The 3D printing revolution has gone retail. Now, some makers will have the option of employing printers at local Staples stores to produce their wares.
The Staples Printing Systems Division is set to launch a new 3D printing service called “Staples Easy 3D,” online via the Staples Office Center.
The question is: does this mean Staples is now in the contract manufacturing business? The lines are increasingly blurring between manufacturers, retailers, and software publishers.
Staples’ Easy 3D will offer consumers, product designers, architects, healthcare professionals, educators, students and others photo-realistic 3D printed products from Staples stores. To do a print job, customers upload electronic files to the Staples Office Center and pick up the models in nearby Staples stores, or have them shipped to their address.
Examples of products capable of being produced at Staples include “customized parts, prototypes, art objects, architectural models, medical models and 3D maps,” says Wouter Van Dijk, president of the Staples Printing Systems Division in Europe.
Staples is partnering with Mcor Technologies to produce products on the Mcor IRIS, a commercial-class 3D printer. The service will first launch in the Netherlands and Belgium in Q1 2013, according to a statement by Mcor.