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Staples To Offer 3D Printing Services

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the are-doubles-free? dept.

Businesses 85

An anonymous reader writes "Mcor and Staples announced today a deal in which Mcor will supply their paper-based 3D printers to Staples Copy Centers worldwide. Staples customers will be able to upload their 3D model and pick up the printed object at their local copy center. The rollout starts in The Netherlands and Belgium in 1Q 2013 and then opens up in other countries."

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Can they print (0, Offtopic)

scared masked man (2776663) | about 2 years ago | (#42137729)

a first-post robot?

Limitations (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42137763)

What about printing Firearms (AR-15 Lowers) or objects copyright holders will sue over object? How will they decide what to approve for printing and what to deny?

Re:Limitations (5, Informative)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#42137973)

What about printing Firearms (AR-15 Lowers) or objects copyright holders will sue over object? How will they decide what to approve for printing and what to deny?

This isn't a problem that differs in any meaningful way between 3D printing traditional 2D printing.

If you want to know specifics about such policies, just Google the terms and conditions for a big-box-store photolab near you.

But, as an anecdote: I used to work in such a photolab, and it was very subjective. We would refuse to print images that made us uneasy because they were grotesque or sexual (although we always did give the negatives back, which always remain property of the customer).

If child porn was discovered, or any thing else blatantly illegal, police would have obviously been involved (we didn't have this issue during my tenure there).

We would refuse to duplicate images that appeared to be professionally done, unless the customer signed a copyright waiver or the image appeared to be old enough that the copyright must have expired.

Exceptions were made: If the customer themselves was a professional photographer and the work appeared to be their own (we had a few of them who used our shop for negative processing and proofs on a very regular basis), we'd do the work.

It was made clear to us that the impetus for judging things things correctly was our own, and that we would be personally responsible for the store's share of any wrong-doing that came from our printing efforts. And I think our guesses were pretty accurate: When you see thousands of different photographs every day for 8 hours (and see each one of them at least twice), anything unique that deserves further scrutiny is immediately obvious.

And again, I don't see how any of this would be different when printing an AR-15 lower (although the plastic one sounds scary enough, and Staples is doing 3D prints with paper!), or a particular rounded rectangle. In very real terms: If it looks iffy, they'll either distance themselves from it, or require verification that you're allowed to print what you're trying to print.

Re:Limitations (2)

pla (258480) | about 2 years ago | (#42138445)

This isn't a problem that differs in any meaningful way between 3D printing traditional 2D printing.

Absolutely true! But, perhaps, not in the way you intended...

In another 10 years, we'll all have our own 3D printers, just like with traditional 2D printing.

And FWIW, I don't know about Staples, but back before decent HQ color printers became ubiquitous, I never had any problem making copies of anything at Kinkos. Hell, I copied an entire textbook for one class (willing to buy it, but the college bookstore actually ran out, WTF?), and the clerk on duty showed me how to do it more efficiently.

Re:Limitations (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#42138643)

Generally the policy at copy places was self serve was fine for infringement, as it wasn't the employee doing the infringing. If somebody rented a machine, then made a personal copy, that was fair use. If an employee was doing it, that was work done by the company (at a few places I've worked).

It was usually done as a way to turn away non profitable work (lots of single copies that wouldn't feed, slightly oversized music sheets that were nearly impossible to place right to get the whole thing, etc). And for the sake of photographers as they were a chunk of our clientele, and if they saw copies of recentish professional prints there'd be hell to pay (any photographer asked for the sake of a calendar or greeting card faxed a waver too, so that was cool).

our guide line was if there was a (c) logo, though technically that doesbt really offer protection.

Re:Limitations (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#42144189)

Every time I go and make copies at my local Kinkos, one of the clerks walks over and asks if it is my own work. I don't know what they would do if you said no though.

Re:Limitations (4, Informative)

kenp2002 (545495) | about 2 years ago | (#42138467)

The plastics you'd use in a 3D printer aren't going to work all that well compared to the plastics they use for example in Glocks. Not to mention you'd still need to machine the trigger assembly, magazine well, safety assembly, fire select, etc.

