While major news agencies have been running stories about additive manufacturing (AM) for a goodly amount of time now, you can still find plenty of people who have never heard of the technology. Unless your place of work uses a 3D printer or you are a technophile (or know one), the odds of running across an AM system in the wild isn’t all that great, even with some of the retail stores that have begun popping up. That might well be about to change.
Last December, Rapid Ready ran a short piece about a new partnership between Staples and Mcor Technologies that would bring 3D printers into the stores. The first Staples Experience Center featuring the Mcor Iris opened for business on April 29 in Almere, The Netherlands. Other locations are set to follow, including American stores.
“This is historic – it’s the first time a major mainstream retailer has provided 3D printing to the public,” said Mcor Technologies co-founder and CEO Dr. Conor MacCormack. “Staples Easy 3D and the Experience Centre, both using Mcor 3D printers, is a perfect way to introduce the world to the magic of 3D printing, the beauty of true color, photorealistic models, and the sustainability of the paper-based medium. I believe that this is the first step in defining a new era in 3D printing whereby the Mcor 3D paper technology will be the solution of choice to provide affordable, full-color and eco-friendly 3D printed objects to everyone.”
The opening of these print centers is a large step forward for AM for the average consumer, but, as late night advertisements like to say, that’s not all! Staples recently announced it will begin carrying 3D Systems’ Cube at its stores come June. The Cube is already up for sale on Staples’ website for the usual price of $1,299, and Staples will also sell Cube-related accessories, including material cartridges for $49.99, and a replacement glass printing surface for $99.
This marks the first time a major retailer has put a 3D printer on the shelves. It probably isn’t a coincidence that a store that caters to businesses, as well as to individuals, is the first operation to take the plunge. The retail price of $1,299 isn’t even that steep when compared to other products offered by Staples, such as computers or office furniture.
Below you’ll find a video about the 3D Systems deal with Staples.