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Staples To Offer 3D Printing Services

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Thursday November 29, 2012 @10:43PM (#42137973) Journal

      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.

      • by pla (258480)
        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 boo
        • by AvitarX (172628)

          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

        • by jandrese (485)
          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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by kenp2002 (545495) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:47PM (#42138467) Homepage Journal

        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.

        • by adolf (21054)

          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.

        • by morgauxo (974071)

          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?

        • by anubi (640541)
          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
      • by DrXym (126579)
        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

    • by luder (923306) *

      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 eve

    • by DrXym (126579)
      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 perso

    • by funkboy (71672)

      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).

  • Sweet! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @10:23PM (#42137843) Homepage Journal
    I'm gonna print me a woman!
    • 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).

      • by wierd_w (1375923) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:07PM (#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.

        • 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).

        • by Sabriel (134364)

          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?

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          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

          • by wierd_w (1375923)

            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, the

    • by ikaruga (2725453)
      Those are paper based printers. A paper cut in my pee hole is the last thing I desire in my life.
    • Re:Sweet! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sulphur (1548251) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:51AM (#42138755)
    • Pictures from a magazine. Diagrams and charts, mending broken hearts and making WEIRD SCIENCE!
    • by morgauxo (974071)

      Papercuts!

  • 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?
    • Due to counter intuitive business models,when printing per square inch you're mainly paying for ink.
    • by dbc (135354)

      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 p

  • Will printing my own easy button be accompanied by the "that was easy" voice-over?
    • by Threni (635302)

      "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?"

  • 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.

  • lol (Score:4, Funny)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:09PM (#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!"

  • 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.
    • 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...

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      Just think of the Virus and hacking potential of a printer like that. You could literally make it start printing shit.
    • by iphinome (810750)

      But will the printed cat be dead or alive?

  • A 3D printer that uses paper? They need to seriously re-consider that I think. I'll stick with my Makerbot Replicator.
    • by dbc (135354) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:37PM (#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.

      • by Bill Currie (487) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:51AM (#42138753) Homepage

        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.

        • 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.

          • by Bill Currie (487)

            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.

  • 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 bl

    • That is the single worst joke about Astrochickens I have ever seen. You phone up Freeman Dyson and apologise this instant!
      • 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 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @11:29PM (#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.
    • by Trep (366)

      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 t

      • by Smidge204 (605297)

        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=

      • 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. :- )
  • Sweet! I'm going to print up a Staples store.

  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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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