Last Wednesday, 17th February, the Australian branch of the international discount supermarket chain Aldi decided to include a 3D printer among its “Special Buys” of the week. To date, the German-based company’s decision is probably the most powerful declaration of faith in the 3D printing technology. More precisely, in its penetration of the home, indeed, the home of an average discount shop customer.
The printer on sale is manufactured by Australia’s Cocoon Create and is sold for 499 Australian dollars, the equivalent of about 325 Euro. The device is a classic Prusa i3 model, with a typical build volume of 20x20x18 cm, with a USB and SD capabilities. The printer comes with a spool of filament and the CURA slicer.
The sale is supposed to be followed by another one, this time of a 3D printing pen with a price tag of 79 AUD (about 50 Euro), also by Cocoon Create. Little is known about it yet, except that it is said to sport adjustable heat settings and work with 1.75 mm ABS and PLA filaments.
The devices, obviously not innovative, are not meant to herald a new qualitative revolution. It is very clearly about a quantitative aspect of 3D printing’s omnipresence. 3D printers are already on the shelves and in the workshops of electronics and DIY supermarkets. Now, ALDI has issued a message, stating that even grocery discount shops believe 3D printers to be commercially viable products. It appears increasingly more probable that other mass retailers may follow ALDI’s suit. Imagine what will happen if the machine on offer is actually reliable and easy to use?