Is Shapeways in trouble? What will happen to Sculpteo?
A retail giant in in the 3D Printing game. And it looks like Staples in being poised to dominate the industry. Not only is Staples selling 3D Printers, but now it is also offering 3D Printing services. This will be a “click and brick deal” where clients can get these services online, or they can walk right into their local retailer. A new service called “Staples Easy 3D” will allow customers to upload their designs to Staples’ website, then pick up the printed objects at their local office supply megastore, or have them shipped to their home or business — not unlike the photo- and document-printing service the company already offers.
The Iris printers employ an innovative method to generate objects, using reams of paper that are cut and printed while being stacked and glued together. This technique allows for a high-resolution layer thickness of 100 microns, similar to that of the MakerBot Replicator 2, but not quite as fine as the 25-micron capability of the Form 1.The Iris printer is made by Mcor. Wow. Mcor managed to fight stiff competition in getting this retail deal.
The new printers also incorporate the ability to add photorealistic coloring — something that more common plastic printers can’t yet achieve. But while the glued paper is said to have a wood-like hardness, the arrangement of the layered paper grain will require special consideration for certain design layouts (this can affect other types of 3-D printers as well). And while the company says it is able to be drilled, tapped or screwed, its material properties are unknown compared to traditional materials like real wood or steel.Still, the move by an established corporation to offer 3D printing further legitimizes the adoption of the rapidly growing field by the mass market. Similar services currently exist, being offered by companies like Shapeways and Sculpteo, but this is the first to be made available from a chain retailer.