It's catching on fast! Just days after PostNet, a business services retail center that offers copying, printing, packing and shipping, announced that its Minneapolis franchisee, Dave Thorson, has installed 3D printing services in that center, 3D Systems (3DS) announced a partnership with Staples Inc. in a pilot of 3D printing services in two Staples stores in New York City and Los Angeles.
Each Staples store features an immersive 3D printing experience center that lets consumers and small businesses create personalized products and use 3D printing hardware. Customers can also bring in their own 3D print-ready files to have them printed.
"3D printing offers enormous potential for small businesses, and by using Staples, they can print with the technology without having to invest in it," said Damien Leigh, senior VP of business services for Staples. "The test with 3D Systems will help us learn about our customers' needs for local 3D printing service, and how Staples can help them make more happen for their business through 3D printing."
Rajeev Kulkarni, VP and general manager of its consumer products division for 3DS, said "Staples' established reputation as a leader in home office and small business solutions makes them an ideal partner for testing out live, consumer-facing 3D print services. We have been thrilled with the retail experience and response from our audience, and the difference it makes being able to see, touch and experience 3D printing."
With the new experience centers, both small businesses and consumers are able to learn about 3D printing through demonstration areas where they can use design software and see 3D systems printers in action, said 3DS. Each store will have a 3DMe Photobooth from 3D Systems to capture customers' facial images for the purpose of personalizing 3D products like figurines, and customers can also print personalized smartphone cases.
Additionally, each store has an expert from 3D Systems on-site, along with trained copy & print associates from Staples to help guide customers on their 3D printing journey. The items will be printed on site or through 3D Systems and shipped directly to their offices or home.
Staples previously announced in May of 2013 that it would be the first major U.S. retailer to carry 3D printers, with the launch of the Cube from 3D Systems on Staples.com. The company has since rolled out 3D printing hardware and accessories in a limited number of stores, and expanded its overall product selection.