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New Volumetric Design extension will accelerate prototyping for manufacturers and increase opportunities for designers

SAN FRANCISCO, November 17, 2021 — The 3MF Consortium, the organization dedicated to advancing a universal specification for 3D printing, today announced its new Volumetric Design extension, which addresses the design of an object’s form and enables designers to add new types of elements to their designs and manufacturers to prototype faster and save costs. It’s currently available in 0.5, and today the Consortium is opening a call for public feedback to the specification before it reaches 1.0.

Volumetric Design provides an efficient approach to encode geometrical shapes and spatial properties that are based on a volume-based description. Whereas traditional and explicit modelling uses boundaries (e.g. NURBS, triangular meshes) to describe surfaces or bodies, volumetric modeling relies on a mathematical, field-based description of the whole volume of the object. The advantage of volumetric modeling is that it illustrates for the designer or manufacturer when properties of an object vary in space – such as with color and transparency gradients, objects inside other objects, color or material-distribution and composition of an object variation. With the 3MF Volumetric Extension, all of this can be communicated from the designer to various software applications and finally to the 3D printer.

“As the popularity of 3D printing continues to grow, Volumetric Design allows both designers and manufacturers to represent spatially diverse properties. This enables Additive Manufacturing technologies to live up to their full potential and truly revolutionize the way products are designed and made,” said Alex Oster, chairman of the 3MF technical working group and director of additive manufacturing at Autodesk.

To review the specification and extension and to contribute, please visit: The 3MF specification is robust and includes seven extensions that range from core and production to slice, material and property (including color), beam lattice, security and now the pre-release of the Volumetric Design extension for public feedback.

The 3MF Consortium today is also announcing increasing adoption of its specification, evidenced by growing membership and number of products using 3MF. New members include Hexagon, Prusa, TechSoft3D and Vistory, who join 3D Systems, Autodesk, GE, HP, Materialise, Microsoft, nTopology, Stratasys, Siemens and others, totalling 20 member companies. 3MF has now been implemented in nearly 50 products across 38 companies.

“3MF is a great step towards enriching an otherwise unstructured geometry data exchange format for AM. We see the adoption of 3MF accelerating, and this is due in no small part to the ongoing development of specifications to meet new use cases. Volumetric Design is a perfect example of that,” said Mathieu Pérennou, Global Business Development Director Additive Manufacturing at Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. “3MF is enabling evolution and innovation in 3D printing and only open standards and collaboration make that possible. We are thrilled to begin contributing to the specification and its extensions together with other leaders in the additive manufacturing industry.”

For the detailed specifications for all extensions, please visit the 3MF Consortium github repository:

To provide feedback on the Volumetric Extension, please visit or contact us at

About the 3MF Consortium

The 3MF Consortium is comprised of leading AM hardware and software companies driving the Industry 4.0 revolution. The consortium releases and maintains the 3MF specifications that allow design applications to send full-fidelity 3D models to a mix of other applications, platforms, services, and printers. For more information, please visit:

About the Joint Development Foundation

Launched in 2015, the Joint Development Foundation (the Joint Development Foundation) is an independent non-profit organization that provides the corporate and legal infrastructure to enable groups to quickly establish and operate standards and source code development collaborations. More information about the Joint Development Foundation is available at

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users, and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit

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Media Contact

Jennifer Cloer

for 3MF Consortium