When Microsoft took the wraps off Windows 8.1 at its BUILD developer conference today, it revealed an interesting detail: the update will include native support for 3D printing.

The company touted the ability as “just as seamless and easy as printing to a laser printer”, showing off the integration with a MakerBot Replicator printer that will eventually be sold in Microsoft Stores. Additional partners include 3D Systems, Afinia, AutoDesk and Netfabb.

Screen Shot 2013 06 26 at 10.11.35 AM 730x409 Microsoft adds native 3D printing support with Windows 8.1

As GeekWire explains, Microsoft has developed drivers for Windows 8.1 that will include 3D printing in the print dialogue. Rather than having to export files and use the printer’s custom software, users will be able to print directly from third-party applications.

You can go hands-on with the Windows 8.1 Preview today by following these directions.

TNW’s Alex Wilhelm took an early look at the operating system and found it to be a “worthy and welcome upgrade”, though an imperfect one.

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