While the office solutions giant has been involved with the technology for some time, Staples has just upped its 3D printing game significantly via a new partnership with an important industry player. Today, Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) has announced the release a new online 3D printing platform for small businesses and consumers to 3D print their own designs or those from a curated library, all powered by French 3D printing marketplace and service bureau Sculpteo.
Starting the week of September 14th, Staples.com customers will be able to upload their own files and customize designs with extra text, figures, and images, all to be 3D printed in a variety of colors and materials. All of these files will be displayed through Sculpteo’s responsive and interactive 3D Printing Cloud Engine, made publicly available earlier this year. Altogether, customers anywhere in the world will be able to turn to the Staples website to get an item 3D printed, more or less turning 3D printing into just another office supplies service, like copying, faxing, and 2D printing.
Staples’ foray into commercial 3D printing has taken a variety of shapes in the past three years or so. In 2012, the office solutions company began providing 3D printing services in the UK and Ireland via paper 3D printer producer Mcor. They also began selling a variety of 3D printers and supplies and subsequently launched B2B 3D printing design, consultations, and services through their Copy & Print sales teams, in partnership with 3D Systems and Stratasys. I learned from Behzad Soltani, vice president of services, e-commerce for Staples, Inc. , that all of this was in an effort to become a complete one-stop-shop for small businesses to take advantage of 3D printing. This latest news expands that reach even further, essentially giving Staples their own Sculpteo portal to provide 3D printing services the world over, allowing anyone to take advantage of 3D printing, without investing in a printer themselves.
Soltani said of this latest news, “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. The platform allows beginners get a taste and try 3D printing by selecting one of our existing models and making it their own through our customization options.”
Clément Moreau, CEO & Co-Founder of Sculpteo, said of the partnership, “We are thrilled to support Staples through our 3D Printing Cloud Engine. This is an exciting time for 3D Printing in Retail. Staples will become an entry point for both businesses and the general public to benefit of 3D printing, and we are proud that Sculpteo’s technology will help to make that possible.”
The news is big for Sculpteo, as well, which, after obtaining €5 million in funding, is proving to make its mark on the world quite rapidly. Competing against service bureaus like Shapeways and i.materialise, Sculpteo has already made a powerful partnership with HP, which now allows users of the Sprout blended reality desktop computer to 3D print directly through Sculpteo. When HP launches its MultiJet Fusion technology next year, I’m sure that Sculpteo will be there to take advantage of it. With this latest deal, Sculpteo may become a brand that mainstream consumers think of when they think of 3D printing services, along with Staples, that is.