A new 3D printing (3DP) file format specification has just been released by a new consortium of heavyweights in software, plus 2D printer leader and 3D printer hopeful Hewlett Packard, metals 3D printer gurus SLM Solutions Group, and mega-3DP service bureau Shapeways.
The 3MF Consortium is making the first version of its new 3DP file format, also called 3MF (3D Manufacturing Format), available free. You can download it here. The question, though, is why do we need another file format? True, lots of engineers complain about the numerous limitations of .STL, designed back in 1989. But that's why ASTM International came up with the Additive Manufacturing Format (AMF), right?
(Source: 3MF Consortium)
Well, no. That's not good enough for the founding members of the new consortium, which also include Dassault Systemes, FIT AG/netfabb GmbH, Microsoft, and Autodesk. They say their new file format clears up interoperability problems with multiple applications, platforms, services, and printers, and makes it possible to send full-fidelity 3D models to all of them. The starting point for the initial specification is the 3D file format Microsoft has been working on, which will be developed further by the group.
“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 the consortium's executive director Adrian Lannin.
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