Manufacturing News

​New, user-friendly 3D printing file format goes beyond .stl

Seven leading technology companies have announced a
partnership to develop a new 3D printing file format.

In a statement, the 3MF Consortium – comprising Dassault
Systèmes S.A.
FIT AG/netfabb
SLM Solutions
Group AG
; and Autodesk Inc
– launched the .3MF specification.

According to their release, it overcomes problems
associated with formats such as .STL (released in 1989) and would lift
productivity and effectiveness for those using 3D printers.

“3MF will align CAD
software and 3D printing hardware and software in a more information-rich file
format, specifically designed to support the needs of modern 3D printing
throughout the entire printing process,” said Adrian Lannin, executive director
of the 3MF Consortium.

Alex Oster, CEO of
netfabb, said the consortium expected to launch several additions to the
standard before the year was complete.

Business Insider compares the group’s project to solve current inter-operability and usability problems
to Windows 95’s introduction of “plug and play” to install devices. points out that the .3MF file format has actually existed for years, but has been
recently overhauled by Microsoft.

The consortium’s
stated mission regarding the format is reproduced below:

– Rich enough to fully describe a model, retaining internal
information, color, and other characteristics;

– Extensible so that it supports new innovations in 3D printing;

– Interoperable and open;

– Practical, simple to understand and easy to implement; and

– Free of the issues inherent in other widely used file formats.

For more information,
click here.


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