Truly spectacular news today: Staples, one of the leading office supply retailers in the USA announced it would begin selling 3D Systems' entry level personal 3D printer, The Cube. This is quite simply the single largest 3D printer retail move to date by any 3D printer manufacturer.
The printer will be priced at USD$1299, the same price as sold directly by 3D Systems. While The Cube will be available only at an unspecified limited number of Staples locations by the "end of June", it will be available for order "immediately" on Staples web site.
This follows another breakthrough announcement by Staples when they launched a 3D print service in Europe based on MCOR 3D paper printing technology. It appears that Staples wishes to provide the cutting edge of technology in more ways than one.
Only a few years ago the notion of finding a 3D printer in your local office supply store would have been ludicrous. But today, it really happened. What was particularly striking was finding listings for various Cube supplies at Staples' website. It's real, folks.
More than likely this will generate a massive boost in sales of The Cube for 3D Systems in a way no other personal 3D printer manufacturer could follow. Even MakerBot, with its now 200 staff, does not have the manufacturing capability to keep up with the volume of orders that could come from a Staples-like reseller deal.
How this will affect the rest of the 3D printing industry is uncertain, but there will be effects. The Cube's sales could rise far above every other 3D printer, putting it in a position to set standards and expectations among the public. Spin off effects could mean advanced users may leap from The Cube to other options, driving up sales everywhere.
But when can we buy a CubeX at Staples?