You might want to hold off on buying that 3D printer. In the same way that photographers can upload their image files to a photo lab for printing, people will soon be able to upload their CAD/CAM files to the Staples Office Center, for 3D printing on a high-end printer – the only catch is, the finished objects will be made out of paper.
Staples’ Easy 3D service is the result of a partnership between the Staples chain of office supplies stores, and Mcor Technologies Ltd.
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Using an online interface, users will be able to submit a file of the object that they wish to have printed – that file could even be as simple as a photograph of an existing physical copy of the object, depending on its shape. That information will then be uploaded to a Mcor IRIS 3D paper printer at a local Staples Office Center.
Utilizing 0.1-mm-thick layers of ordinary business-letter paper and colored ink, the IRIS will proceed to create a full-color three-dimensional physical model of the object. The user can then pick that model up at the store, or have it mailed to them. Needless to say, paper might not be the ideal material for everyone’s projects, but it should work well for people like architects, artists or designers.
Staples Easy 3D is set to launch in the Netherlands and Belgium in the first quarter of next year, with a roll-out in other countries planned to take place soon after.
A demo of the system (which repeats over and over) can be seen in the video below.