3d Printing with all its awesome applications have been the most looked into technology for the last 3 years. While most of the development and innovation has come from the lesser known companies, it was high time that we saw some big players in the software sector do something for the betterment of the technology. HP was probably the first one to jump in with the announcement of their Multijet 3d printer. Microsoft also announced their readiness to embrace the technology with the announcement of their Hololens Virtual holographic computing which works similar to the Xbox 360 Kinect.
But are these efforts enough? The answer is NO. If 3d printing has to have an exponential growth, these companies will need to play an active role and it looks like Microsoft, has decided to play the part of the big brother and help streamline 3D printing process. Whether it is for a desktop machine or an industrial scale printer.On Thursday, April 30 at Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference, a session will be held called ‘Developing 3D Printing Applications and Services in Windows 10?. It is rumored that Microsoft may announce a New file format that will be able to cater to the needs of complex 3d printing processes of today.
.STL which stands for StereoLithography Interface Specification is the most popular File format used for 3d printing; however did you know that this file format was created by 3D Systems almost 28 years ago. .stl flies are is a triangular representation of a 3D object. The surface of an object is broken into a logical series of triangles. Each triangle is uniquely defined by its normal and three points representing its vertices. In Simpler words it’s a xyz coordinates of the vertices and normal for the triangles that describe the 3D object.
While this file format has been good enough until now, there are serious concerns if it would be able to handle the complex designs made by the advanced 3d Design software’s of today. The growing number of triangles inside 3d design is making .STL files too heavy to be handled and they are being termed ‘bad’. It’s high time that we start looking for a more sustainable file format, a file format that can handle the complex nature of 3d designs of today, and that’s exactly what Microsoft is going to do on April 30 at the Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference.
Gavin Gear, Senior Program Manager at Microsoftis going to head the Conference and this is what he had to say about this new file format “To empower people, maximize productivity, and unlock the full capabilities of this technology, a new file format is needed, 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.”
Success of failure of any file format depends on how many software makers use it, and something that’s created by Microsoft should not face a lot of objection from other industry leaders. (Eventually most of this 3d design software is going to run on Windows Platforms.)