Lowe’s Innovation Labs is now offering 3-D printing of household hardware items from a Lowe’s-owned Orchard Supply Store in Mountain View, California. While 3-D printing is becoming more commonplace, it takes a certain knowledge to program a printer to create an item. With Lowe’s new system, average homeowners are able to design and print their own ideas, no special knowledge required.
Lowe’s service is meant to help customers with no knowledge of 3-D printing create something from scratch or from a scanned item. It offers a list of templates to get the ball rolling and specially-trained sales associates are on hand to help. Customers can also take their designs home, work on them and bring them back to be printed.
A variety of materials are available for customers to choose from, from plastic to stainless steel to yes, gold. Some of the designs have to be sent out to third-party printers, but there are some that can be printed at the store.
This technology will help both the consumer and the retailer. It allows shoppers a wider variety of products to choose from, as the store can only stock so many. It can also help those who are looking for a replacement for a one-of-a-kind item or a unique item that specifically matches their decor. It will bring homeowners’ dreams to life!
“It makes it very easy for the average person to be able to take something that’s in their head and solve a need that they have,” said Kyle Nel, Executive Director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. “If you can take red eye out of a photo you can create pretty much anything.”
The project stems from the Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ first effort – the Holoroom, a home-improvement simulator with 3-D and augmented reality technologies – and builds on its second project, the OSHbot, which was equipped with a 3-D scanner to help customers quickly find miscellaneous items.
Sources and Photos: Advertising Age, Lowe’s Innovation Labs