Staples to offer 3D printing next year, partners with Mcor

By on November 30, 2012, 5:30 PM

3D printer maker Mcor Technologies announced yesterday a new partnership with Staples to offer "Staples Easy 3D" -- a 3D printing service for customers. The service aims to offer ordinary people access to affordable, eco-friendly, high-quality and "photo-realistic" 3D printed products through Staples' retail stores.

While there aren't many specifics on the service, we do know Staples stores will be equipped with Mcor's IRIS printing system -- a commercial 3D printer known for its high color capabilities and low operational costs. IRIS uses proprietary inks, water-based adhesives and regular office paper to print solid, three-dimensional objects.

Admittedly, that sounds a bit like a sophisticated paper mache (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), but it's likely the first step toward more robust 3D print solutions. Sturdier materials like thermoplastic resin and advanced processes like metal laser stintering could be the next steps forward.

The potential disruptive nature of 3D printing science-magic can't be overstated. Being able to instantly produce useful objects will change lives, economies and society as we know it. Given a high enough level of printer sophistication, a future where any person can download schematics to just about anything and have it printed at a local store isn't inconceivable.

Think about this: Today's 3D print systems are capable of producing parts for functional firearms. With the advent of 3D printable guns upon us, what happens to gun control laws? Will printers be regulated like guns? The print materials, perhaps? These are just a couple questions about a single topic -- there will be far more controversy than just guns. Take the Pirate Bay's interest in offering schematics to "physibles", for example. In the future, such a notions could make "piracy" more palpable than ever.

Mcor states that Staples Easy 3D will launch first in the Netherlands and Belgium early next year. Afterward, Mcor expects the service to be "quickly" rolled out to other countries. 

User Comments: 7

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Timonius Timonius said:

Only a matter of time before we can create a rudimentary replicator. Brew beverage, print container, dispense beverage. "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot." Not as fancy but definitely workable. Just need the device to 'recycle' the container afterwards, create the beverage in less than a second, etc.

gobbybobby said:

Cool I will pop in to Staples for a new pair of Shoes off the 3D printer then...

they will do that right!?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" just did this story. (CBS 10:00 PM EST 11-28-'12 "Strip Maul" Something about using a 3D printer to pop out disposable murder weapons. You know, polycarbonate pistols..

Ectech Ectech said:

I remember learning about 3D technologies years ago at a Monster Cable convention in Connecticut. Sure it looks impressive but really its a huge waste of energy.

Guest said:

Metal Laser Sintering doesn't produce the high quality grade hardened steel needed for mechanical part, I wouldn't trust them for plumbing. All it's really good for is jewelry and novelty items. We won't be printing our cars, this is a die hard fantasy. steel mills have nothing to worry about 3D printers now or in 20 years.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I remember learning about 3D technologies years ago at a Monster Cable convention in Connecticut. Sure it looks impressive but really its a huge waste of energy.
In the same context, many would argue that all of "Monster Cable's" product is a huge waste of money.

Guest said:

Why is Staples getting into manufacturing? What do they know about it?

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