Staples and 3-D Systems are combining forces to make 3-D printing services accessible to the general public. Staples announced 3-D printing services in the works in at least two of its retail locations: “Staples’ stores on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, N.Y. and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California,” according to USA Today.
“Each store features an immersive 3-D printing experience center that lets consumers and small businesses create personalized products and use 3D printing hardware. Customers can also bring in their own 3-D print-ready files to have them printed,” The Wall Street Journal explains. The most popular feature in the New York City store is one that allows consumers to print an action figure with their own facial features.
Staples senior vice president of business services, Damien Leigh, predicts the service will be most popular among entrepreneurs and small business owners. “The pilot project has resulted in interest from jewelers, medical professionals, product designers, architects, and even from people involved in aerospace technologies,” Chris DeMeo, Staples director of business, adds.
3-D printing will supplement Staples’ successful printing, scanning, and photocopying services. “The concept is a logical extension of a non-revolutionary but lucrative part of Staples’s existing business, the one where an employee runs off a bunch of flyers or pamphlets for a customer,” Businessweek writes. “For the past two years, the company has increased its revenue from copying and printing.” The retailer currently sells 3-D printers as well. The least expensive model, The Cube 3-D Printer from 3-D Systems, retails at $1,299.99.
“Once the price comes down and the service is more widely available, I expect 3-D printing will become more popular,” says Lauren Craig, VP Marketing at Integware.”