MakerBot has agreed with Home Depot to have specially designed “MakerBot kiosks” in a dozen Home Depot outlets in the US.
While we’ve already seen retail arrangements between the major 3D printer manufacturers and several office supply chains, we have not seen any with home construction supply chains. Until now.
MakerBot and Home Depot announced an “in store experience” to showcase MakerBot’s new 5th generation 3D printers in a themed display area. The agreement indicates twelve Home Depot locations are initially targeted in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Chicagoland areas.
This move is quite interesting, as the theory goes something like this: Home Depot shoppers are makers (of a different kind) that may require custom plastic items from time to time. With a 3D printer of their own they’ll be able to make the parts themselves.
Will this marketing strategy succeed? We’re not sure, but aside from the obvious exposure MakerBot will receive, we have some questions:
- Will Home Depot makers find economy or utility in making their own parts when they are accustomed to buying inexpensive parts at Home Depot?
- How many Home Depot makers are capable of creating their own 3D designs?
- Will Home Depot offer some type of 3D design service or perhaps a website where their makers can generate 3D models for printing?
The last one is the biggie. If Home Depot begins selling 3D models for printing, then we’ve taken a huge step in a very long journey towards distributed home manufacturing.