I’ve just picked up on an interesting development in the 3D printing retail space and on the back of the recent Amazon and Tesco news, as well as the Staples service and retail offerings — the phenomenal growth in this area is only set to increase, it seems.

The latest development comes from Maplin — the electronics retailer who has just announced on their website that it is “bringing 3D printers to the UK high street.”

Maplin 3D Printing

In a seemingly strange move, Maplin will be retailing the Velleman K8200  3D Printer Kit (at  £699.99 inc VAT). This is a new 3D printer that is currently only taking pre-orders direct from the manufacturer — Velleman — and is stated to be “coming soon” in July for £599 excl VAT.

I say ‘strange move’ because why would Maplin go with an untried and unproven 3D printer — and in kit form at that? I think perhaps the answer comes when taking a closer look at the supplier — Vellemen. This is an established electronics supplier, who, one assumes, has other contracts with Maplin and has made a bid for leveraging this with a new 3D printer. Accordingly, Maplin is marketing the K8200 as “affordable for the average consumer and doesn’t take up much more space than an inkjet printer.”

That’s all well and good, typical in fact, but I don’t foresee tremendous success for the retailer with this type of printer — yes, they’ll likely benefit from the hype initially with sales from customers that buy into it, as it seems the retailer itself has. For example, on the Maplin website it says this: “The only limit to what you can create is the size of the K8200 print area. That’s the beauty of the printer, if you can imagine it and build a 3D design (very simple with free software) you can print it!” Personally, I’d dispute much of this statement and I don’t think this deal bodes well for customer satisfaction with 3D printing.

Anyway, more about the Velleman K8200 3D Printer Kit. It looks well enough and below is a video of it printing one of those eye catching parts quite successfully:

In terms of specs (from Vellemen), this is what you get:

  • Linear ball bearings: 8 and 10 mm
  • Technology: FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) for PLA and AB
  • Power supply: 12 V / 3 A max.
  • FTDI USB 2.0 to Serial, ArduinoTM compatible 
(Sanguino derived motherboard)
  • Dimensions of printable area: 20 x 20 x 20cm / 0.78 x 0.78 x 0.78″
  • Typical printing speed: 120 mm/s
  • Maximum print speed: 150 to 300 mm/s (depending on the object to be printed)
  • Extrusion nozzle: 0.5 mm
  • Extrusion thermistor: NTC 100K
  • Extruded aluminum profiles: 27.5 mm wide
  • Movement: 4 NEMA 17 stepper motors
  • Resolution:
  • Nominal mechanical resolution:
  •            X and Y: 0.015 mm (smallest step the printing plate can move in the X and Y direction)
  •            Z: 0.781 µm (smallest step the printing plate can move in the Z direction)
  • Nominal printing resolution:
  •             Wall thickness (X,Y): 0.5 mm
  •             Layer thickness (Z): 0.20 – 0.25 mm
  • Software: Repetier version 0.84 and up
  • Included: 5m PLA black sample
  • System Requirements: A computer to Print from (Windows, MAC or Linux) & an Internet Connection for Manual and construction instructions.

Hat tip to Terry & My Dad. Thanks both.