Home Depot Starts Selling Stratasys’ MakerBot 3D Printers
By launching a pilot program with the world's largest home-improvement retailer, Eden Prairie-based Stratasys, Ltd., may be taking steps toward its goal of bringing 3D printing to the mainstream market.
MakerBot, which Stratasys acquired for more than $400 million last year, announced Monday that it has struck a deal with Home Depot, through which the retail chain is now selling MakerBot 3D products at a dozen of its stores.
MakerBot's products will be available at six Home Depot stores in California, four in Illinois, and two in New York—marking the first time that the retailer will offer 3D printers. Both parties described the initiative as a pilot program, and a larger rollout could mean major exposure: Home Depot currently has 2,264 retail stores, covering all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, and Mexico.
Several MakerBot products are also available on Home Depot's website, which lists printers that range from $1,375 to $2,899, as well as a 3D scanner that's listed for $799.
Bringing New Tech to the Masses
Stratasys traditionally built larger industrial-use 3D printers but made a big move into the consumer market when it bought MakerBot, which was founded in 2009 and specializes in desktop 3D printers and scanners. MakerBot operates its own retail stores in New York, Boston, and Greenwich, Connecticut, but the Home Depot partnership has the potential to introduce its products to a much broader audience.
At the select Home Depot stores, MakerBot 3D printing and scanning products will be showcased in special kiosks, and trained MakerBot retail staff will provide 3D printing demonstrations to explain the technology to newcomers.
In our June cover story, Twin Cities Business took an in-depth look at Stratasys and the larger 3D printing industry, interviewing numerous experts about the possible applications and greater potential for the technology, which some believe could usher in the next industrial revolution.
Bloomberg reported that, by partnering with MakerBot, Home Depot is betting that the products will appeal to forward-thinking contractors and do-it-yourselfers. For example, customers could use the printers to create their own parts and supplies, such as U-clips and pipe-stakes, Bloomberg noted.
“We are thrilled to partner with The Home Depot to help bring MakerBot 3D printing technology to The Home Depot customers,” MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis said in a statement. “Imagine a world where you can 3D print replacement parts and use 3D printing as an integral part of design and building work. Every day we see the magic of 3D printing becoming a reality with our customers; now The Home Depot can also see that magic. We can’t wait to see what The Home Depot customers make with our products.”