May 1, 2015 | By Kira

We’ve been closely following the events at this year’s Build Conference in San Francisco, and industry-changing news keeps pouring in. Just last week, we reported on Microsoft’s new, as-yet unnamed 3D printing file format for Windows 10. Next came the announcement that seven leading companies in the global 3D printing sector, including Microsoft, Shapeways, HP and Autodesk , have launched the 3MF Consortium. The latest Build-related development involves a two-part effort from Microsoft and Autodesk that promises to advance the future of digital and physical 3D creation.

Firstly, Autodesk has announced that it will embed its Spark 3D printing platform into Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 10 operating system. Spark is the first open-source professional 3D printing software platform, optimized to give users a more reliable and streamlined 3D printing experience. By making Spark APIs available for free for the Microsoft developer community, Autodesk is opening up the 3D printing industry, making it more accessible and extending its reach like never before. Autodesk has also just begun shipping its new Ember 3D printer, the first of its kind to support Spark. Clearly, the timing of these industry-shaking developments (as well as the Build conference itself) is no coincidence.

Autodesk's Ember 3D printer

Visualization of the Spark 3D printing platform

"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, CVP and Chief Evangelist of Microsoft, in a statement. “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.”

The second big announcement aims to combine the worlds of 3D printing and virtual reality. According to Autodesk, they plan to make their 3D modeling software interoperable with Microsoft’s mixed reality, hyper-futuristic holographic computer, also known as HoloLens. This development could have a huge impact on everyone from game developers and filmmakers to designers and engineers. The ultimate vision is for users to create 3D models using Autodesk software, such as Maya or Fusion 360, import the designs to HoloLens in order to view full scale, 3D holograms (cutting down the time and cost required to print a physical prototype), and finally 3D print the product with a Spark-compatible 3D printer, such as Ember. The entire process would be seamless, consistent, and intuitive—three words that are not always associated with the 3D printing industry today.

Microsoft's HoloLens

“3D printing is incredibly promising, but also still too complex and unreliable,” said Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager, Consumer and 3D Printing, Autodesk. “This relationship is a key step in making 3D printing easier and more accessible to businesses and individuals alike.”

Microsoft and Autodesk are already industry giants, and although the former is much better known for PC software, they have shown a clear interest and investment in 3D printing technologies. What’s even more promising is both companies’ commitment to opening up the market and making 3D printing accessible via consumer-friendly, open source platforms that will allow developers to experiment and create like never before.



Posted in 3D Printing Company


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dez wrote at 5/3/2015 12:35:08 AM:

Wonder if they have plans on integrating some sort of physics and mechanical software engine into this for professional/advanced designing and prototyping. Autodesk has software related to doing this. This would save even more time being able to simulate mechanics, power/electronics, and wear and tear. If they integrate that also inside Windows 10, this would definitely make for a choice platform for the innovator.

serge wrote at 5/2/2015 12:50:24 AM:

open ? the only thing i can read here is " copyright protection" . Tell me more about open :)

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