Just Maybe This 3MF Thing Is Going To Work

By on July 2nd, 2015 in Corporate, Software

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The 3MF Consortium announced the arrival of four more companies to the project. And they’re notable companies. 

The 3MF Consortium is a group dedicated to promoting an improved standard for 3D model file formats. Their file specification provides dramatic improvement over the aging, troublesome yet still popular .STL format. 

The 3MF Consortium began with several notable parties in the 3D ecosystem, including: Autodesk, Dassault Systemes (Solidworks), NetFabb, Shapeways, HP, SLM Solutions and Microsoft. Well, Microsoft isn’t in the 3D printing biz yet, but that’s a story for another day. 

When announced, it was not clear whether this format specification would survive, as the two major players, 3D Systems and Stratasys, were not involved. 

But now, the four additions to the consortium are: 

  • Materialise – A major industrial 3D print service
  • Siemens PLM Software – Makers of high-end commercial 3D design software
  • 3D Systems and Stratasys – Makers of full lines of 3D printing equipment, software and services

So, we now have what appears to be an unbeatable complement of participants to the 3MF Consortium. By participating, we expect these parties to implement the 3MF file format specifications in their products, either future products or retrofitted existing products. 

To us this means the 3MF standard is likely to stick and eventually become the “one true” format that everyone can use. (You can download the specification at no charge right here.) Standards only work when people accept them as standards and here 3MF seems to have gathered critical mass. 

Look for others to quickly join the consortium or simply start using the file format in their products. 

An interesting corollary to the 3MF success is the future of AMF, an earlier attempt at improving upon the old STL format. AMF has been around for some years now, but never picked up the momentum that 3MF has achieved. Now with the big companies heading towards 3MF, it’s unlikely AMF will grow more than its current scope. 

For now, it might be a good idea to learn more about 3MF. 

Via 3MF

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!