I was listening to CNBC this morning and perennial blowhard Jim Cramer mentioned that Staples is now selling Cube 3D printers from 3D Systems (DDD). I hadn’t heard this and thought he was mistakenly meaning to say something about their Easy3D venture, which will open up 3D printing services in their stores, beginning in Begium and The Netherlands or their recent announcement of their first “Experience Centre” that just opened at the Staples Office Centre in Almere, The Netherlands. Both of these projects are using the MCOR full-color 3D printer, which makes sense, since the input to the MCOR is not filament, but letter-sized sheets of paper.
So I searched the news and sure enough, Cramer had it right. Staples today has announced that they, in fact, are now selling — as in immediately, I checked Staples.com — Cube 3D printers on their website. And that’s not all — by the end of June, the Cube will be selling in selected Staples retail stores as well.
Welcome to the new world of 3D printers alongside 2D printers at your neighborhood office supply store. What do all the critics of 3D printers going mainstream have to say now?
The always exuberant Avi Reichental, 3D Systems’ President and Chief Executive Officer, had this to say: “We are absolutely thrilled that a leader and innovator of the caliber of Staples is making it easy to get our award winning Cube 3D Printer family on-line and in their stores. Staples is the ideal partner to deliver the only true plug and play 3D Printer to offices, living rooms, classrooms and hobby shops, extending our reach and consumer access.”
Staples will sell the Cube for $1,299. No word in the press release, and no presence on their website indicates, at least as of this time, they will not be selling the more powerful big brother, the CubeX. If you are new to 3D printers, you can learn more about the Cube here and the $3,249 CubeX here.
You can certainly get faster, bigger build area, higher resolution and more flexible 3D printers for the money. But you won’t find one as consumer-friendly as The Cube. It’s about as plug-and-play as you’ll find today. Which of course makes this a perfect 3D printer for Staples to begin with. I’ve heard people coming in to Staples for tech support on computers and 2D printers, customers struggling with the basics — I can only imagine tech support trying to deal with all the very technical issues that can come up with 3D printers. The selection of the Cube will tax tech support much less than would other vendors’ models.
Between today’s big move and their Easy 3D program and 3D Printing Experience Centers, Staples is positioning themselves to make 3D printing, either by service or by product sale, available to people anywhere.
It’s a historic day for 3D printers. I can’t wait to see what comes next in the move to put 3D printers into peoples’ homes. I know the critics will still say, it won’t happen, but they are shortsighted, looking at today technology. Things change. Fast.