Staples introduces in-store 3D printing (but only in Europe)

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If you want to see how the future of 3D printing will look, take a peek at Staples.

The company announced today “Staples Easy 3D”, an in-store 3D printing service. Similar to Staples’s current paper printing, the service will allow customers to upload their 3D designs and print them from Staples stores, as Wired reports.

The 3D printers will come via Mcor Technologies, whose Iris printers use paper rather than materials like ABS or PLA. As you can see in the video below, this allows for some vaguely creepy life-like print outs.

While companies like Shapeways have pioneered the outsourced 3D printing business model, Staples’s entry is the first one by a major retailer — which is a good sign for the future of the industry as a whole. We’ve written previously about how the future of 3D printing will look a lot like your local print center, and it’s clear that Staples is making that concept a reality.

But before you fire up your design software, know this: Staples Easy 3D will initially be available only in  Belguim and the Netherlands (which also happens to be where Shapeways was founded). There’s no mention of when (or if) Staples will bring the service to the U.S.