Sep 10, 2015 | By Kira

The world of 3D printing has grown exponentially over the past few years, however one of its greatest challenges has been breaking into the mainstream; for the majority of consumers, it is still considered a niche and somewhat inaccessible technology reserved for engineering experts or passionate hobbyists. Today, office supply chain store Staples has announced a new online 3D printing platform that will allow small business and individual consumers to upload their own 3D designs or to choose from a pre-determined selection of 3D models. The platform, which is scheduled to launch the week of September 14th, is a major step towards bringing 3D printing technology to the general public.

The innovative platform, powered by Sculpteo, will let users submit their own 3D files and then customize the design by choosing from a wide selection of colours, text, images and over 40 types of materials. An interactive 3D viewer will then allow them to preview their creation before its even printed. So far, it sounds like an intuitive and easy-to-use system that will be a boon for small businesses and individuals that are either new to 3D printing and curious to give it a try, or familiar with the technology but do not have the resources to do it themselves. 

“This is a great addition to our business customers that are looking for an easy way tot prototype with quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price,” said Behzad Soltani, vice president of services, e-commerce for Staples, Inc. in today’s press release. “The platform allows beginners to get a taste and try 3D printing by selecting one of our existing models and making it their own through our customization options.”

Based out of Framingham, Massachusetts, Staples owns retail stores around the world, including in Australia, China, Norway, India, France, Finland and the UK and is no stranger to the 3D printing industry. Back in 2013, it became the first major U.S. retailer to carry 3D printers, and has since introduced 3D printing hardware and accessories to some locations. In select New York and Los Angeles stores, they even offer in-store 3D printing services. It seems as though being an early adopter has paid off, since this exclusive new platform is sure to open up the doors for an untapped consumer demographic. 

Sculpteo, which offers on-demand 3D printing for individual products and short-run manufacturing through its online service, is powering the entire platform. “We are thrilled to support Staples through our 3D printing Cloud Engine. This is an exciting tie for 3D printing in retail,” said Clément Moreau, CEO & Founder. “Staples will become an entry point for both businesses and the general public to benefit of 3D printing, and we are proud that Sculpteo’s technology will help to make that possible.”

We are entering interesting times indeed for the 3D printing industry, which is still misunderstood or unfamiliar to too many small business and general consumers. As a globally recognized brand, Staples is lending a certain amount of creditability to the niche technology by launching this platform. While we have yet to see how functional it will actually be, it is nevertheless an exciting development and proof that 3D printing technology has yet to reach its peak.



Posted in 3D Printing Services



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