Three-dimensional printing may be as easy as tapping the "easy" button, now that Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) has become the first major U.S. retailer to begin stocking 3-D printers. The retailer is offering 3D Systems' (NYSE:DDD) Cube 3D at some of its stores.

The printer that cranks out customized physical products isn't cheap. The office-supplies superstore chain has been offering the Cube 3D in different colors for $1,299 apiece through its website for some time, but now it's available at select stores.

This is only the beginning, as 3-D printing will get cheaper over time, and the idea will appeal to more consumers as the systems get more affordable.

These are interesting times for 3-D printing, and it only helps that 3D Systems came through with strong revenue growth this quarter earlier this week.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Several analysts upgraded Seagate (NASDAQ:STX) after the hard-drive maker posted better-than-expected quarterly results. Revenue and earnings did slide sharply at Seagate, but not as badly as the market was fearing.
  • Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) also posted better-than-expected quarterly results. The controversial nutritional-supplements company also raised its guidance, and that'll put the "ack!" in Ackman.
  • Is it time to buy back into coal stocks? Alpha Natural Resource (OTC:ANRZQ) posted a wider quarterly loss than it did a year earlier, but the $0.47-per-share deficit was far kinder than the $0.58 in red ink that the pros were targeting.