Would be nice to be able to make custom grips and stocks but that plastic crap (relatively speaking) the 3D printers use isn't worth it. We tried making a test Glock grip (solid even, no magazine well) and a 4 lb weight. Snapped the grip in half easily. Perhaps with some heat treatment or additional additives in the plastic (baking it perhaps) might make the plastic work better but right now, it's too ... brittle... I guess is the best term. The problem is the way the printer prints, the bond isn't very good between layers base when force is applied perpendicular to the printing plane. Our test grips all break along the plane of the printing. We did another test where we printed out a grip with an approximate magazine well and fitted in a hollow metal slip in there to see if that would shore it up. It just cracks around the metal slip. I think baking it might help with the layers bonding together better but for those of us hoping to get custom grips, stocks, ammo and magazine containers etc are going to have to wait a bit longer. We even tried rotating the print so the plane was rotate 90 degrees and out test pendulum just kept snapping the grip either to the left or right depending on where it hit.

Once someone figures out how to do a fluro polymer type plastic in a 3D printer then we can get some real utility printing done.

Re:Limitations (0)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#42138531)

Perhaps you meant to reply to OP. I'm discussing copyright and actual habits of people who are in the business of copying and printing things; you're discussing polymers for firearms.

So while I find your commentary passingly interesting, I really could not give a shit less about it.

Re:Limitations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42139139)

He's saying you're worried about copyrights when the technology is nothing more than trinkets. It's like worrying about the price of real estate in the Andromeda galaxy given our rocket technology. In other words, you're a deluded fool.

Re:Limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42140923)

No, YOU'RE a dick.

Re:Limitations (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#42141149)

Didn't the article say something about these things printing in paper? I'm not sure how that works... pulp and glue?

Is that a good material for a gun? Of course not! But it might be a great material for sand casting. How about aluminum parts?

Re:Limitations (2)

anubi (640541) | about 2 years ago | (#42147215)

Thanks for the post, Ken.

I was reading this thread with baited breath, as I own about a dozen old Gardner-Denver wirewrap guns - the black ones - about 40 years old. Every darned one of them have the little nylon clutch broken, and replacement parts nowhere to be found. It appears I bought the last clutch assemblies to be found anywhere from a company who took over the line from Gardner-Denver - and those NOS ( New Old Stock ) parts did not last all that long. They were old and brittle. Simple little plastic part.

I would love to make a drawing of this little clutch part and have Kinko's make me a dozen or two of them in some modern high strength fluoropolymer. Those were really nice wirewrap guns, used the sub-C NiCd cells which are still common today. I have not had any tools yet that felt as sturdy as those old Gardner-Denvers. The new stuff feels so cheap and underpowered in comparison. ( Note: those old Gardner-Denver tools were NOT cheap! It took nearly an old 60's style aerospace or oil company budget to afford them! Back in the 60's, it was a good week's salary for one of them. )

Re:Limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42139273)

old enough that the copyright must have expired.

Gramps, that story was amazing!!

Tell us again - what was it like when some things weren't copyrighted?

Re:Limitations (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#42139915)

I think there is a difference. Most photographs going through a photo processor are going to be of people, trees, buildings, wildlife etc. Most things going through a 3D printer are going to be nondescript objects - decorative or functional.

Perhaps there would be the odd dumbass trying to print their cock, or a gun grip and you can refuse to print that, but most things are not going to be so clearcut.

How do you know that the candlestick you're printing out is an original design or one ripped off from a design on a web? How do you know that some jewellery with an intricate rose in it is in the public domain, or was ripped off some design company's site by hackers? How do you know if random plastic housing for some random electronic thing is some hobbiest's own design or a ripoff of the original? Is the form or function copyrightable? Is the design trademarked? Is it okay for someone to print out a model Ferrari? What about Mickey Mouse? Disney releases stuff for kids to print out in 2D, who's to say they won't do it for 3D too some day? What if someone decomposes something recognisable into smaller parts which are not recognisable.

