Autodesk accelerates future of digital and physical 3D creation

Posted on 5 May 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Autodesk has announced that its Spark 3D printing platform is to be embedded in Windows 10 and intends to make digital 3D models interoperable with Microsoft’s mixed reality environment, HoloLens.

By embedding its Spark 3D printing software platform in Windows 10, Autodesk hopes to provide Windows users with direct access to optimised and more reliable 3D printing experiences that “streamline the additive manufacturing process for a variety of software, material, and printer choices.”

Autodesk will make the Spark APIs available for free* to the Microsoft developer community to build upon, extending the reach and growth of the 3D printing industry.

Further to its combined goal of making 3D printing more accessible, Autodesk will also join Microsoft as a founding member of a 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) Consortium to create and support a standard 3D interchange and printing format.

Steve Guggenheimer, corporate VP of developer platform & evangelism, and chief evangelist for Microsoft, commented: “We’re approaching a tipping point with 3D printing, which means there is a huge market opportunity waiting for companies developing applications for Windows 10.

“By providing the 3D printing building blocks found in the Spark platform and optimising it for Windows 10, Autodesk has empowered our global developer community to confidently enter this new world of additive manufacturing.”

By bringing 3D models from Autodesk software such as Autodesk Maya or Fusion 360 into the virtual mixed reality environment of Microsoft HoloLens, for game developers and filmmakers, this may accelerate the creation of a new generation of entertainment experiences.

For designers and engineers, this may make it possible to digitally view a full scale model during the initial design phase of product development, cutting down on the time and cost required for physical prototypes before fabrication.

Autodesk's Spark 3D printing platform embedded in Windows 10.
Autodesk’s Spark 3D printing platform embedded in Windows 10.

In the future, designers and engineers could create 3D models of their ideas with Autodesk software, like Fusion 360, view the models with HoloLens, and prep them for 3D printing on Spark-compatible printers.

Samir Hanna, Autodesk’s VP and general manager for consumer and 3D printing, added: “3D printing is incredibly promising, but also still too complex and unreliable.

“This relationship is a key step in making 3D printing easier and more accessible to businesses and individuals alike. Together with Microsoft and its global community of developers, we have an opportunity to tackle the complexities of 3D design and printing head-on to improve how things are made and even change the very nature of what we create.”

*Free products are subject to the terms and conditions of the end-user license and services agreement that accompanies the software.