This commercial service will be marketed by netfabb with Microsoft operating the backend and netfabb providing the software based on its desktop 3D printing desktop product, netfabb Professional 6.0. It will initially include netfabbís file repair software, but will be extended to include other functions such as wall thickness detection, buildability checks and offline rendering options.
Using netfabb software and the Azure cloud, Microsoft has already made a 3D file repair service available to non-commercial users for more than one year. Under the label “Microsoft 3D Printing - powered by netfabb”, it has become the most widely used 3D printing cloud service boasting more than more 60,000 users, 1.2 million files submitted for processing since its inception in May 2014 and currently processing more than 4,000 files per day.
Alexander Oster, CEO of netfabb, commented: "Providing easy low cost access to essential 3D printing tools to the world has been netfabb's mission since it was founded. Moving towards offering the wide functionality of our 3D printing software on a cloud is just the logical next step. Microsoft Azure has provided us an ideal platform to achieve this in a fast, scalable and stable way.”
Microsoft and netfabb are members of the 3MF Consortium, a group of industry leaders that have joined forces to develop and standardise 3MF as a new file format for 3D printing. The group features names across software, hardware and 3D printing services including, Dassault Systèmes S.A.; HP; Shapeways, Inc.; SLM Solutions Group AG; and Autodesk, 3D Systems, Materialise, Siemens PLM Software and Stratasys. The motive behind the development of 3MF was to bridge the gap between modern additive technology and outdated file formats such as the widely used STL format. 3MF provides better functionality than preceding formats, thus allowing companies to focus more on innovation in future projects.