April 11, 2014

Photograph by Evan Agostini/Invision for Staples/AP Photo

Staples has launched an in-store 3D printing service in New York and Los Angeles on Thursday. Customers can walk in, play with the printers, and have Staples print out objects on-site or on-demand.

This is Staples' pilot program and if it works out, Staples may then expand the 3D printing services to other stores across the nation.

Staples has already been offering 3D printing services in Europe for about a year. It launched 'Staples Easy 3D' in the Netherlands and Belgium in the first quarter of 2013. Staples Easy 3D allowed customers to upload their designs to Staples' website, then pick up the printed objects at their local office supply megastore, or have them shipped to their home or business.

Staples' launch party on Thursday focused on the fun side of 3D printing. It offered 3D printed action figures and personalized Starfleet officers to walk-in customers. But Staples hope the pilot could attract more small businesses.

"Customers can interact with the technology and begin to understand it," says Damien Leigh, senior vice president of business services for Staples, at a panel discussion today at the company's Fifth Avenue store in New York City. "We can get them through the learning curve. 3-D can revolutionize [small] businesses, but they don't understand it yet."

Stores won't be the first businesses to offer 3D printing services. UPS currently offers 3D printing services at six of its locations across the U.S.. On April 2 German retailer Media Markt opened an instore 3D printing shop in its Arnhem store in the Netherlands. The Media Markt store features 10 3D printers and customers can print their design for a price starting from € 0.99.

Staples' New York location has seven printers including Cube and Cube X 3D printers from 3D Systems. Customers can make objects using six different materials. Staples employees will help interested customers bring their designs to life, and the company is training some of its graphic design consultants to work with the technology. For those who need to work with larger job, Staples will outsource the printing to 3D Systems.

Staples says it is still "prototyping" its pricing and business model. They see the test stores as mini Maker Faires, where people can come in and learn to understand what 3D printing is all about. The most popular feature is currently still a photo booth at its New York store that turns everyone into a customized action figure.


Source: Bloomberg


Posted in 3D Printing Services

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Tim wrote at 4/14/2014 10:38:30 PM:

Has anyone actually been there in person yet? How is customer service? Is price and time reasonable or even feasible? How do they handle IP issues, if at all? What materials/colors do they have on hand? Anyone ask what most common themes or types of non-store provided items are printed?

jd90 wrote at 4/11/2014 9:06:08 PM:

Oh, good. Cube and CubeX machines on display, and either running terribly or broken, will hopefully teach people not to buy them.

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