The UPS Store has just announced plans to offer in-store 3D printing services to their customers. The new program is rolling out in some of their San Diego stores first and they will add up to six locations nationwide in the near future.
UPS believes that having access to 3D printers will benefit small businesses, start-ups and anyone else who has a need for rapid prototyping but can't afford to drop thousands of dollars on a printer for their business or personal hobby. They've picked an excellent printer for it too; they're going to be placing Stratasys uPrint SE Plus models in their stores. Each uPrint SE Plus 3D printer retails for around $20,000.
"Start-ups, entrepreneurs and small business owners may not have the capital to purchase a 3D printer on their own, but they may have a need to show prototypes to their current and potential customers," said Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and small business solutions at The UPS Store. "By offering 3D printing capabilities in-center, we're able to help further our small business customers' opportunities for success."
UPS's new uPrint SE Plus 3D printers use Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology to produce prototypes for their customers. During FDM a plastic is heated and then precisely extruded onto a print bed. The plastic hardens as soon as it is laid down, leaving a firm surface to build future layers on. One layer at a time, the prototype emerges.
The 3D printers UPS plans to put in stores will create prototypes with ABSplus thermoplastic. ABSplus is available in nine colors (ivory, white, black, dark gray, red, blue, olive green, nectarine and fluorescent yellow) and depending on UPS's policies; customers may have the option to create their own custom colors too.
UPS believes that this process will help their customers create objects like engineering parts, functional prototypes, acting props, architectural models, fixtures for cameras, lights and more.
You can take a look at a short video detailing the announcement here: