The 3MF Consortium has finally released ALL of its specifications to the public via GitHub.
3MF is an industry consortium attempting to replace vastly outmoded 3D file formats like .STL with new formats that are more adaptable and can accommodate the growing list of new features within today’s 3D printing equipment.
.STL was developed decades ago in a world where 3D printing was being conceived. At that time there was virtually no choice in materials and processes, leading to the relatively simple .STL format. Unfortunately, .STL’s use has persisted to this day, causing issues for 3D printer operators daily.
Several years ago a group of forward-thinking 3D printing companies joined together to form the 3MF Consortium to create specifications that could not only replace the outmoded defacto standards, but also power the industry into the future with advanced concepts not yet implemented.
Their progress has been somewhat slow, as people and organizations are, as always, reluctant to embrace change. However, I’m increasingly seeing “.3MF” appear as an option in 3D software and services. It’s now only a matter of time before it becomes a true standard used constantly by everyone in the space.
That adoption could speed up a little bit with the news that the Consortium has finally published all of their material online for anyone to use. This means, for example, that a developer wishing to create a 3MF-compatible widget need only read the material at no charge to obtain the necessary details. Previously one had to join the consortium to obtain the full information.
3MF contributor Spencer Wright explains:
“This week the 3MF Consortium completed its transition to hosting all of our specifications – as well as sample files, implementations, and much of our internal consortium documentation – on GitHub. Where they can be viewed, downloaded, forked, and pull requested by anyone in the world.
This transition took a considerable amount of work, and maintaining a culture of openness will require maintained effort. But the benefits are significant: Not only will we encourage newcomers to use and improve our work, but we have also streamlined our own workflow (emailing Word docs back and forth is pretty inefficient) and aligned it with the very stakeholders (product managers and software engineers) who implement 3MF specs.”
This is very good news and yet another step on the road toward 3MF’ing the world.