I don't think a person in the shop do much except catch the most blatant cases. More likely the printing software would have to check the model somehow and notify the operator to potential infringement. But checking for similarity is an obviously non-trivial problem and would require that designs are registered. I don't see that happening any time soon, but maybe it will eventually.

Re:Limitations (1)

luder (923306) | about 2 years ago | (#42138267)

They will probably make a mess out of it... Last time I went to Staples, I wanted to print some chapters from an Open Publication License [webs.com] book and a datasheet for a Microchip ethernet controller [microchip.com] . They refused to print the book without written permission from the publisher, even though the Open Publication License was clearly stated. As for the datasheet, they wanted to charge me a copyright tax because it has "© 2004 Microchip Technology Inc." on the cover...

I said "no thanks" and ended up printing everything on a small mom and pop shop, no fuss at all. Plus no fee for handling USB pen drive, no waiting for almost an hour while someone prints a few hundred photos or decides on wedding invitations, and cheaper prices...

 

Re:Limitations (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#42139779)

Printing some plastic widget which holds a bunch of tempered steel and springs together can hardly be said called "printing firearms". Given the time / motivation someone could probably make the same housing out of lego, meccano, masking tape, carved wood or any other material.

Anyway I don't see Office Depot being able to enforce copyright any time soon. Maybe they'll look for obvious infringement, e.g. someone printing out Mickey Mouse, but if you print out some random widget how can they tell? The person in the shop certainly can't.

In time perhaps they might establish a database of known infringing files based on checksum but it would be easy to circumvent that (change one byte). In the long term they might resort to statistical sampling and thresholds but it's easy to see what a pain in the ass it would be to figure that out too given that someone could just rotate a design by 0.5 degrees. Maybe someone will figure a way to "watermark", distilling a design down to the position of key functional elements within it but it's obviously going to have a margin of error and if that margin is too big and throws up too many false positives Office Depot or whoever is going to have a lot of pissed off customers.

Re:Limitations (1)

funkboy (71672) | about 2 years ago | (#42139869)

What about printing Firearms (AR-15 Lowers) or objects copyright holders will sue over object? How will they decide what to approve for printing and what to deny?

Well, in this case a firearm receiver fabbed from paper probably wouldn't be too useful for anything other than a wallhanger, so they've avoided having to dead with that issue for now.

Regarding copyright issues, it's no different from people making 2D prints (as others here have mentioned).

Re:Limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42144293)

Not going to happen. That would make staples a firearms manufacturer and all the NFA rules would have to be followed. If you owned the 3D printer you could make as many lowers as you wanted, but you could not sell or transfer them.

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE! (1, Offtopic)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#42137827)

Under the menace of its own disintegration, the proletariat cannot permit the transformation of an increasing section of the workers into chronically unemployed paupers, living off the slops of a crumbling society. The right to employment is the only serious right left to the worker in a society based upon exploitation. This right today is left to the worker in a society based upon exploitation. This right today is being shorn from him at every step. Against unemployment, "structural" as well as "conjunctural," the time is ripe to advance along with the slogan of public works, the slogan of a sliding scale of working hours. Trade unions and other mass organizations should bind the workers and the unemployed together in the solidarity of mutual responsibility. On this basis all the work on hand would then be divided among all existing workers in accordance with how the extent of the working week is defined. The average wage of every worker remains the same as it was under the old working week. Wages, under a strictly guaranteed minimum, would follow the movement of prices. It is impossible to accept any other program for the present catastrophic period.

Property owners and their lawyers will prove the "unrealizability" of these demands. Smaller, especially ruined capitalists, in addition will refer to their account ledgers. The workers categorically denounce such conclusions and references. The question is not one of a “normal” collision between opposing material interests. The question is one of guarding the proletariat from decay, demoralization and ruin. The question is one of life or death of the only creative and progressive class, and by that token of the future of mankind. If capitalism is incapable of satisfying the demands inevitably arising from the calamities generated by itself, then let it perish. “Realizability” or “unrealizability” is in the given instance a question of the relationship of forces, which can be decided only by the struggle. By means of this struggle, no matter what immediate practical successes may be, the workers will best come to understand the necessity of liquidating capitalist slavery.

