After test-offering their Replicator 2 printer in Microsoft stores on the West Coast, MakerBot will begin stocking Microsoft stores across the country with 3D printers. The company will also offer demos that allow people to see 3D printing firsthand.
On top of the original stores in San Francisco, Seattle and Palo Alto, 15 more locations will be added. The full list is available on the MakerBot website.
“We’ve seen tremendous interest and enthusiasm at the three initial ‘MakerBot Experience’ stores,” MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis said in a release. “Rolling the program out to 15 additional Microsoft Stores supercharges our mission to bring 3D printing to more people.”
MakerBot’s Replicator line encompasses the most popular consumer 3D printers on the market. The Replicator 2, which is its 4th generation machine, are currently for sale on the Microsoft website for $2,549 when bundled with MakerBot’s service plan — the same price as when bought directly from MakerBot.
This isn’t Microsoft’s first venture into 3D printing. At its BUILD conference in June, Microsoft announced the inclusion of a 3D printer driver in Windows 8.1. While including printers in their stores signals a move toward the mainstream for 3D printing, it’s hard to imagine people looking for a laptop or xBox being convinced to pick up a 3D printer too. But it will be a highly public place to demonstrate what they can do.
“3D printing is a significant technological innovation, and we want all our customers to experience it first-hand, to learn how they can use and benefit from it in their own lives,” Microsoft retail stores COO David McAughan said in the release.
This article was updated at 2 p.m. PT to note Microsoft sells the printer online bundled with MakerBot’s service plan, which results in a higher price than buying the printer on its own.