Home Depot Gets Into the 3-D Printer Business

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MakerBot 3-D printers are now available through the home-improvement giant.

Lumber, faucet, hammer, 3-D printer – you can now buy all of these at Home Depot.

At first glance, you may not see how a 3-D printer fits in with the hardware supply giant, but, as Engadget said, “The Home Depot’s core business revolves around helping you craft things, so it stands to reason that you’d eventually find 3-D printers there, doesn’t it?”

Home Depot is now selling MakerBot 3-D printers online, as well as in 12 stores in California, Illinois and New York, as part of a pilot project.

Because of the printers’ ability to create parts and supplies, such as cup holders, U-clips and pipe stakes, Home Depot thinks they will appeal to more forward-thinking contractors and DIYers.

“It’s a pilot for us to test a potential disruptive technology, and to make sure we are on the forefront of a new innovative product,” Joe Downey, an online merchant at Atlanta-based Home Depot, told Bloomberg.

This move will bring 3-D printers to a more mainstream audience. Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot, said in a press release:

Imagine a world where you can 3-D print replacement parts and use 3-D printing as an integral part of design and building work. … We can’t wait to see what The Home Depot customers make with our products.

It’s not expected that the 3-D printers will create a new source of revenue for the home-improvement giant, but it is a way for Home Depot to stay ahead of its competition.

“As the home-improvement field faces increased competition from specialist retailers and e-commerce, new technology will become a more important way for stores to differentiate themselves,” Jocelyn Phillips, an IBISWorld analyst, told Bloomberg.

MakerBot’s 3-D printers and scanners cost $800 to $2,900.

What do you think of Home Depot’s move into 3-D printing? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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