In a monumental move that shows 3D printing is here to stay, Staples, international office supply chain store based in the United States, announced that it was going to be piloting two 3D printer services in major stores across New York City and Los Angeles. This pilot will include on hand experts from 3D systems, who will be providing the service itself along with training associates in house for future operation. The presence of 3D Systems will allow customers to create real world products directly from digital information using materials like powders, plastics, and nylons. In addition to this, Staples will begin carrying 3D printers and accessories in the near future.
What The Pilot Project Features
3D printers have been thought of as inaccessible by the general public due to their somewhat high entry point for pricing. However, it will soon be possible to visit a Staples store and have products printed on the spot by a team of experts who are trained in the use and operation of a 3D printer. In addition to this, Staples will also be housing 3DMe Photobooths. These booths allow customers to print realistic 3D facial figurines of themselves; along with a wealth of other personalized objects. Advanced projects will also be approved in stores, but those requiring considerable amounts of time to print will be sent to 3D Systems’ headquarters for fulfilment and shipping at a later date.
Despite the public’s perception that these aren’t the most accessible devices at the present time, 3D printing is experiencing a surge in popularity that’s ranging from the smallest of businesses to high-profile corporations and government departments. The sales for 3D printing services have doubled in billions over the past few years and is expected to reach a target estimation of $4 Billion USD in 2015 before rising to just under $11 Billion USD in 2021. 3D Systems itself, the minds behind the Staples project, have also experienced considerable gains with a 155% turnover increase throughout 2013.
What Does This Mean For The Public?
The bridge between 3D printers being a more business-oriented product and the idea that they’re available for everyone is slowly closing. Being available in such a reputable, widely-known store like Staples is a huge step forward for the entire 3D printing platform at large and is expected to do quite a bit for the peripheral in terms of its perception amongst the general public. For the time being, it might seem like the device is largely unknown amongst the majority of consumers, but its skyrocketing growth is ensuring that this thought is becoming a distant process.
The accessibility of these devices is also set to change, too. During the test project, Staples will be releasing 3D printers nationwide throughout the United States and making them available alongside other electronics and peripherals available in store. The cheapest 3D printer is set to carry a price tag just under $1,300 and it will also be possible to purchase accessories and plastics alongside it; making Staples the true one stop shop for those who are new to the 3D printing world.