2D Copy Centres are sooooo 2011. 3D Copy Centres – now that’s something I need. You know that feeling when you drafting a CAD model and you need it in your hand? And it’s 3am? And no one’s given you the new code to the Stratasys because you kept on 3D Printing what your boss called ‘unmentionable’? And you owe Shapeways because of that Paypal scam? Well fret no more, there’s a Staples around the corner and they do full-colour 3D Printing.
Somewhere in that Stack of Paper is my Prototype
Mcor developed a neat 3D printing technology that takes sheets of paper and cuts each layer and glues them to the preceding layer, selectively creating an object. The advantage is that one can use off-the-shelf full-colour inkjet technology and create very realistic models. I’ve seen them myself – they’re much more vibrant than ZCorp’s Colour Printing. And significantly more durable. When I first heard about Mcor’s tech, I didn’t think they had a chance. 2 years later, I’m pleasantly surprised by their ability to find the right niche market.Here’s an overview of their printer.
According to the Mcor press release…
Staples’ Easy 3D will offer consumers, product designers, architects, healthcare professionals, educators, students and others low-cost, brilliantly coloured, photo-realistic 3D printed products from Staples stores. Customers will simply upload electronic files to the Staples Office Centre and pick up the models in their nearby Staples stores, or have them shipped to their address. Staples will produce the models with the Mcor IRIS, a 3D printer with the highest colour capability in the industry and lowest operating cost of any commercial-class 3D printer.
Unfortunately, the “online platform for Staples Easy 3D will initially be made available in the Netherlands and Belgium in Q1 2013 and will be rolled out quickly to other countries.” So, you have a little time before you’ll be popping over to the store for paperclips and your 3D print.
Never Convince Yourself It’s Easy
Staples has reams and reams of paper and gallons of ink and a huge office supplies market. For all those small architectural or engineering firms, this is useful. It really does put the EASY in 3D. It may be something that consumers may appreciate – students are always picking up supplies at Staples. An engineering student might appreciate the chance to wow their prof with a finished model of their project, completed in full-colour. That is, if it’s as cheap as it really could me. As with most printers, the materials cost nothing. Time is the key. Thus reliability and machine functionality as well as a well-trained staff is going to have to be executed right for this endeavour succeed.
Because, no one wants to return to the days of PC LOAD LETTER. NO ONE.