 8.1 is much like printing in 2D (such as printing a document) right now. If it works as smoothly as Gear describes, 3D printing will be more streamlined process (and easier, it appears) in 8.1 than it is with third-party software right now. In fact, Windows 8.1 may even help those third-party programs improve the 3D printing process for you, too.

Process for using a 3D printer on a Windows 8.1 computer.
The 3D printing process with the help of new Windows 8.1 support. Image credit: Microsoft

Right now, 3D printing typically involves several steps and may be exported multiple times. On the other hand, 2D printing is a fairly painless process for the user, thanks to the “print pipeline,” in the data is converted into a format the printer can read. Microsoft wants to use a similar print pipeline to cut down the printing steps for 3D. Pick up a 3D printing app from the Windows Store, and you can adjust printing settings and tap or click Print, just as you would with a 2D printer.

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Kind of surprised they jumped on this bandwagon so quickly.

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JDiaz replied on Sat, Aug 24 2013 11:45 AM

3D printing has been around for a long time but it's finally starting to reach the point that it can be applied to commercial applications for everyday users and not just hobbyists and prototypers.

NASA for example has already started making rocket engine parts with 3D printers that can be made a lot faster and in a single piece, instead of complex multiple components, that's a lot cheaper to make and still is a high quality part.

We may be only a year or two away from everyday consumers from being able to order certain products and have it made right at home.

So, I wouldn't say they jumped on the bandwagon so quick but more just in time to help grease the wheels of progress and help accelerate this trend.

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