Are we headed toward a standard 3D printing file format?

Getting competing companies to agree on standards is always difficult, even though there are often benefits to consumers. Currently in 3D printing, STL (stereolithograpy) and OBJ (object) files are the most common formats for passing data from a computer to a 3D printer, but there are issues with these formats. These issues include interoperability challenges and lack of design metadata on materials, model orientation, textures, colors and more.

To move toward a standard file format, several companies including Autodesk, HP, Siemens, Stratasys and 3D Systems came together last year to form the 3MF Consortium. They are pushing 3MF, an XML-based open format that could include this type of metadata.

These are still early days in the development of a widely accepted standard, but 3MF shows promise for helping to move 3D printing from a prototyping and hobbyist technology to a core manufacturing technology.

Full story at Fortune.


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