SOFTWARE COBBLER Microsoft made good on its promise to make 3D printing native to Windows on Monday.
The Windows 8.1 operating system (OS) can already natively recognise 3D printers through plug and play drivers, however, today Microsoft launched the Windows 8.1 application 3D Builder to give 3D printing operations a user interface.
Writing on the Microsoft Blog, Microsoft's Kristina Libby said, "I get excited about 3D printing. Really excited. Like Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch excited."
This might be considered something of an overreaction to what is an extremely expensive way to make Kinder Egg toys, but there is little doubt that the future potential for 3D printing is huge.
The application can also let you combine objects from its library or from downloaded blueprints in order to make more complex structures and shapes. The app also contains a catalogue of pre-designed objects for you to adapt or print.
Makerbot printers already have a plug and play driver ready and the other major players will be supported "in time for the holiday season". 3D printers are coming down to affordable prices very quickly, with one high street retailer offering a device for under £700, making it lower priced than many personal computers.
It's thought that in the future 3D printing can be adapted to make artificial limbs and even organs to order, with its ability to create objects precise to the width of a human hair. µ