As early as mid-2013, Microsoft added support for 3D printing ("Microsoft announced support for 3D printing win8.1 technical details") in their own Windows8.1 operating system. Since then noticed that Microsoft is a step by step into the field of 3D printing, including its launch last year, 3D printing applications 3D Builder, glasses HoloLens 3D holographic imaging function and the like.
Today, Microsoft is trying to exert greater influence to the 3D printing industry. During Microsoft's Build developer conference, held a "development based on Windows10 of 3D printing applications and services (Developing 3D Printing Applications and Services in Windows 10), "the special meeting, Microsoft released a new file format specifically for 3D printing.
What means the new file format? Data file format is the cornerstone of 3D printing all the software and hardware to run, in a sense, it is also an industry standard. And a new file format introduced, it means that all of the hardware and software 3D printing should be changed accordingly! (Of course, in the case of the file format is widely accepted by the market.) It seems that Microsoft is the first software that monster has bared its teeth to the 3D printing industry.
Microsoft claims that the reasons for doing so, they found that the current 3D print file format obsolete. "To enable people to maximize productivity and unlock the full functionality of this technology, and (soon) a new file format is necessary." Gavin Gear, Microsoft senior program manager. "It should be able to accommodate a more extensive file format information to suit CAD software, 3D printing hardware and software, especially to meet the needs of the current 3D printing. The file format must support the exchange of information throughout the 3D printing process, from 3D CAD software to the printer; the file format must include a complete definition of print model, to some extent, it is clear that the approach of the model; Finally, the file format must be practical, easy to understand, easy to implement.
Although Microsoft's ambitions unfolded surprising, but it is undeniable that the company this really caught the sore point. It is known that the current 3D printing field common .STL file format has indeed become shackles constraints of technological development. In fact, STL file format first appeared in 1989, STL is actually "Stereolithography (light-cured)," the abbreviation. And we all know, light-cured (SLA) technology is just one of many 3D printing technology in one.
STL File is basically a triangle with a number to define a 3D model, the file contains a complete list of all these triangles XYZ coordinates and vertex normals. If too many triangles definitions appear in this file, then the file will be too large, and was known as the "bad" file. But the problem is that today advanced CAD software, will easily generate such "bad" file. Simply put, today's 3D printers and CAD software features have been strong enough to go beyond the scope of .STL file format specified. Therefore, a new file format - This format is compatible with the next generation of forward-looking and more sophisticated 3D printer needs - it becomes very necessary.
Microsoft's goal is to create an easy to use file format, can be directly used 3D printer (do not even sliced), the most important is that it can contain more information color, texture and so on, which is the STL missing. Some would say, STL file has been ruling the industry for 20 years, to subvert it was probably not so easy. But industry insiders think that this is not easy to look at stars who, for Microsoft is to subvert a market capacity of only more than four billion US dollars in the industry, probably not capacity is not an easy question, but willing to question. You know, Microsoft Net light to more than a quarter of the $ 4 billion.