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A MakerBot printer and some of the stuff it can make.
Friday, November 30, 2012

Staples to provide in-store 3D printers for customers - in Europe

Staples, the office supply store, will have 3D printers in its stores in Belgium and the Netherlands so that customers can print out models from their CAD files. Here's the BoingBoing report. No word on when it's coming to the US

I'm particularly interested in 3D printing at the moment because we're lining up panelists for the January 16 Science Cafe, which will discuss 3D printing, but it sure seems that news about this technology is everywhere. Consider:

Japanese company will print 3D model of your fetus

3D printer company MakerBot opens its first retail store

Moon rocks could be used as a 3D printing material

3D "photo booths" are popping up here and there

The Staples announcement is the first example of what could be the next stage in 3D printing's spread, from possession only by clever DYI hobbyists and backroom prototype makers, to widespread usage. Remember when fax machines were rare, and local gas stations advertised that you could use theirs for a fee? - 3D printing might be entering that stage.

The Staples printers will only use paper, making basically colorful paper models - not plastic or harder material. But it's a start.

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