Maplin brings 3D printing to the high street

9 Jul 20131 Share

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UK-based electronics retailer Maplin is bringing 3D printing to the masses by adding the stg£700 Velleman K8200 to its stores.

3D printers use materials, usually melted plastic filament, to ‘draw’ fine layers that gradually build up into a three-dimensional object. The process has become one of the hottest topics in tech and is now beginning to break into the mainstream.

Maplin is the first high-street retailer offering 3D printers to the everyday consumer. The stg£700 machine is a build-it-yourself 3D printer kit called the Velleman K8200.

The K8200 comes with 5m of plastic tubing out-of-the-box and 1kg replacement cartridges in eight different colours are also available for stg£30 each. It uses PLA and ABS plastic and the printable area is a 20cm cube.

Users can create all sorts of objects using the 3D printer, such as a small toy, a fashion accessory, replacement parts, a product prototype or a mobile phone case. This last option would take about 30 minutes to print and designs can be sent to the printer using open-source 3D design software.

Delivery to Ireland

Maplin has stores in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Dundalk, but these branches do not have the 3D printer in stock. Already out of stock on Maplin.co.uk, the Velleman K8200 will be available again for online orders in 30 days. The item qualifies for free standard delivery in the UK and can be shipped to Ireland for stg£8.50.

The dangers and delights of 3D printing

At Build last month, Microsoft announced that Windows 8.1 will come with support for 3D printing and Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen took her haute couture 3D-printed dress to the Paris Fashion Week catwalk just last week.

While the possibilities of 3D printing represent an exciting era for homemade products, the dangers of this freely available technology were also highlighted when 3D designs for guns were distributed online and successfully printed.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com