Staples to Offer “Easy 3D” Printing in 2013

Forget about making copies.Starting early next year, Staples stores in the Netherlands and Belgium will begin offering a new “Staples Easy 3D” service, bringing 3D printing to the masses with the help of Mcor’s “Iris” 3D printers. That’s right, if you lose an oh-so-crucial chess piece or need a custom-made mask, you’ll be able to have Staples print one out for you for easy in-store pickup or delivery.

Mcor’s Iris printer creates 3D objects by gluing stacking, gluing, cutting, and printing reams of paper. The end result has a wood-like hardness, Wired reports. Since Iris printers use paper rather than plastic, they can achieve realistic coloration similar to what you’d find in a high-quality 2D printer, offering more than a million available colors and a maximum resolution of 5760 x 1440 x 508 dpi. The video below shows how well the Iris handles printing detatched heads and skulls. (Don’t worry, it’s not as gruesome as it sounds.)

You’ll need to have some basic CAD design skills to create a 3D object, though; Tom’s Hardware reports that users will have to upload 3D files in STL, OBJ, or VRML formats to the Staples website to take advantage of the Staples Easy 3D service.

Although the early roll out will be limited to just a pair of European countries, Mcor said that Staples Easy 3D will move into other regions in short order.