Want to 3D print your own robot? The UPS Store can help you. After a successful trial in six locations over the last year, 3D printing is now available in nearly 100 UPS stores, making the chain the first nationwide retailer to offer the service. Apart from the convenience, the UPS store printers are professional quality, giving a much better result than the 3D printers available in the home-use market. If you need to 3D print a single item or component parts that are smaller than a bread bin in size, read on.
Of the expansion, vice president of marketing and sales at The UPS Store Michelle Van Slyke said, “We are committed to offering small business owners, entrepreneurs and consumers high-tech solutions in order to assist with all of their business needs. We launched the pilot to evaluate if there was demand for 3D print and we’re excited to be announcing an expansion, giving even more small business owners access to high-quality, professional 3D printing.”
UPS found that during its 2013 pilot program, the 3D print services were used by small businesses, startups, inventors, artists and a wide range of professionals. There were inventors who patented innovative product designs and entrepreneurs who prototyped an idea and successfully delivered a retail-ready product to market. One client even prototyped a robot! The company will be installing professional-quality Stratasys uPrint SE Plus printers. The UPS Store’s Daniel Remba states: “There are significant differences between home 3D printers and professional 3D printers. Many of the challenging and time-consuming steps used to prepare a simpler printer are fully automated on the uPrint SE Plus, leading to added precision and reliability, higher print quality and a success rate that is unmatched by a home printer.”
The 3D print service provider sector increased by 21 percent last year, according to the 2014 Wohlers Report. Increased access is likely to grow this even further. For a list of all the UPS Stores that will be offering the 3D printing service, please see here. If your locality isn’t on the list, UPS states it chose locations based on customer base and demand, so if you ask nicely, you might just get one in a store near you too.
YouTube screengrab and map via The UPS Store