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Staples To Offer 3D Printing Services 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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Staples To Offer 3D Printing Services

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  • Re:Limitations (Score:5, Informative)

    by adolf ( 21054 ) <> 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 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.

  • 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 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.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.