We all knew it was bound to happen. Staples for the last year has been selling 3D printers within many of their stores here in the United States, but today they have begun offering 3D printing services within two of there U.S. locations; one in New York City, and the other in Los Angeles. This is not a first for Staples, who last year introduced 3D printing services at stores located in Europe.
Anyone can stroll into these two locations and print out an almost infinite number of items, of course for a fee. Staples hasn’t announced the exact pricing model that they will be using, but the pricing will range from a few bucks to potentially thousands of dollars for larger, more complicated items. Most of the items will be printed in the stores. However some of the bigger items will be done in partnership with 3D Systems, who will ship the printed products once complete. The decision to go with just two store locations, in two very high trafficked areas is part of a pilot program, that if it takes off, could expand to numerous other stores around the nation.
Although the pilot program only features two stores, Staples certainly isn’t fooling around here. The New York location has seven large 3D printers alone, capable of printing in six different materials. In addition, they will begin hiring graphic designers who will be on hand at the stores to help customers along the way. Staples hopes that such a program can eventually scale out and become a major source of revenue just like their print and copy business they offer at nearly all their locations.
This move comes as 3D printing is quickly entering the mainstream. The UPS store, as well as other specialized services, are already offering on demand 3D printing services to consumers and small businesses.