A short moment’s walk away from Britain’s busiest shopping hub of Oxford St, 3D printing is now available to anyone walking off the streets and into any of The Color Company’s 7 London stores.
Already a 2D printing staple for the glut of media and advertising companies in the Capital, the company has taken the leap into 3D printing by installing an Objet 30 printer into its Mayfair production base, open 24 hours a day for anyone to simply walk in and print a part.
Having completed a three week introductory period, in which staff were trained in how to use the machine by its supplier Tri-Tech 3D, interest is running high from engineering models to London’s special effects companies wanting physical prototypes for digital projects.
The idea is part of owner and all-round entrepreneur Elgin Loane’s plan to expand the use of the technology.
In an interview earlier this year with the Financial Times, Loane said: “I want to raise awareness of what 3D printing can offer.”
“London is an ideal place to begin a venture of this sort because of the concentration in the city of small businesses many of which are involved in creating new products in small volumes.”
The idea is initially to promote the service, with lots of visible point-of-sale material taking up the front of the store, with the printing process on show for the time being.
It’s interesting to see a printing bureau grow up from a 2D background, as many of the existing 3D printing bureaux having been modelmakers for decades previously, with initial plans stemming from the company’s work with advertising agencies that do a lot of one-off pitches and prototypes.
With great positioning of its stores around some of London’s creative areas it seems like a great way for companies to get a firsthand look at what they can get from 3D printed parts, and another step towards the commercialisation of the technology.