In a sign of things to come in home fabrication Mcor, the makers of the IRIS color 3D printing system based on plain old paper, say they’ve struck a huge deal with print services giant Staples to supply 3D printing equipment for their numerous print and copy centers.
Starting with a roll out in in Belgium and the Netherlands in the first quarter of 2013, Staples Printing Division is starting by taking the 3d printers worldwide and “will be rolled out quickly to other countries” according to Oscar Pakasi, director business development of Staples Printing Systems. Those with printable 3D models can now upload their CAD files to Staples’ web site, where it will be transformed into full color 3D objects with Mcor’s new IRIS paper-based 3D printers. Printed models will be sent to your local Staples or directly to your address. Mcor and Staple’s press release isn’t entirely clear from the announcement, but it seems the 3D printers will initially be located offsite from retail Staples print shops. But long-term intention is indeed to equip every Staples print center with this 3D printing equipment. The implications are ground shaking. It will go a very long way to opening up 3D printing for all. Staples is a massive brand with an astonishing capacity for advertising compared to any 3D printing company. Soon people will receive newspaper flyers explaining the new 3D print service. Perhaps we’ll even see discount starter promotions. In any case, many more people will know about 3D printing as a result of this deal. Will this be the “Kinko’s” model of 3D printing? Will we be able to now get replacement parts by simply having them printed with a license agreement for one time use from parts companies. This is exactly that. Except it’s not Kinko’s. It’s Staples, and yeah, they have that.