The familiar office supply store Staples is bringing 3D printing to customers.
For almost a year now, Staples has been onboard the 3D printing movement, supplying 3D printers to its customers. The European Staples branches have also offered 3D printing services to customers for about as long. But now, Staples is expanding the 3D printing sector even further, by offering the 3D printing experience to customers in the US as well.
On April 9, two Staples locations –one in New York and the other in Los Angeles- have begun to offer 3D printing services. If the pilot program generates enough interest, Staples plans to expand their 3D printing services and offer it in more locations.
Staples is not alone in offering 3D printing services; Shapeways allows customers to print their own designs on its machines, and 3D Systems has offered 3D printing services since 2010.
With more and more companies struggling to stay ahead of the game, introducing 3D printing is a logical move.
While the concept of 3D printing is fairly easy if you have a 3D file to work with, the process of turning an idea into a 3D file is likely to be a bit more complicated than the average Staples customer will want to tackle on their own; however, Stapes plans to begin training its graphic design consultants, so that they will be able to help customers throughout the entire process.
According to Damien Leigh, senior vice president of business services at Staples, the test stores are similar to mini Maker Faires, where people can come in, use the printers, and learn what 3D printing is all about.