3-D printing company MakerBot is coming to a hardware store near you.
The Brooklyn-based firm will begin selling its printers at 12 Home Depot stores around the country — six in California, four in Illinois and two in New York — on Monday. The pilot program will offer the microwave-sized MakerBot Replicator printers, priced at $2,899, for sale, as well as the smaller Replicator Minis, which list for $1,375.
"This will open up the whole world of 3-D printing to people who wouldn't otherwise know about it — like moms and dads, electricians, contractors and DIY-home-improvement folks," said MakerBot chief executive Bre Pettis. "It's a good match."
MakerBot printers have been available on Home Depot's website for about a month, and sales have exceeded expectations, Pettis said. said. The stores will put up specially-designed kiosks where shoppers can see the machines in 3-D action. Trained MakerBot retail staff will also be on-site for the indefinite future in order to put the machines through their paces.
"MakerBot 3-D printers are yet another great technology that can serve particular needs of specific customers," said Todd Furneaux, senior merchant of Atlanta-based Home Depot, in a statement. The 2,264-unit chain reported sales for the first quarter of 2014 of $19.7 billion, a 2.9 percent increase over the year-earlier period, and earnings of $1.4 billion.
MakerBot, which was acquired in a $403 million deal two years ago by Minnesota-based Stratasys, already sells at Microsoft stores across the country as well as at Micro Center and B&H, not to mention at its own store in New York. Mr. Pettis is optimistic about the possibility of expanding merchandise to Home Depots nationwide as 3-D printing goes mainstream.