Sweet! (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#42137843)

I'm gonna print me a woman!

Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 2 years ago | (#42137927)

I'm gonna print me a woman!

I'm curious how Staples is going to address copyright restrictions in the (highly-litigious) USA. Imagine printing the likeness of someone and being fined for reproducing their image without consent.

Which may be why they're starting out in Europe (it's okay though - it's only the 2nd or 3rd time europe has something cool released before the USA).

Re:Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42137961)

Don't they already deal with this in their 2D printing service?

Re:Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#42138163)

Vaugeries of "derivative works"...

I imagine somebody who does miniatures gettng sued by WotC because the female spellcaster he digitally modeled and tried to have printed would compete with authorized minis produced by their partners, and simply being a mini of a popular type would simply be "too close to permit" in their opinion.

The print shop would prohibit production of such items until the legal issue was settled, and in that time, legitimate self-made models would be denied reproduction.

That's a very specific use case, but it could just as easily be miniature cars (like hotwheels), self-sculpted action figures of generic types, and other "hot selling" physical goods items.

For some people in business, "derivative work" has nothing to do whatsoever with a specific item in a product lineup, and has much more in common with a nebulous and poorly defined "category" of items in a product lineup. That is why somebody making a miniature AC Cobra in the hotwheels form factor, using meticulously made measurements and shape editing, might be slapped with a cease and desist from hotwheels company, with them insisting on the name of baby jesus, gandhi, mother theresa, and all the saints that the model in question is a derivative work, and not an independent piece of authorship. (I am just picking on hotwheels rhetorically. No libelous intent is to be assumed here.)

I have had similar problems when trying to get silly one-off posters printed at print shops, that were of my own design, and which were made with royalty free sources. The poster "looking too professional", as another poster earlier asserted, always resulted in failing to have them printed. When the printhouse assumes that you are abusing copyright, and you do all your work under a fictitious pseudonym like I do, you just get fucked. You can't prove you are said fictitious psuedonym to their satisfaction, and you can't easily prove that all the elements in your composition are indeed royalty free, without pulling out an encyclopedia of raw sources at the print house, and holding up the line.

Likewise, a "really well modeled" minitature AC cobra getting 3d printed is going to be very hard to get printed, because of the litigation paranoia.

The result is that skilled and talented people will be locked out of the service, because of false preconceptions that favor big industries that are all to willing to sue for even the slightest perception of a violation.

Re:Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 2 years ago | (#42138505)

I have had similar problems when trying to get silly one-off posters printed at print shops, that were of my own design, and which were made with royalty free sources. The poster "looking too professional", as another poster earlier asserted, always resulted in failing to have them printed.

Right. Which may not be the case in places in europe, where there is enough physical history that reminds people daily that derivative work is assumed and implied. (And less restrictive laws).

Re:Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about 2 years ago | (#42139121)

Have you tried submitting your one-offs with a statutory/notarized/your-country's-equivalent declaration that the work in question is your own / made with royalty free sources?

Re:Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42139341)

Have you tried submitting your one-offs with a statutory/notarized/your-country's-equivalent declaration that the work in question is your own / made with royalty free sources?

Sounds complicated. The citizens of my country aren't stupid enough to impose draconian laws that protect no one but big business anyways, so it's not exactly an issue.

Re:Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#42139483)

No, it is just unnecessary beurocracy.

Public notaries are all over, and most banks have one. The point is that the small guy has to jump through a shitton of such hoops, JUST to avoid the "I don't trust you!" Phase, where the major company doing image work has no such problem, and can simply make use of the service.

This preferential treatment allows the major company to smply "assert" that an article or image is infringing, and results in the automatic revocation of service for small time persons.

Getting the notary to stamp your afidavit of ownership and originality only exhonerates the printhouse from culpability, by having a higher assurance to turn to. The reality is that said afidavit is nothing more than another person stamping a "yes, I saw this guy make this statement.", and does not really in any way improve the situation. The person with the art to print is still the underlying authority who is attesting to having the needed rights for reproduction, and to authorize reproduction. The notary just stamps off with a "yeah, I saw this guy legally attest as much! Uh huh!"

