Microsoft 3D Builder
Microsoft are putting a lot of eggs into the 3D printing basket; they started by releasing developer codes for the use of the Kinect as a 3D scanner, then they announced Windows 8.1 would have a native 3D printing support, following that up quickly with an in store MakerBot partnership. Now they’ve released an app to make 3D printing even easier, 3D Builder.
The free app is aimed at newcomers to 3D printing and is a way to customise pre-set or imported designs. The modifications abilities are relatively limited but this does serve as a foolproof entry to 3D printing for anybody looking to use their printer for the first time. Particularly those interested in toy trains it appears.
3D Builder is currently only available for devices with the Windows 8.1 operating system as it is designed to be used with the aforementioned native 3D printing support on Windows 8.1. The app is essentially a library of STL files that are easily manipulated within the software; it is not a complex CAD software package.
Interestingly this app could serve as a replacement for the many different types of 3D printer software on the market. However from using several of these home-based 3D printers we know that they all have individual nuances that can affect a print, such as heating the bed before a print, removing excess filament from the print head, printing rafts etc. Though we're aware the native support discovers some of these functions it is unlikely to cover them all.
This all being said this is a great and easy visualisation for showing newcomers the technology with a variety of objects that will undoubtedly print.