UPDATE #1: It has been brought to our attention that Sydney retailer 3D Printing Studio was already selling 3D printers prior to this announcement by Officeworks. We have contacted Officeworks and asked them to explain their position and justify their announcement of being the first.
UPDATE #2: Following Appliance Retailer’s discussion with Officeworks regarding 3D Printing Studio, Officeworks has modified its claim: “Officeworks is the first major retail chain in Australia to sell 3D printers in select stores and online” (Officeworks’ emphasis).
Officeworks has today claimed the title as the first Australian retailer to sell a 3D Printer in stores. The Cube 3D Printer, described as a “must have item”, will retail in 21 selected Officeworks stores across the country for RRP $1,499. It will also be sold online at the Officeworks website.
3D printers work by analysing input data, much like a ink on paper printer, but then constructing the desired object from a pliable material, such as melting plastic. These printers have gained notoriety overseas for their potential use to ‘print’ workable firearms from otherwise legal and accessible materials.
In a commercial setting, 3D printers can be used to create scale prototypes of new products. On a recent tour of Breville’s design studio in Botany, Sydney, Appliance Retailer observed a commercial 3D printer at work creating such models.
This announcement today by Officeworks is the first time such technology has been made available to retail customers. The technology has already been available to Australians through online channels, such as the 3D Printer Superstore website, which sells ‘personal’ 3D printers for advertised prices starting at $842.
Toby Watson, Officeworks technology business manager, said the Cube 3D printer would be marketed to everyone though he did focus primarily on commercial applications.
“The Cube printer is a 3D printer for everyone; it’s easy to use and helps you turn your big ideas into tangible objects you can hold,” he said. “Whether it’s to bring to life your design course work, show concepts to clients, or create something unique for fun, Cube 3D Printers have you covered.”
“At Officeworks, we’re really excited to see where our customers take the Cube 3D Printer as they explore the limitless range of creative, boundary-pushing designs available. We encourage everyone to get involved as it’s never been easier to bring your big ideas to life,”
Cube 3D printers are supplied by Cubify, which itself is a division of 3D Systems, a New York Stock Exchange traded corporation based in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Here is how Cubify explains how the Cube 3D printer works:
The Cube prints in 3D, which means that instead of putting ink onto a flat surface like regular printing, it builds up material in three dimensions to create a real object. It melts plastic filament, then draws with it in a very fine layer.
It then builds another fine layer of plastic on top of this one, and then another, and another, building your idea in slices from the bottom up until you have a plastic object ready to hold.