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Staples to offer in-store 3D printing on demand

The office supply chain is getting set to upgrade its 2D print services to add another dimension.

MCOR's Iris 3D printer will be deployed first at Staples stores in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Need a custom architectural or medical model in short order? How about a 3D map or, um... a handgun? Soon, Staples could be the place for all of the above -- OK, maybe not the gun -- through a new in-store 3D printing service just announced this week.

The office supply chain's apparent partner in the venture, MCOR Technologies, makes a commercial-class color 3D printer called the Iris that will be deployed first to Staples locations in the Netherlands and Belgium in early 2013. MCOR announced the printing service, dubbed Staples Easy 3D, in a press release, and at the Euromold conference in Germany.

"Customized parts, prototypes, art objects, architectural models, medical models and 3D maps are items customers need today," Wouter Van Dijk, president of the Staples Printing Systems Division in Europe, said in the release.

Users would upload product designs online to be printed in-store and picked up, much like Staples currently does with business cards.

Staples says that after debuting in the northern European countries, the service will be "rolled out quickly to other countries."

No word on how quick that timeline might be, or which countries could be at the top of the list. There was also no indication of pricing, other than that it would be "low."

Mechanical engineers, please contact me if you have a design for a 3D printer that can be built completely from 3D-printed parts, particularly if you're located in Amsterdam -- I have an idea to run by you.