It seems as though it was just a little over a year ago, that we began discussing how long it would take before we would see desktop 3D printers become available in retail stores. Over the past year alone, we’ve already seen significant progress made as 3D printers from various manufactures have been inching their way onto the shelves of retail locations all around the world.
Today some rather impressive news has emerged from 3D printing giant 3D Systems, and the world’s most recognized name in retail electronics, Best Buy. The 3D Systems’ Cube 3D Printer and Sense 3D Scanner are now available to purchase in 100 Best Buy retail locations within the United States, as well as online at BestBuy.com.
“We want to make it possible for anyone to experience 3D printing and scanning,” explained Peter Theran, Vice President, Global Consumer Products, of 3D Systems. “By bringing 3D printing to retail stores, we can grow our audience and give consumers an opportunity to interact with 3D printing technology that they otherwise may not have.”
The introduction of these 3D technologies into Best Buy retail locations doesn’t end at just a box sitting on a shelf. Instead, there will be in-store displays showcasing the machines in action. Users will be provided with demonstrations of the products, with technicians on hand providing answers to difficult questions.
The 3rd generation Cube 3D Printer is available for just $999, and features a 70-micron resolution as well as the ability to 3D print multiple materials. The Sense scanner allows for users to take full color 3D scans which can then be transformed into unbelievable 3D printed replicas.
It should be interesting to see if this partnership helps 3D Systems’ bottom line, and if perhaps shareholders will see this as a positive move for a company whose stock has been struggling as of late. Will this be the start of a larger nationwide expansion on behalf of Best Buy? Will we see all of their retail stores begin carrying 3D printers and scanners soon? More than likely it will all depend on how well these 100 stores do at marketing and selling the 3D Systems’ merchandise before any decision is ultimately made.
Without a doubt, 3D printing has become a technology that can be used for more than just prototyping parts. More and more artists, hobbyists and designers are turning to the technology for creating products that previously were not affordably possible to make. This is just one more step by 3D Systems and Best Buy to get 3D printers into the hands of the masses.
What do you think about this partnership? Will this help 3D Systems generate more interest in their desktop line of 3D printers and scanners? Discuss in the 3D Systems / Best Buy forum thread on 3DPB.com.