Founded and led by software giant Microsoft, the 3MF Consortium is growing fast with several big name companies joining its ranks. It includes such brands as HP, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, Siemens, Materialise, FIT, 3D Systems, Stratasys, SLM Solutions and Shapeways. Aim of founding the consortium was the implementation of the new file format for 3D printing called 3MF, which would replace over 30 years old reigning standard STL.
Not counting individual exceptions, all companies that take part in 3MF Consortium specialize largely in professional solutions targeted at specialized audiences. Now this bunch will be extended by the company that devotes its business for creating devices aimed at “normal” users – hobbyists and amateurs. Dutch Ultimaker became the first manufacturer of low-cost 3D printers who found itself in this prestigious group.
Ultimaker’s presence in 3MF Consortium can be a bit surprising, because much more expected in this group of companies would be the likes of XYZPrinting (da Vinci), TierTime (Up!) or Flashforge. Theoretically, the consortium already has one low-cost 3D printers manufacturer in form of Makerbot which is part of Stratasys, but in practice, this brand has never appeared in any official press release related to the 3MF Consortium and even if he is the beneficiary of its solutions, does not constitute a key player in the group.
Ultimaker intends to implement 3MF format support for the latest version of Cura – a free, open-source software for low-cost 3D printers, which is developed under the auspices of the company. When it does so, the 3MF will be able to be presented to wide range of RepRap users for whom Cura is one of the most widely used tool for slicing 3D models and generate GCodes.