Staples 3D Printing
Massachusetts-based office supplier Staples will be the first multi-chain retailer to offer 3D printing. Staples customers will be able to upload their 3D designs to the company website and choose to pick up the finished product at a nearby store, or have it shipped to their home or office address.
Ireland-based Mcor Technologies will partner with Staples to supply participating locations with Iris printers. The machines create thin layers of 3D structures from a large ream of paper, which are then stacked and glued together to produce the final product. The Iris Printer’s creations can also give projects color detailing, a feature other 3D printers that use plastic materials cannot yet provide.
Though other private companies – like Shapeways in the Netherlands – provide a 3D printing service to businesses and individuals, Staples, which has more than 2,300 stores in 26 countries, is the largest mainstream retailer to adopt the new technology. The Staples Easy 3D service will debut in Belgium and the Netherlands in early 2013.