ROBO 3D was founded in 2012 by a group of San Diego State University students who sought to create a cheap, open source, and user-friendly “plug and print” 3D printer. Looking back, it has been quite the successful ride for these student makers as they have witnessed this dream come true in the last four years. The project began as so many 3D printing related projects do: as a Kickstarter campaign. 1,251 pledges to this campaign provided ROBO 3D with about $650K in start up funds toward its goals back in early 2013. Initially funded by Tony Grist’s Albion 3D Investment, ROBO 3D has just announced that it will launch its R1+ 3D printer into 45 Staples stores: this follows an October 2015 launch of the printer into 50 Best Buy electronic retail stores.
While Best Buy is the largest electronics retailer in the US, Staples isn’t far behind it as one of the largest office supply chain stores in the world — and has certainly shown a big interest in getting involved in 3D printing services and offerings. Staples has more than 2,000 stores (with North American locations reaching past the 1,600 mark) located in 26 countries, and generating a whopping revenue of $20 billion in 2015. To mark this significant occasion of seeing its R1+ 3D printer carried in yet another popular chain store, ROBO 3D has collaborated with Staples to create an interactive aisle display showcasing the printer, printer kits, and available filament.
“What makes ROBO 3D unique and what has attracted consumers is the quality of our products, the price-point and feature set of our machines, and our ability to bring an entirely new 3D experience to consumers with specialty materials, 3d printable content for sale, and do-it-yourself kits with hardware that use 3D printing in the process. We are bringing the excitement of 3D printing to mass consumers by actually showing them the many possibilities for creating.”
The news of this new ROBO 3D and Staples collaboration comes on the heels of some excellent financial news from fiscal year 2015. On December 3, 2015, Falcon Minerals Limited (soon to be listed as i3D Technologies Limited) acquired 100% of Albion 3D’s share capital in ROBO 3D, giving Falcon a 51% shareholder stake in ROBO 3D — which is subject to shareholder approval and re-compliance of ASX Listing Rules. The same year, ROBO 3D reports $3.4 million in sales, which is a 100% increase from 2014.
If you attended the International CES 2016, you may have seen ROBO 3D there with new displays and campaigns we covered here earlier, such as its inclusion of an e-NABLE prosthetic limb 3D print kit with every ROBO 3D printer purchase, as well as scented filaments (blueberry, grape, apple and strawberry). Most exciting is the unveiling of the R2 and R2 Mini — new 3D printers on the horizon from the company. It will also make available the ‘connector enhancement’ device: ROBO-Mobile.
Clearly, we’ll be seeing much more from ROBO 3D as it expands its product line and begins distribution in more retail stores, with the latest example being 45 Staples stores across the US. Discuss in the ROBO 3D forum over at 3DPB.com.