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Staples becomes first major US retailer to sell 3D printers


May 7, 2013

Office supply chain, Staples, will become the first major US retailer to offer 3D printers, starting with the Cube 3D Printer

Office supply chain, Staples, will become the first major US retailer to offer 3D printers, starting with the Cube 3D Printer

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Despite the growing popularity of 3D printers, being limited to purchase through specialist stores and online shops means they still occupy a niche market of hobbyists and professional designers. You can't just waltz into your local office supply store and pick one up along with a pack of manila folders and paperclips. But soon, you'll be able to do just that. Office supply chain Staples will become the first major US retailer to offer 3D printers on its shelves, starting with the Cube from 3D Systems.

As far as 3D printers go, the Cube is one of the most accessible models for consumers, which likely influenced Staples' decision to carry it. Unlike most 3D printers, it comes fully assembled right out of the box, takes up relatively little space on a desktop, and installs easily on Mac and Windows computers. It's capable of printing items up to 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches (14 x 14 x 14 cm) in 16 different colors. Users will also have a choice of 25 free templates to print and will be able to download further designs online via Wi-Fi, or create their own with the included software.

This could be part of a concerted push from Staples to bring 3D printing to more consumers. The company also has plans to launch a 3D printing service that uses paper as material. It's hard to say at this point if the general public will take notice or not, but this news does at least indicate just how much 3D printers as a whole have begun creeping into the mainstream.

Staples already has the Cube available for purchase through its online store for US$1299.99, along with various accessories and printing cartridges. The company plans to stock a limited number in its brick-and-mortar stores from June.

Source: Staples via 3D Systems

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

I wonder - will this be able to print the Defense Distributed 3D printable handgun?


I think many would go for the 3D printer service since they might not want to buy one if they only need it for a handful of items or don't have the funds for something they might not use a lot.

I think they chose the right 3D printer for having at their offline store. It looks cool and the price is reasonable, for a 3D printer.


BigWarpGuy, yeah, Shapeways has done a pretty good job at offering 3D printed parts. There are lots of existing designs or you can submit one (and use it for yourself or sell it). It's worth a look at their site, if for no other reason than that it is sort of inspiring.

f8lee, yes, I am sure you could print the design, but not a working gun (unless you count a water pistol). Beyond that, you can probably buy all the tools used to make a normal, non-3D printed, gun for the cost of one of these printers (less if you get lucky on the second hand market) and the materials are only a little more - and if you're comfortable with the kind of gun that might come out of a 3D printer, you're probably fine using one made out of metal scrap.


you mean the one that destroyed itself after 6 shots..somehow I doubt it, but who knows.

Kimberly Scott-Marsden

The plastic LOWER RECEIVER ONLY portion of the AR-15 failed after 6 rounds through the gun because it was a direct copy of the factory one made out of an aluminum forging. Of course it was bound to fail, they just didn't know how long before mean time to failure rate would be reached. It was an exercise to get real world data on something new. They then went in and modified the dimensions of the part, adding more plastic to where it was needed, and VOILA!! It then went for 600 rounds and still no signs of failure. At the low expense of the part, just about anybody could afford to have several of them on hand as spares. How long will the upgraded plastic part go before MTBF? I don't know, but if you want to cover the cost of the ammo (currently quite high) I would be happy to find a unit to test and find out. It is when people who have less than a minimal amount of required knowledge about a subject trying to make intelligent comments about something, that we get stuff like this.


Expanded Viewpoint

Why would you buy this to print guns when you can buy several high quality guns for what this printer costs?


I'm not terribly worried about someone spending $1300 dollars and building a zip gun with it.

I don't think this printer is going to make a working zip gun or AR receiver any way, it's a fairly low end model.

And as Phyzzi said, you'd be better off buying a CNC mill for that sort of thing anyway.

Jon A.

As I just commented on another Gizmag story, the fears of millions of 3D pistols appearing everywhere are virtually groundless, if people want a cheap gun they can make one anywhere. They would rather spend the cost of the printer (and plastic) on a stolen Glock or other gun or more ammunition for the one they made themselves.

The Skud

Lovely - i hope Wilson feels great when people start dying when his guns proliferate. Here in the UK I'm all for gun control - it works!


The Skud,

Really? This story was about a low end 3D printer and you alone managed to insert a blurb about gun control. Bring PM home to the UK. Get him the hell out of here.

Chuck Boyce

I'll wait until these things can replicate a cup of Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.


Is nobody going to bring up the point that a 3D printed gun can pass through metal detectors? I grew up in Idaho and have been shooting my whole life but I think anybody possessing a plastic gun should have to be licensed the same as they would be to possess a fully automatic weapon.

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