We’ve spent so much time talking about the 3MF format that we didn’t shed light on other 3D printing formats that were being developed or enhanced.

One of them is the Additive Manufacturing File, known as AMF, created by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and launched in 2011. Recognized as an official ISO standard (52915), the AMF format was developed as an alternative to STL and OBJ formats.

Supported by CAD software, this file format contains one or more objects, each of which includes data that make up the object’s shape, color, and material(s). AMF files not only hold data like author details, names, and copyrights but also encapsulate the spatial arrangement of various objects.

How does AMF stand out from the crowd?

These information about color, texture, and other non-geometrical attributes of parts are what made this AMF format stand out from the crowd – as it is not possible with STL file formats. It is also the reason why it is a bit complicated to work with it. Furthermore, the tessellated triangles in AMF files can curve and follow the model’s geometry. This makes it easy for models to be accurately represented. AMF files have the potential to store equal or more data compared to STL files, all while maintaining a smaller file size than both STL and OBJ formats.

Current state of the AMF format in the market

Software companies Avante Technology and Mind in a Box jointly developed a free source code for an AMF file converter. Called AMFSample, and now available to the public, this software enables the conversion of STL files into the ISO-compliant AMF format.

While we are waiting for more information from Avante Technology and Mind in a Box, we have to admit that there is a bit of uncertainty regarding the adoption of this new format by CAD tool companies – as most of them have largely shifted towards 3MF.

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