The Home Depot is teaming up with 3-D printing hardware maker MakerBot to bring the future technology to the masses, at least the masses that live near 12 stores across the states of California, Illinois, and New York.
On July 14, select stores began stocking MakerBot’s Replicator line of printers and scanners. This marks the first-ever foray into selling 3-D printers in-store for the big-box retailer, and comes roughly one month after competitor Lowe's unveiled its own sci-fi technology in the form of a virtual reality showroom called the “Holoroom.”
In addition to selling the printer, Home Depot stores will feature special kiosks where customers can try the technology before they buy the printer.
What are the practical applications of a 3-D printer? Not that many—at least at the moment. The device can currently only print out predesigned objects or scan existing objects to be converted into new designs. But in the future, 3-D printers could have construction and design applications, from printing out a certain kind of nut or screw on-the-fly to replicating specialized tools.