When it was announced nearly a month ago that Microsoft Windows 8.1 would natively support 3D printing similar to that of printing directly to a paper printer, the news was greeted with open arms in the maker and tech communities. With the release of Windows 8.1, a user will be able to plug their 3D printer into their computer and set it up just as easily as a 2D printer without the need for external print software. Today Microsoft released a video that gives us a little more insight into what the print dialogue looks like, how they plan on working with 3D printer manufacturers, and why Microsoft chose to offer this now.

“Our vision is to make 3D printing as easy as it is to print a Word Doc.”

Nearly 20 years ago, desktop publishing was still a cumbersome experience for most. With big, bulky printers and complicated internal components, the average ‘mainstream’ user had much more trouble back then than they do with today’s easy plug n’ go printers. This isn’t to say that it’s taken over two decades for desktop publishing to be easy to use, but when comparing the user experience then and now, it’s easy to see just how far we’ve come:

“Enabling people to print through Windows software is a precursor to where 3d printing is going to go and how its going to grow like desktop publishing did 20 years ago.”
-Mike Kemery, co-founder of MakerHaus

YouTube video

(Images via Microsoft/YouTube)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.