Staples steps into a new dimension online: 3-D
September 14, 2015 11:26 AM
Staples Inc. is rolling out a new online 3-D printing platform to let consumers and small businesses upload their own 3-D designs or select from an assortment of models, including desk accessories and decor. The site is live on Staples.com.
The platform will let users submit their own 3-D files and customize designs by selecting from a variety of materials and colors and adding text, figures and images to any printable project. After the customer uploads the design file or chooses one of Staples’ designs, the design is printed and shipped to the customer’s home or office. The platform also features an interactive 3-D viewer so users can preview their creation before it’s printed.
Staples has offered 3-D printing as a service in its stores and through its Copy & Print sales teams, but online availability makes 3-D printing more accessible for businesses, Staples says. The encouraging response to the in-store 3-D printing prompted the online offering, says Behzad Soltani, Staple’s vice president of services, e-commerce.
“For our online offering, we hope it helps raise awareness of our 3-D printing as a service offering as well as drive adoption of 3-D printing as a prototyping tool for small businesses,” Soltani says, noting that Staples aims to set itself apart from rivals with the 3-D offering in stores and online.
“This is a great addition for our business customers that are looking for an easy way to prototype with quick turnaround time and at an affordable price,” Soltani says. “The platform allows beginners to get a taste and try 3-D printing by selecting one of our existing models and making it their own through our customization options.”
The platform is powered by Sculpteo, an online 3-D printing service that offers on-demand 3-D printing of individual products as well as short-run manufacturing.
Staples announced in May of 2013 that it would be the first major U.S. retailer to carry 3-D printers. The company has since rolled out 3-D printing hardware and accessories in a limited number of stores and expanded its overall product selection to include printers by MakerBot. Staples also launched in-store 3-D printing services in pilot stores in New York and Los Angeles, as well as in a limited number of stores supported by Stratasys, a manufacturer of 3-D printers.