The era of cheap 3D printing is upon us. That is, if you're willing to make do with the less-detailed and size-limited results that can be produced with home 3D printers. If you want industrial-quality creations, you'll still need an industrial 3D printer. Soon, you might be able to get just that from your local office supply store with the Staples Easy 3D.
A new partnership between the office supply chain and MCOR Technologies, it seeks to make getting a 3D-printed object of your virtual model as convenient as ordering a batch of business cards from your local Staples branch. To use the service, simply visit their website, upload your design (yep, you'll still need to know how to create models on a computer), pick out specs and place your order. All items will be printed in-store at whichever Staples branch you put in your order with. Basically, it's their business card ordering model applied to 3D printing, making the process very convenient.
Staples Easy 3D will use a commercial-class 3D printer called the Iris to create your projects, so this should be way more detailed than what you can get with your Makerbots and Form 1s. Anything a commercial-class 3D printer can create will be available to order, including custom parts, product prototypes, art objects, architectural models, medical models and 3D maps.
No word on costs or turnaround times, but we imagine the convenience alone should be a godsend to anyone who requires 3D printed objects on a frequent basis. The Staples Easy 3D will debut in Netherlands and Belgium in early 2013 before rolling out to Staples branches in other countries.