win81While there has been much talk about what will and won’t appear in Windows 8.1, Microsoft has surprised everyone by announcing the operating system update will include native support for 3D printing.

According to geekwire, the software giant will incorporate native support into the operating system, allowing users to print directly to a 3D printer from any capable app.

The move will enable users to have a much smoother, more consistent approach to 3D printing direct from an application and the company is reportedly working with major 3D printer brands including Makerbot and Netfabb.

The standardised driver model will also include API (application programming interface) features to allow developers to incorporate 3D printing features into their software.

The news comes after industrial 3D printer manufacturer, Stratasys announced a week ago it was purchasing consumer 3D printer maker, Makerbot, in a deal said to be worth $US400million.

As 3D printer prices begin to fall to almost inkjet-printer levels, demand for 3D printing is expected to skyrocket as consumers learn how to make their own 3D objects.

Microsoft itself is planning to jump on the bandwagon, announcing it will begin selling Makerbot 3D printers in its Microsoft stores in the US.

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