OffBeat

Will Staples, of all companies, make 3D printing mainstream?

Staples' in-store 3D printing promotion

Above: Staples' in-store 3D printing promotion

Image Credit: Bloomberg

Could an office supply store bring 3D printing to middle America? Staples surely thinks it can, and this week jump-started a trial program offering 3D printing services in New York and Los Angeles, Businessweek reports.

While Staples already retails 3D printers, the $1,000+ price tag is surely holding back widespread adoption. Yet, mainstream interest in 3D printing appears to be growing across the globe. Staples believes 3D printing could extend its copy and print services, which compete with offerings like FedEx Office.

Staples hopes to out-do companies already offering in-store 3D printing services, like Makerbot, by taking a “soup to nuts” approach with customer lessons, says Staples VP of business services Damien Leigh. 3D printing still packs a steep learning curve for the average person, but Staples appears up for the challenge to educate the public.

Above all else, Staples’ size and existing business relationships give it a fighting chance of making 3D printing mainstream. It all depends on these pilot programs in NY and LA.

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