3D Printers Hit US Staples Stores
When we wrote about 3D printing stations coming to Staples stores in Europe last year, everyone expected the company's next major announcement to be that the same “Easy 3D” printing service would be coming to the US. But they would be wrong.
Instead, the office supply chain has announced that entire 3D printers themselves will now be for sale in U.S. stores, making it the first major American retailer to sell a consumer-grade 3D printer.
It's called the Cube 3D Printer, and it's already available on the company's website for $1299.99, and is slated to be in stores by the end of June. The Cube is a product of 3D Systems, and has been designed for out-of-the-box use with either Windows or Mac.
The Cube has already been sold on 3D Systems' website, as well as through Amazon and Skymall, so this is by no means its debut. But as the printers roll into brick-and-mortar stores next month it will be the first time that hobbyists throughout the country can walk into a local store to buy one.
Its competitors, MakerBot and Ultimaker have so far been limited to a few pop-up retail locations, primarily in Manhattan.
MakerBot is best known for its $2,800 “Replicator 2x” 3D printer which was unveiled at CES in January. Since then crowdfunding site Kickstarer has seen a slew of potential rivals: Printrbot, TangiBot, Ultra-Bot, RigidBot, Gigabot and Bukobot.
While there is a growing “maker” community that will likely jump at the opportunity to buy such a machine, there are sample templates for buyers without a particular design in mind. And after they go through the 25 free samples that come with the Cube, 3D Systems' “Cubify” community is there to supply its customers with even more templates.
The results can only be five-and-a-half inches tall, and can be made with either ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PLA (polylactic acid) plastic feedstock, which is heated and deposited in slices to eventually build up a three-dimensional object.
Staples will sell the plastic printing cartridges along with a few other accessories and replacement parts in stores as well.