The 3D printing revolution is already well under way, and Microsoft is adding fuel to the fire. Windows 8.1 is going to ship with a number of features designed to deliver a seamless, hassle-free 3D print experience to its users.It’s a very progressive (and proactive) move by Microsoft. 3D printing hasn’t quite gone mainstream, after all. The hardware — although much more affordable now than in years past — is still expensive by most peoples’ standards. There are also some very valid questions people struggle to answer, like “what exactly would I do with a 3D printer?”Still, with prices falling and things like the downloadable Pirate Bay ship and printable gun (for better or worse) generating interest, what better time to make sure Windows is ready to play nice with 3D printers when consumers do start bringing them home en masse?Microsoft may also have been thinking about the needs of its businesses customers here. It was, after all, Microsoft’s General Manager of the Startup Business Group Shanen Boettcher who penned the official blog post.3D printers have made rapid prototyping an in-house phenomenon, greatly reducing the amount of time it takes to go from a concept to a marketable product in many cases. Microsoft itself utilized Stratasys Objet printers to develop the Xbox One’s new controller.Product development and 3D printing will become inextricably intertwined, and the technology’s tendrils will spread elsewhere in the corporate world, too. Who knows, maybe one day soon you’ll be able to print out new parts based on HP’s own specs to replace the stripped gears in your aging LaserJet instead of overpaying for replacements.