The news that iMakr, the world’s largest 3D print store, will be running a pop-up shop in London’s Selfridges over the Christmas period is big. Not only does it signify that mainstream stores are taking notice of 3D printing’s potential, it will also introduce the technology to a whole new audience of potential enthusiasts. From October 24th to the end of 2013, shoppers in Selfridges will be able to buy 3D printers, browse 3D printed art from some of the world’s top designers and even attend free training sessions to discover how the process works.
The thing that looks most likely to draw in the punters, however, is the ability to have a miniature replica of yourself printed right there in store. So, if your loved ones have been nagging you all year for a tiny miniature statue of yourself, you know where to shop this Christmas. Getting yourself printed is a pretty straightforward process.
You stand in the white scanning booth and get snapped from about 40 different angles by cameras all around you and this creates the design that gets sent to the printer. The finished mini-you will set you back something between 50 and 200 quid, mobile casino depending on the size. Hopefully that doesn’t mean tubbier people get charged extra.
Considering this is a technology website, that would be bad news for most of the people reading this article and that includes the person who wrote it.
It’s an interesting move for iMakr, which operates online services as well as its store in Clerkenwell, East London. Since opening in May the store has been one of the few places in London where casual enthusiasts can see 3D printers in action live as opposed to just watching videos online. That makes it a hugely significant part of the technology’s push towards the mainstream, not just in the UK but worldwide.
It can”t be downplayed how big a moment the temporary move to Selfridges could be. The success or failure of the pop-up store will give a massive indication as to how ready the average man on the street is for 3D printing. Both Selfridges and iMakr have said that, should it prove popular, the pop-up store might stay open longer or perhaps even become a permanent fixture. A 3D printer store on Oxford Street would be a Neil Armstrong-like step into mainstream territory for the still-niche technology. Our eyes will very much be on Selfridges this yule to see how things develop.