What is the 3MF Consortium
The 3MF Consortium is an industry association formed to develop and promote a new full-fidelity file format for 3D printing/additive manufacturing, known as the 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF). This consortium came together to rectify the limitations of the existing file formats used in 3D printing, providing a standardized, more capable format that could handle the full range of additive manufacturing technologies from prototyping to production.
What is .3mf ?
The 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) is a file format designed to allow design applications to send full-fidelity 3D models for additive manufacturing to other applications, platforms, services, and additive manufacturing hardware. The primary goal behind the creation of the 3MF file format is to establish a new standard for additive manufacturing which addresses the shortcomings and complexities of existing file formats, thereby making the various processes reliable, repeatable and scaleable through prototyping to production.
Learn more about the .3mf file format.
Why Use .3mf
The 3MF file format in additive manufacturing streamlines the transition from design to production by encapsulating comprehensive model data within a single, standardized file. The compact file ensures watertight models and a defined unit of scale, which are crucial for precise manufacturing. 3MF also encapsulates vital manufacturing metadata, enhancing the communication of design intent and other specifications. This amalgamation of features ensures a reliable, repeatable, and scalable process, making it an advantageous choice across professional and industrial realms.
More Than Just a Mesh
The 3MF file format extends the basic mesh representation common in other 3D file formats by embracing a suite of extensions that cater to various aspects of the additive manufacturing process. These extensions include the Materials and Properties Extension for defining material compositions, the Production Extension for high-volume and production-oriented workflows, Beam Lattice Extension for lightweight lattice structure definitions, the Slice Extension for slice-based data representation, the Secure Content Extension for protecting intellectual property, and the Volumetric Extension (Pre-release) for voxel, and/or implicit (Signed Distance Function) representations of any volumetric data.
These extensions enrich the 3MF format, making it a more comprehensive and adaptable standard for capturing intricate design and manufacturing details beyond just geometric mesh data.
How to Use .3mf
The .3mf file format is now a standard export option for geometry and additive manufacturing metadata from all professional level and industrial additive manufacturing software. For an up to date list of software that imports and exports the .3mf file format, refer to the 3MF Compatibility Matrix.
If your software does not currently support .3mf, contact us with the details and we will work with your software provider to make the open source file format available to you in the near future.
About the 3MF Steering Committee
The steering committee of the 3MF Consortium guides the development, adoption and promotion of the 3MF file format for additive manufacturing. Steering members are made up of representatives of the major software and hardware companies in the design and additive manufacturing space led by a team of experts with decades of experience in software development and advanced manufacturing.