Out from Microsoft is a 3D-printing application called 3D Builder that will help the amateur set dig into 3D printing, provided that they 1) have a Windows 8.1 machine, and 2) have a Windows 8.1-ready 3D printer.
So, it’s a small group. But that’s just fine. Every technology has an incubation phase apart from the mainstream, and 3D printing is only now enjoying public awareness, let alone mass adoption.
Windows 8.1 was designed to support 3D printing in an almost gimmick that’s cool instead of moonshotty, due to the falling price of consumer-grade 3D printers, such as what MakerBot produces. MakerBot will support Windows 8.1 this year, if you didn’t know.
The application is designed to help you design. It has a catalog of built-in pieces, and you can add your own to zazz things a touch. From the looks of it, if you recall the creature stage of Spore, it should be somewhat similar. I didn’t get to road test the app as I don’t have a 3D printer (AOL? Hey?), but reviews will tell the tale over the next few days.
Microsoft was late to the Internet and missed the smartphone train, but it appears hell-bent on being early in 3D printing. If the technology advances far enough as the price falls quickly enough, this could be a winning move for Microsoft in the next five years. For now, you can probably only make little lumpen dinosaurs for your kid if you have all the hardware.
From humble beginnings.