The notary does not check on any facts for you. It does not add any vetting to legitimize the claim. It is just an added layer of beauracratic silliness to a topheavy system.

They serve a REAL function in asserting that the paperwork filed in legal actions are originals and not ex post facto forgeries or redacted duplications, by being a ready made expert witness to the signing and filing of those documents. In that respect, a public notary is invaluable. But for getting an afidavit asserting your rights to your own artwork? Madness!

Re:Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42140215)

We are still a little way off the era of mass object piracy because 3D printers can only spit out a white blob that needs painting at the moment, and they are never going to be as cheap as a factory mass producing the item.

Likewise, a "really well modeled" minitature AC cobra getting 3d printed is going to be very hard to get printed, because of the litigation paranoia.

You can sculpt one out of clay or paint one, even mould your own body kit to make your car look like one, so I don't really see any difference here. Generally speaking such copyright claims can only be made when the infringement is on a commercial scale, otherwise artistic value overrides it.

Re:Realistically ... what are the restrictions? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#42143815)

In this case, here was my line of reasoning:

Some people can sculpt digitally, far better than they can physically. (I can do both.) For those that can do both, digital medium is far cheaper and inexhaustible in supply than quality clay.

Digitally sculpted items need only be sculpted once, then they can be printed many times after that. If you do work with minis, this allows you a great deal of flexibility. You can make your "master" digitally, 3d print an instance, treat it with resin to make it sturdy, then do a little physical cleanup, and then use it to make your whitemetal casting mold. If you screw up the process, you are not out all the many hours it took to make the original, like you would be if you were using a physical master. This would also be true of a small model car.

The 3d prototyping process is not to produce a finished product, but to make a molding plug.

(Whitemetal is painfully easy to cast with.)

This implies that creating the 3d printed plug is a prelude to being able to mass replicate a salable commodity. That is why such legal action would be iminent.

Re:Sweet! (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about 2 years ago | (#42138585)

Those are paper based printers. A paper cut in my pee hole is the last thing I desire in my life.

Ummmmm, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138627)

If your "woman" is putting something, anything IN your "pee hole" you are doing it wrong.

semi-ironic captcha: gobblers

Re:Ummmmm, (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#42140731)

You do realise that ikaruga might be a woman? The reference to "pee hole" would certainly suggest it.

There are women who work in IT, you know. Not many, perhaps understandably given the attitudes of which yours might be an example, but the ones who do tend to be good at it

Re:Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42139359)

Watch out for paper cuts.

Re:Sweet! (1)

Seizurebleak (2020360) | about 2 years ago | (#42139607)

Pictures from a magazine. Diagrams and charts, mending broken hearts and making WEIRD SCIENCE!

Re:Sweet! (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#42141165)

Papercuts!

cost per square inch? (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about 2 years ago | (#42137889)

i would love to print myself a suit of armor and a scythe for halloween... would we be paying per job or paying per square inch?

Re:cost per square inch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42137901)

i would love to print myself a suit of armor and a scythe for halloween... would we be paying per job or paying per square inch?

If it rains, will people call you the dim reaper?

Seriously, I'm here all day.

Re:cost per square inch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42137921)

Per gram looks like, unless you have to provide the material.

Re:cost per square inch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138207)

If you want to pay for a 3D object on per square inch basis, the price is largely irrelevant if it is > 0, because your bill would be infinite. I suggest paying per cubic inch.

Re:cost per square inch? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#42138619)

For a paper-based 3D printer, it actually does make sense - the square inch size is the sum of the areas of each layer.

Re:cost per square inch? (1)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about 2 years ago | (#42138225)

Due to counter intuitive business models,when printing per square inch you're mainly paying for ink.

Re:cost per square inch? (2)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#42138457)

It looks to me like the printer they are planning to deploy takes standard copier paper. So I'm guessing the cost of material for a suit of armor is about the same as a case or two of printer paper. Plus some for the glue, I guess. That doesn't sound bad. Now, also, to make money at this they also have to charge for time-on-the-tool, which covers things like the maintenance contract, and consumables such as the fancy cutter blade. They also will either charge for job set-up, or bake that into the total price.

