Just in time for the holiday shopping season, with the release by Microsoft of its free new 3D Builder app for Windows 8.1, the company is making it easier for people to create their own 3D printable creations. Of course, consumers need to also own a compatible 3D printer, such as the MarkerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer ($2,199) which Microsoft just happens to be selling.
Several pre-conceived templates come with the new Microsoft 3D Builder app, though the items which people can make are limited. It’s an introductory tool to get consumers interested in the concept of 3D printing, and the technology behind it; although, you can make a number of pretty cool things using the Microsoft 3D Builder app and a 3D printer, including a (non-electric) model train set.
Besides templates for making other items like money clips, small toys, stationary, snowflakes, cookie cutters, Lego-style bricks, and pendants, the app will also allow users to create their own items, straight from their imaginations, by combining the preset templates into larger objects.
According to Microsoft representative Kristina Libby on the official blog for Windows, the user interface is simple and “lets you scale, rotate and adjust what you want to print.”
Among the things you can do with the 3D app, which Libby mentions at the website, are adding “multiple objects to a single print,” and you can even “stack or push objects into one another to create new ones.” She says that using the 3D app and printing 3D objects downloaded from the Internet is really easy.”
You can download the Microsoft 3D Builder app from the Windows Store now, for free, and begin creating your own 3D ornaments, toys, and other objects. The 3D app also allows you to import 3D designs using SkyDrive.
There are a myriad of potential applications for 3D printed objects, ranging from creating in-store toys for Happy Meals — which McDonald’s is considering doing — to replacement parts for your appliances, shoes, earrings, and prosthetic hands or other body parts.
Print your own 3D items just in time for Christmas
The timing of the release by Microsoft of its 3D Builder app is not coincidental. Well-heeled Windows 8.1 users, beat the Black Friday buying frenzy!
Microsoft has announced the release of its new 3D downloadable app just in time for the holiday season, so — if readers happen to have a few stray thousand dollars around and have been wondering what to do with them — buy a personal gift or one to share with friends with the 3D printer. Download the free app and have a blast developing personally created 3D printable items!
Though the 3D Builder app from Microsoft is a relatively simple and introductory tool, it comes with a catalog of templates to choose from, consumers can also customize items and create their own. It’s likely to be updated, which will allow users to create even more and varied items. The downloadable, free Microsoft 3D Builder app from Microsoft is a great introduction into what one can currently do with 3D printing technology, and gives a glimpse into where it’s going in the future.
Written by: Douglas Cobb