It’s a big move from a Big Box store and a consumer-focused 3D printing manufacturer.

MakerBot, the desktop 3D printing industry pioneers, say that bringing 3D printers to retail stores will help accelerate the adoption of 3D printing among professionals, small business owners, entrepreneurs and educators, and they’re now selling the MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer at more than 300 Sam’s Club retail locations in the United States.

MakerBot and Sams ClubSam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is a membership-based retailer and warehouse club which serves millions of members through 647 clubs across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

MakerBot at SAMSCLUBDawn VonBechmann, the senior vice president of technology at Sam’s Club, says the major retailer’s members have shown an interest in 3D printing from a professional and small business perspective, and she adds that she expects those members with an interest in creating things will be excited to learn more about MakerBot technology.

“We strive to provide our members with access to the latest technology, at a great value. Offering the comprehensive MakerBot 3D Ecosystem is just one example of delivering on that commitment,” VonBechmann said.

Frank Alfano, the acting CEO of MakerBot, says he believes giving a wider audience the opportunity to learn about 3D printing first hand is a major step towards a better understanding of 3D printing technology among the public.

“By expanding our retail presence into Sam’s Club, we’re providing opportunities to reach professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners and show them the power of 3D printing,” Alfano says. “Offering MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D printers in retail stores exposes potential users to 3D printing technology and provides them an opportunity to understand the benefits of 3D printing today. We’ve made a conscious effort this past year to expand accessibility to MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers by working with key retailers like Sam’s Club.”

Alfano says retailers are also attracted to the company’s offerings by the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem which includes 3D printing tools such as software, apps, MakerBot Learning, lectures, classes, and parts and the support offered by the MakerCare program.

The continuously growing MakerBot 3D product line includes MakerBot 3D printers and scanner, the Thingiverse.com website and 3D printing design community, software and apps such as MakerBot Mobile and MakerBot PrintShop, MakerBot Learning training programs, MakerBot MakerCare, and a group of retail stores in New York, Boston and Greenwich, Connecticut.

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MakerBot is a subsidiary of Stratasys Ltd., and their desktop 3D printers are in used by customers worldwide including engineers, architects, designers, educators and consumers. Stratasys says the dynamic and growing market for 3D printing is typified by MakerBot’s explosive growth which features expanded sales of more than 600 percent from 2012 to 2014. MakerBot was acquired by Stratasys in 2013 for $403 million.

“MakerBot has made an effort this past year to expand accessibility to MakerBot 3D Printers by working with key retailers,” says Johan Broer of MakerBot. “We’re excited to announce today that the Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer is now available at 300 Sam’s Club retail locations across the United States. The MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer is an educational, useful and easy-to-use compact 3D printer that is just right for the office, classroom or home. MakerBot 3D printers are used for Real-Time Prototyping and for the 3D printing of customized models, replacement parts, architectural designs, collectibles and many other items.”

For a complete list of Sam’s Club locations that offer the MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer, MakerBot has provided a locator which lists those store here…

Do you think this move by MakerBot, Stratasys and Sam’s Club will help move 3D printing technology into the mainstream? Let us know in the MakerBot and Sam’s Club forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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