So, on a rational basis, I think printing a holloween costume this way is totally affordable, although it's a lot more than I would pay for a costume, but heck, to each his own. On the other hand, this *is* Staples, so the pricing might be "We're Staples, and we're dicks, so we plan to gouge you." But fundamentally this looks like a pretty low cost printer to run.

Copy protection? (2)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 2 years ago | (#42137891)

Will printing my own easy button be accompanied by the "that was easy" voice-over?

Re:Copy protection? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#42140563)

"You wouldn't kill a policeman, and set fire to his widow's house...so why would you make your own lego pieces for your 2 year old daughter, instead of paying inexplicably high prices for what is effectively cheap plastic?"

Will they print sex toys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42137931)

I'm going to upload a bunch of dildos and anal beads, just to see the looks on their faces when I pick them up.

Re:Will they print sex toys? (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about 2 years ago | (#42137975)

i would imagine that they would melt as soon as you use them, because they probably arent waterproof

Re:Will they print sex toys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138375)

No worries... AC's partners are entirely room temperature.

Re:Will they print sex toys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138727)

temperature has nothing to do with waterproof you moron

Re:Will they print sex toys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42139097)

You're the moron. The "room temperature" comment implies something non-living along the lines of a Real Doll or a blow-up doll that you're not going to slather up with lube.

It's not an object... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138043)

It's at best, a shape. If I print something that looks like a phone but it's made of paper, it's not a phone, it's not that object. It's a shape. Just like taking a picture of a phone doesn't make that picture a phone, nor do we call that picture a phone.

Re:It's not an object... (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about 2 years ago | (#42138127)

unless of course it was a printed model of an object that is normally made out of paper. in the case of a phone... sure, it wont work as a phone usually would... but i would imagine that if you wanted to make a plastic sex toy as someone posted above, and you used a 3d printer that created objects with plastic, it would work and make a perfect copy.

Re:It's not an object... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138183)

What object that is normally made of paper is worth the expense and trouble of setting up an expensive machine, the internet, finding the right file, waiting for the process, then going to pick it up? Toilet paper? Notepads? Post-its? Napkins?

Do you have any idea how many kinds of plastic exist, what their properties are, why they are used and not some other kind, and if by some miracle that plastic can also be used as feedstock for a 3D printing process, would it be worth the trouble for enough people to be a viable market?

Re:It's not an object... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42138669)

Specialized 3D-shaped post-it blocks. That's all I can think of.

Re:It's not an object... (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42138685)

What object that is normally made of paper is worth the expense and trouble of setting up an expensive machine, the internet, finding the right file, waiting for the process, then going to pick it up?

Ooh, wait! I just thought of it! Money.

What will staples do on the up sell site of this? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42138047)

What will staples do on the up sell site of this?

staples easy tech is all about selling and not that much on the tech site.

Oblig Xzibit ref. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138181)

I think I'll print a 3D printer.

lol (3, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42138185)

Cashier hands customer small object warm off the 3D printer.
"That will be $49.95 sir"
Customer points object at cashier: BANG
Walks out of store muttering: "That was easy!"

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138615)

ROFLMAO I am going to Hell.

quantum printers (2)

Xicor (2738029) | about 2 years ago | (#42138201)

at some point in the next 50 years, someone will invent a quantum printer that prints objects based on quantum configuration. in this case, the printed object would be an exact copy of the object it is copying.... this would be an amazing feat for the world. why? because you can print whatever you want out of whatever you have. you could turn a brick of lead into a fully working ibook. the benefit of this is that everything would cost the same.

Re:quantum printers (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#42138653)

Maybe, but the measurement process of the original object is unlikely to be non-destructive. This would finally put an end to the copyright vs. theft argument, though...

Re:quantum printers (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#42138819)

Just think of the Virus and hacking potential of a printer like that. You could literally make it start printing shit.

Re:quantum printers (1)

iphinome (810750) | about 2 years ago | (#42139399)

But will the printed cat be dead or alive?

Staples New Tagline... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138205)

Staples: A Great Place To Buy Guns!

