(Phys.org)—Given the curiosity and novelty factors, if not utility, of 3-D printers. was it not just a matter of time? A speeded-up trend is in the works of getting 3-D printing into the hands of all consumers, from agency creatives to industrial product designers, to architects, to health professionals, to students, to gift-givers with a sense of flair and humor. 3-D printing is coming to Staples. A partnership between Staples Printing Systems Division and Mcor Technologies has resulted in the launch of a 3-D printing service, "Staples Easy 3D."
This is an online service via the Staples Office Centre where customers will upload their designs as electronic files to Staples' website, and can then pick up the printed objects at their local office supply store, or can have the objects shipped to their address. Staples will use the Mcor IRIS 3-D printer.
The announcement was made on November 29 at EuroMold 2012 in Frankfurt, a gathering of designers, developers, producers, suppliers and end users, who were viewing the latest in industrial 3-D printers and additive manufacturing devices. EuroMold is billed as "the world's leading fair" for moldmaking and tooling, design and application development.
The Staples service will start with stores in the Netherlands and Belgium in early 2013. President Wouter Van Dijk, president of the Staples Printing Systems Division in Europe, said "Customized parts, prototypes, art objects, architectural models, medical models and 3-D maps are items customers need today, in a more affordable and more accessible manner. Mcor will help us to keep prices low, quality high and color brilliant as we meet the demand."
Those outside the two companies recognize the move as one to further seed 3-D printing as a service for the mass market. As bloggers have pointed out, Staples is not the first to offer such services but represents the first move toward making 3-D printing available from a chain retailer.
The Mcor IRIS printer is designed for full-color prints and the company promotes its IRIS line as an affordable 3-D result that has very realistic coloring. The company says its Mcor Matrix and IRIS models are the only 3-D printers that can create physical 3-D models from paper (standard Letter/A4 sheets) whether fresh or used. With pages cut and bound together, the model is tough and durable, added Mcor. The models are waterproof, and they are disposable in recycling bins.
Mcor started business in 2004 with a team specializing in 3-D printing, software and CAD/CAM. Mcor has offices in Ireland, the UK and America.
After Staples Easy 3D makes its debut in the Netherlands and Belgium in the first quarter of 2013, the service will be rolled out to other countries.
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More information: Press release