November 30, 2016
Is it past Thanksgiving? It is? That means the Christmas season has begun. Soon enough every radio station will be enchanting (or annoying) you with Deck the Halls and Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. Everyone will be out looking for the perfect gift, and 3D printing offers the chance for truly unique presents.
A pilot program at Walmart in Ancaster, Ontario will be looking to help spread Christmas cheer with customizable 3D printed ornaments priced at a customer-friendly $10. Unlike other in-store 3D printed gift options, Walmart’s ornaments will not be printed on-site. Citing architecture that is too complex for most desktop 3D printers to handle, the ornaments will instead be printed at 3DMakeable Inc., service bureau located in London, Ontario. Turnaround time is expected to be around eight hours.
Along with offering customizable ornaments at a reasonable price, the pilot program is intended to provide information about scaling demand for both Walmart and 3DMakeable. The program will also measure how interested the public is in 3D printed products, relying on sales numbers to tell the story rather than surveys.
Reflecting the speed with which 3D printing is able to go from idea to design to build, the program was up and running in nine weeks following the initial pitch to Walmart. Planning was provided by Intersect, the innovation and custom services division of Symbility Solutions Inc. The pilot program will run through December 20.
While this is hardly the first commercial offering for 3D printed holiday-themed consumer goods, it is one of the first to be presented in-store, rather than from specialized 3D printing websites. If the pilot is deemed a success, it isn’t hard to imagine it spreading to other retail chains, with a catalog that offers more than simple ornaments.
Below you’ll find a video about how a 3D printer can add to holiday festivities.