Re:Staples New Tagline... (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#42138289)

You meant "gum", right?

A 3D printer that uses paper? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#42138281)

A 3D printer that uses paper? They need to seriously re-consider that I think. I'll stick with my Makerbot Replicator.

Re:A 3D printer that uses paper? (4, Informative)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#42138383)

Why? I have a CupCake and a homebrew plastic FDM printer in the works, but I don't share your attitude. Plastic is nice, but other technologies have their benefits. Paper is easy to come by, and cheap. Laminated paper is going to be about as strong as a solid medium-density wood such as birch. It will take paint very nicely. The build volume on the machine in question is basically 3 reams of copier paper. That build volume has your replicator beat by quite a lot. The output would make excelent masters for hot metal casting, if you're into the home foundary scene.

Re:A 3D printer that uses paper? (3, Informative)

Bill Currie (487) | about 2 years ago | (#42138753)

This is probably more appropriate as a response to the gp, but it also works as agreement with you: don't underestimate the strength of paper saturated with super-glue. I repaired the belt-clip of an Aiwa "walkman" by first super-gluing the parts together, then super-gluing paper across the joint (second attempt: first was just the parts, promptly re-broke). 20 years on, the repair was still solid.

Re:A 3D printer that uses paper? (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about 2 years ago | (#42146511)

This is probably more appropriate as a response to the gp, but it also works as agreement with you: don't underestimate the strength of paper saturated with super-glue. I repaired the belt-clip of an Aiwa "walkman" by first super-gluing the parts together, then super-gluing paper across the joint (second attempt: first was just the parts, promptly re-broke). 20 years on, the repair was still solid.

I would think that is because paper is merely wood with lignin removed. Your adding the structure back with the glue.

Re:A 3D printer that uses paper? (1)

Bill Currie (487) | about 2 years ago | (#42152251)

Possibly, but I suspect it might be even stronger than wood as rather than the glue adding structure to the paper, the paper is adding reinforcing to the glue. Either way, with the relative chaos in paper (compared to wood's distinct grain), the result seems to be extremely strong.

Re:A 3D printer that uses paper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42140099)

Paper 3D printers are also used in industry for deep drawing. If you are only running a small series or doing prototypes it is cheaper to use a quickly wearing out die made from laminated paper than invest in a milled steel die.

Imagine! (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#42138307)

Someday you could xerox a xerox machine! Would that violate the max call stack depth limits of recursion?

Imagine if we could print parts of a copy machine to make a better copy machine. Then each xerox machine could print out parts and become bigger and stronger. So technically we can pack a very small rudimentary xerox machine in a rocket, blast it to some distant planet and it would make increasingly more sophisticated copy machines and eventually build a rocket and make miniature xerox machines and blast them other planets!

But what about energy? What about material? Come on, it is all in the software. The little rudimentary machine would print out small powerplants and raw material factories too.

But what material could you use in a planet you have never been to? Well, let us just use the most abundant material like carbon and water and these machines would make small variations in the copies they make. Whichever variation uses the available materials better, would make more copies of itself. So we can build redundancy into the process. Let these machines fight among themselves and the ones most suitable to each plant will evolve bigger and better.

All we need to do is provide some kind of insatiable appetite to make more copies of itself deeply into the kernel of these machines. That should be enough.

Oh, wait. It is us. Folks, we are the end result of those damned 3D printing machines envisaged by some distant civilization! OMG, you did it, didn't you, God?

Re:Imagine! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#42138537)

That is the single worst joke about Astrochickens I have ever seen. You phone up Freeman Dyson and apologise this instant!

Re:Imagine! (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#42140365)

Dang it! That Dyson guy! How did he steal my idea 32 years before I published it in slashdot! Well, he must have built a time machine. There is *no* other explanations ;-)

Exciting (3, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#42138315)

I am not just writing exciting to say Good Job to Staples but this will be a huge step forward for more than all the tinkerers out there. This is a product that reaches out and touches my heart. I don't know too many people around me who could use this or could even use this. But if Staples stays the course they will develop their own market. I can see a situation where general public use first will be vanity items such as a personalized bobble head but then one day someone will need a replacement part and a company will say "Go to your local staples and pick it up, it should be ready in 45 minute."

