Imagine being able to design your very own drone, or create a musical instrument and print it out. iMakr is a 3D-printing store that is giving customers the chance to try this cutting-edge technology out.
The UK-based iMakr opened its first U.S. location in Manhattan’s Lower East Side last month, following the success of its first store in London.
“Demand has been very strong. We have been selling quite a few of these excellent machines since opening last month,” said iMakr CEO Sylvain Preumont. “We sell the printers that people can actually afford. We focus on the machines that work easily and are ready for use out of the box. They retail between $1,000 and $3,000.”
The 3D printers for sale include those manufactured by Makerbot, Solidoodle and Ultimaker. But Preumont says the store has more to offer than just printers, as it aims to be the “one-stop shop” for 3D printing needs. iMakr holds training sessions and workshops, and sells a wide range of filaments and other 3D printing materials used to make high resolution prototypes and complex models.
“People come with their own ideas and there is never two of the same thing,” Preumont said.
“Some customers are designing drones, while others want to make shoes, jewelry or toys.”
While 3D printers could disrupt the manufacturing industry, it’s the shops that will change the way consumers adopt the innovative concept. iMakr is helping take the multi-billion dollar industry mainstream by catering to users with varying levels of experience.
“Initially we had more professionals; jewelers, designers and architects, but now the customer base is expanding” Preumont said. “We are seeing parents buy a machine for their kids because they know 3D printing will be the future.”
Despite its recent rapid development, 3D printing is still considered an industry with enormous growth potential. According to research from Canalys, the size of the 3D printing market is expected to hit $3.8 billion dollars this year, and soar to $16.2 billion by 2018.
“3D printing will change the world. It’s growing in popularity,” Preumont said. “It enables everyone to be a designer. There will soon be a day when we all have a 3D printer at home.”