3D Printing

Ultimaker Joins the Ranks of Microsoft’s 3MF Consortium

In an attempt to stay afloat in a world of constantly new and emerging technology, Microsoft had started the 3MF Consortium in April of this year in order to become a more relevant force within the 3D printing sector. The group was created specifically to support the release of Microsoft’s own 3D printing file format (.3MF), an all-encompassing and simplified solution to the various data issues that often arise when transferring between differing print files or 3D printers. Thus far the 3MF Consortium has been quite the success, already rostering big-name companies such as Shapeways, SLM Solutions, HP, Autodesk, and others.


With an already impressive line-up of tech companies, now one of the world’s leading 3D printing manufacturers are climbing aboard the 3MF express train. Ultimaker, which is now the twelfth company to join the 3MF Consortium, will now support the .3MF file format in their next release of their Cura software. Microsoft has been able to attract companies such as Ultimaker and Shapeways to their file format through their promise that .3MF will keep files completely intact as they as transferred and shared across different platforms.


“Ultimaker strives to evolve 3D printing into a capable, versatile and accessible production technology,” said Siert Wijnia, the CTO and founder of Ultimaker. “For this fast-growing industry to create meaningful progress, we need a more modern, future-proof and free format that is still easy to implement.”


This is a big win for Microsoft and their .3MF file format, considering that Ultimaker is the most widely distributed printer manufacturer in the world aside from RepRap. By reeling in Ultimaker to the already well-established 3MF Consortium team, Microsoft is proving that although they may be the old dogs of the tech world, they’re still more than able to play a valuable part within the 3D printing community.


The 3MF specification document can be downloaded and inspected on the 3MF Consortium site, covering the standard parts of the spec, optional parts of the spec, and areas in which proprietary information can be added to a 3MF file. All-in-all, what Microsoft wants to do is implement a file format compatible with the entire 3D printing industry. And as more renowned 3D printing companies join together to support Microsoft’s multi-faceted file format, we get closer and closer to smooth and seamless 3D print file transfers between varying platforms, service providers, and printers.