A simple example of this would be my Dyson vacuum(I love it) had a dumb little part die and they replaced it without hesitation. I called on Saturday and it came today. But that required my house be dirty for a week and that Dyson warehouse the part, package the part, and ship the part. Wouldn't it have been better if they had just printed up the part locally on demand? Not to mention that as they learn that some part will regularly fail they can instantly "ship" a redesigned part without having to dispose of or guiltily ship the lesser version.

So I hope that someone installs a beer pipeline to the Staples executive who came up with this brilliant idea.

Re:Exciting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138539)

Mitt Romney doesn't drink Beer!

Re:Exciting (1)

Trep (366) | about 2 years ago | (#42139043)

Unfortunately, 3D printer materials are generally not very strong, and have very poor dimensional stability at warmer temperatures. A 3D printed version of most vacuum parts would not last long, I suspect. That said, some things can be printed as fully functional parts, and even if it isn't good for a long term part, quick prototyping with a 3D printer is amazing. And making that available to more people, and cheaper, is great.

I think 3D print materials are something like $0.30/gram (and a little less for the support material which gets thrown out); add to that printer time and it could be a while before distributing parts via 3D printer can compete with, say, injection molding if you are distributing significant quantities of the same part.

I suppose printed parts will get better with time. There are companies out there that make very good parts with SLS quickly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_laser_sintering); you can even SLS titanium.

Re:Exciting (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 2 years ago | (#42140003)

Unfortunately, 3D printer materials are generally not very strong, and have very poor dimensional stability at warmer temperatures.

This has not been my personal experience. 3D printed parts tend to have a "Grain" which might make them weaker than an injection molded plastic part of the same material, but that same grain makes them stronger in the other directions. This is simply something to consider when designing the part for printing.

And I suppose it really depends on what you mean by "warmer temperatures" if you want to talk about dimensional stability.
=Smidge=

Re:Exciting (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about 2 years ago | (#42144891)

This is the first step. 20 years ago this was science fiction. 20 years from now we will look at today's 3D printers the same way we look at 9600 baud modems.

The singularity is coming. :- )

make them print a dildo (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about 2 years ago | (#42138387)

ROFL
hahahaha

Sweet! (0)

DuranDuran (252246) | about 2 years ago | (#42138501)

Sweet! I'm going to print up a Staples store.

Weird Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42138593)

Does this mean Staples can print me the perfect woman of my dreams?

More retailers need this. (1)

Vegan Pagan (251984) | about 2 years ago | (#42138655)

When I worked at Walgreens from 2007-2010, the amount of printing the photo department did dropped sharply because the economy was worsening and because people were moving most of their photo viewing onto smartphones. Nowadays, 3D printing would make much better use of the photo department space than 2D printing and it would substitute many of the cheap toys and tools on the middle aisle.

What's especially intriguing is that 3D printing could substitute all forms of 2D printing. Instead of selling paper and inkjet cartridge refills, the store could sell powdered plastic for home 3D printers. Instead of printing pictures in store, the store could print objects that are bigger, better, and made from more materials than home 3D printers can use. In addition to sending out orders for custom mugs and T-shirts, the store could send out orders for the highest quality 3D printed items possible.

One problem is that there isn't really a consumer-level killer app for 3D printing yet. It needs somebody like Steve Jobs to make 3D printing into something nobody can do without.

Paper 3d Printables? (1)

detain (687995) | about 2 years ago | (#42138901)

The article leads me to believe they are 3d printers using paper. That seriously limits the possibilities of what you can print, but at least nobody will (hopefully) be making working paper guns with it. If they would switch to some type of plastic I could see this having a lot more uses.

seeing pragmaticly (1)

brainspank (515274) | about 2 years ago | (#42147005)

I see a lot talk about firearms when 3d printing discussions start, but my first thought was to print some new frames for my glasses. these things can cost hundreds of dollars, break easily, only consist of a few grams of plastic. I could have a different pair for every day of the year...

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