Home Depot has signed an agreement with 3D printer company MakerBot to sell its line of Replicator machines. The consumer-grade, desktop MakerBot Replicator 3D printers will initially be part of a pilot program in 12 stores located in California, Illinois and New York.
MakerBot said both its printers and 3D scanning technology will be showcased in specific demo areas in the Home Depot stores and that trained MakerBot retail staff will be on hand to provide information about the products.
MakerBot’s scanners allow solid objects to be transposed into a 3D computer-aided design image that can then be used to print out an object.
Customers will also be offered free 3D-printed items to take home with them, including adjustable wrenches, electrical outlet covers and drink cups.
Staples and parcel delivery UPS are testing in-store services to give their customers a chance to use the technology without having to buy the hardware and related materials.
Driven by consumer machines such as MakerBot’s, the sale of 3D printers and related materials is expected to increase from $75 million this year to $1.2 billion by 2018