Maplin Brings 3D Printing to the High Street

ROTHERHAM, England — (BUSINESS WIRE) — July 8, 2013 — Electronics specialist Maplin is set to revolutionise the way people think about 3D printing, by becoming the first major high-street retailer in the UK to sell 3D printers.

The Velleman K8200 3D printer kit will go on sale in selected stores from Tuesday 9th July priced at £699.99 and is available to pre-order from the Maplin website at www.maplin.co.uk.

3D printing works by melting plastic filament, creating solid objects by building them up in very fine plastic layers. The first step is to create the 3D object design by using digital software on a computer. This design is transmitted to the 3D printer which begins to build up the design in plastic.

The K8200 3D printer is not much larger than a standard paper printer, is built with an aluminium frame, and comes with Repetier software for product design and five metres of PLA (polylactic acid) — the 3mm plastic wire used to create the desired 3D objects.

The length of time it takes to print a 3D object depends on the size and complexity of the design. For example a phone case takes around 30 minutes to print, while larger and more complicated items would take longer.

From prototypes for new inventions to intricate models; 3D printing opens up a whole world of possibilities for creating replacement parts, bespoke toys or objets d’art. The only limit is the size of the printable area which is 20cm³.

Oliver Meakin, Commercial Director at Maplin, says: “We have been excited about 3D printing technology for a long time, as its principles of innovation and creation sit perfectly with what Maplin has been doing for over 40 years. Until now, the cost of 3D printers limited their use to the professional market. However, the Velleman K8200 kit has enabled us to introduce 3D printing to the mass market.

“We selected this model primarily because it offers high performance printing at an affordable price, making it accessible to our customers. In addition, it requires assembly before use, which fits with the ‘build it yourself’ ethos so central to Maplin’s heritage. Part of the enjoyment lies in putting the kit together, so users are not just investing in a great product, but an experience too.

“Our in-store Maplineers are technical experts in this field and therefore we are in a great position to assist our customers in understanding this product, which for many will be completely new. This is only a first step for Maplin into the world of 3D printing and we look forward to developing this category further in the future.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Imagery is available from Email Contact or Email Contact
  • The dimensions of the Velleman K8200 printer are as follows: width 60cm, depth 45cm, height 60cm. It weighs 8.7kg (including the power supply)
  • The Velleman K8200 is compatible with both PLA and ABS plastics
  • The colours of PLA plastic on sale at Maplin for ongoing use with the K8200 3D printer are black, pink, orange, yellow, green, red, blue and white, and cost £29.99 each per 1kg. In order to create a multi-coloured object, it would be necessary to print each coloured part separately and then attach them together
  • The Velleman K8200 kit includes:
    • Linear ball bearings: 8 and 10 mm
    • Technology: FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) for PLA and ABS
    • Power supply: 12 V / 3 A max
    • FTDI USB 2.0 to Serial, ArduinoTM compatible (Sanguino derived motherboard)
  • Typical printing speed: 120 mm/s
  • Maximum print speed: 150 to 300 mm/s (depending on the object to be printed)
  • The printer requires a computer (MAC, WIN or LINUX) and an internet connection to access the online manual and building instructions
  • Nominal mechanical resolution:
    • X and Y: 0.015 mm (smallest step the printing plate can move in the X and Y direction)
    • Z: 0.781 μm (smallest step the printing plate can move in the Z direction)
  • Nominal printing resolution:
    • Wall thickness (X,Y): 0.5 mm.
    • Layer thickness (Z) : 0.20 – 0.25 mm.
  • Software:

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