3D Printers Evolve in Russian Retail
Three-dimensional printers continue to conquer our planet. Their emerging in retail has become a new stage of their progress. Last May, 3D printers appeared in Staples stores and now, finally you can findthemonthe Russian market. Cube has become Russian retail pioneer, being a household printer developed by one of the industry leaders -- 3D Systems. While it has simple technical specifications, the printer is not surprisingly enjoying leadership in its class -- this model has major possibilities, including security approval for children, which could be crucial in the context of Russian (and foreign) bureaucracy. Staples also has this printer in stock.
If you’re stumped by the phrase “three-dimensional printers”, here you go: these are the devices making solid objects from the most various materials, such as plastic, ceramics, metal, wood, and even chocolate. There are even live tissue printing projects, although for now such innovations are limited by testing prototypes. The concept is favored for no need of complex molding, casting, and shaping procedures used in traditional manufacturing. Source materials are usually come as fiber coils or liquids, and the device replicates digital models by layering the material to get almost any structure of almost any shape and complexity. In other words, you can easily print a case for your mobile phone or the whole army of toy soldiers for your kid, and the quality will be as good as industrial products: the thickness of one layer in most models does not exceed human hair and some models are even created especially for jewelers! All you need is printer, consumables and computer models, which can even be created by yourself, if you have basic modeling skills and some time. Still, one can easily find such free models in the web.
Within last four years, such devices could have only been purchased online, which was difficult for the Russian users. Basic printers costing 30,000 RUB have been a usual thing in the EU and USA, but in Russia, one had to pay double or even more, which contradicted with their ‘basic’ status. And even purchase overseas and trying to take them home manually had bureaucratic and customs duty problems. Appearance of printers in retail will doubtfully naturally decrease prices, maybe even vice versa, but customs will no longer be the headache for the customer.
Among Russian retailers, there seem to be such famous companies as M.Видео(M.Video)and Юлмарт (Yulmart). Cube can be purchased for 85,000 RUB. Manufacturer’s website offers it for $1299 (exclusive of customs duty and increase of retail price). No doubt, the number of retailers will grow increasingly trying to take benefit of the emerging demand. And the increase of overall production may lower the cost price and make them cheaper. This will be just a matter of time.
Apart from the printer itself, the user needs consumables. In case of Cube, it’s an ABS plastic (impact-resistant resin with already usual polystyrene). It’s also possible to use PLA plastic (polylactide with organic basis). Although PLA is not very durable, it remains a popular choice. 1kg ABS coil will cost you 2700 RUB, which is close to the European prices (Staples UK offers it for about 2000 RUB). Even at such cost, printing can be quite worthwhile. For example, 50 gr plastic case for smartphone costs 200-300 RUB, but the cost of its printed clone will be 135 RUB, plus minor power expenses. Moreover, a lot of companies begin to find their way into market just now, so the prices for consumables will reduce.
Does it mean that you have to go to the store? There’s no clear answer to that question. If you have extra 85-90 thousand RUB, you can go and buy Cube right now. On the other hand, there are so many printers for different applications. In time, we’ll see wide range of models. And the prices for consumables are expected to fall down as well, because for now, this industry is quite young. But if you still have the idea of buying a three-dimensional printer without waiting for wider stock or Internet purchase delivery, you can find one on the shelves of retail stores.