SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has announced that its Windows 8.1 service pack will have support for 3D printing in what the firm claims will make 3D object production on your PC "as easy as writing a document in Word".
"Just as desktop publishing transformed how we write, we think desktop manufacturing will transform how we create," explained Microsoft Startup Business Group GM Shanen Boettcher in a blog post.
"But will 3D printing go mainstream? We think so - which is why we've built it into Windows - the world's most popular platform."
Microsoft said its 3D printing support will include plug and play support for printers enabling applications to seamlessly submit 3D print jobs, understanding 3D file formats and connecting applications with hardware to deliver what it called "an end-to-end solution for customers".
"We want this to be so simple that anyone can set up their own table-top factory," the firm added.
Microsoft said it doesn't believe desktop 3D printing will replace mass production, but does think that people will use 3D printing to make custom creations, hence it wants to include support for the feature on consumer machines.
It also hopes the 3D support will revolutionise invention beyond the home and will inspire home users to set up their own businesses making customised creations.
Microsoft announced on Wednesday that its Windows 8.1 service pack will have a traditional Start button and let users boot directly to the desktop. µ