More than two years ago, office supply giant Staples became the first major retailer to carry 3D printers, offering them in their US stores since May 2013. They’ve expanded their participation, announcing in April 2014 the availability of their in-store 3D printing services in New York and LA, and then in November becoming MakerBot’s exclusive in-store provider of 3D printing hardware. The company has just announced their latest venture into the 3D printing space, this time joining forces with popular 3D printing service Sculpteo in the creation of a new online 3D printing platform.
The 3D Printing Cloud Engine is due to go live next week, allowing for immediate access and use.
“We are thrilled to support Staples through our 3D Printing Cloud Engine. This is an exciting time for 3D Printing in Retail. Staples will become an entry point for both businesses and the general public to benefit of 3D printing, and we are proud that Sculpteo’s technology will help to make that possible,” noted Sculpteo’s CEO and co-founder, Clément Moreau of the collaboration.
While 3D printing services have already been offered through both retail locations and Copy & Print sales teams, Staples’ new platform widens the access to customers looking for fast turnarounds for custom designs and product prototypes.
“This is a great addition for our business customers that are looking for an easy way to prototype with quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price,” said Behzad Soltani, Staples’ Vice President of Services, E-Commerce. “The platform allows beginners to get a taste and try 3D printing by selecting one of our existing models and making it their own through our customization options.”
Through the 3D Printing Cloud Engine, users are able to create custom designs, going “from idea to finished product” with the streamlined service. After submitting their own 3D files to the site, or selecting a model from a curated collection, users are able to customize their designs. Among the options available for customization are the addition of text, images, or figures to an object, as well as a broad range of color and material options. The service will allow for the choice of 40+ material options. Before sending the design off to print, users are able to preview the object using an interactive 3D viewer, to be sure it looks just right from any angle.
Users wishing to upload their own files are able to use any of 26 accepted formats. The platform is immediately reassuring of quality, noting that “We will automatically repair any issues and provide and instant online quote!” For users, on the other hand, who would prefer to select from an available gallery of designs, Staples offers more than 100 choices so far created by professional designs, all of which can be customized to order. Once any design is tweaked, customized, and previewed to the user’s satisfaction, it can be shipped straight to their doorstep.
With big names supporting this platform, it certainly looks like 3D printing is taking another major stride toward the mainstream. Staples’ growing participation in the 3D printing space demonstrates the widening adoption of the technology among a range of users served by the retail giant. With Sculpteo’s services, the platform certainly sounds intriguing. We look forward to its launch during the week of September 14th.
Let us know your thoughts on this new 3D printing partnership in the Staples/Sculpteo Forum Thread on 3DPB.com