Windows 8.1 Makes 3D Printers as Easy to Use as Inkjets

Remember the days when you had to go monkeying around with printer driver software just to get your new inkjet to output in color? Over the years, Windows has made it so easy to use a a printer that you usually don’t even have to touch the settings or insert an install disc to get things running. With Windows 8.1, Microsoft promises to make 3D printing just as easy as outputting images or text on paper.

At its Build conference keynote, Microsoft showed off Windows 8.1‘s new built-in 3D printer support by creating a virtual version of a plastic vase and then starting to print it on a MakerBot Replicator 2. This device costs a fairly steep $2,199, but it looks like Windows 8 will be ready to pounce as this trend spreads to the masses.

MORE: Windows 8.1 Preview Tested

Because the printing process takes a long time, Microsoft simply showed a time-lapsed video of an object printing here at Build, rather than actually creating it on stage. However, we were able to see that, from the Windows 8.1 3D modeling program, it was just as easy for a Microsoft rep to click print as it is for us to start printing in Microsoft Word.

Microsoft also announced that is going to start carrying the MakerBot Replicator 2 in its stores. Add that to Staples’ recent decision to stock another brand of 3D printer and 2013 could be the year that this emerging technology goes mainstream.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch on
Facebook Twitter Google+
Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options