Next to Home Depot's enormous bags of potting soil, multi-packs of light bulbs, and other home improvement goods is something new this week: 3D printers. The chain began stocking printers made by MakerBot in its stores in three states: California, Illinois, and New York as part of what Home Depot described to Bloomberg as a "pilot." The company hopes people will buy them to print one-off parts for projects, but still come back for things that can't be printed out, as well as to restock on spools of filament.
Print out a replacement part
MakerBot already has three retail stores of its own, and is available at Microsoft stores, Micro Center, and online. However Home Depot is the largest home improvement chain in the world, and puts it in a place where people are not typically going to pick up electronics. The company also began selling MakerBot products, and filament refills on its site three months ago, but you couldn't pick it up in stores.
MakerBot's least expensive product is the Replicator Mini, which runs $1,375 and can print out designs up to 76 cubic inches in volume. Its most high-end product is the Replicator Z18, which costs $6,499 and is aimed at professionals who want to print things up to 2,592 cubic inches in size. The most expensive model you can currently get from Home Depot though is the fifth-generation desktop Replicator model, which runs $2,899 and can print things around the size of a loaf of bread.