Many 3D printing industry analysts have thought that the best way to offer 3D printing to everyone would be in some form of a Kinko’s like format, where you send in a CAD drawing and have Kinko’s or someone print it for you. Instead of Kinko’s, however, it looks like Staples will be the first to offer such a service. Mcor Technologies Ltd announced at Euromold that it now has a deal with Staples Printing Systems Division to launch a new 3D printing service called “Staples Easy 3D” online via the Staples Office Centre.
According to the press release, Staples’ Easy 3D will offer consumers, product designers, architects, healthcare professionals, educators, students and others low-cost, color, photo-realistic 3D printed products from Staples stores. Customers will simply upload electronic files to the Staples Office Centre and pick up the models in their nearby Staples stores, or have them shipped to their address. Staples will produce the models with the Mcor IRIS, a 3D printer with the highest colour capability in the industry and lowest operating cost of any commercial-class 3D printer.
“Given our market leadership in commercial print, why would we ever stop at two dimensions?” said President Wouter Van Dijk, president of the Staples Printing Systems Division in Europe. “Custom parts, prototypes, art objects, architectural models, medical models and 3D maps are items customers need today, in a more affordable and more accessible manner. Mcor will help us to keep prices low, quality high and colour brilliant as we meet the demand.”
Although many think every home will eventually have a 3D printer, it will take a while for this scenario to happen. “Until that time, consumers will look to service bureaus,” said Mcor Technologies co-founder and CEO Dr. Conor MacCormack. “Staples is uniquely positioned to become a pre-eminent service bureau to the world, and we will help them deliver highest quality and value. Staples Easy 3D is a breakthrough service in innovation and access for consumers and businesses alike.”
The online platform for Staples Easy 3D will initially be made available in the Netherlands and Belgium in Q1 2013 and will be rolled out quickly to other countries, according to Oscar Pakasi, director business development of Staples Printing Systems, who is responsible for developing the concept and the design of the Staples Easy 3D print service platform.
Now, let’s see who’s next to make a deal with either Staples, Kinko’s or another potential service provider.