The UPS Store has announced that they will be bringing a 3D printing service to 6 of their stores within the San Diego area. If this trial is successful they will expand the service to additional cities across the United States.
UPS commissioned a nationwide poll of 86 small business owners from their Small Biz Buzz online community which showed that there was high interest in trying a 3D printing service. The need was especially strong for those interested in creating prototypes, artistic renderings and promotional materials.
“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 found that most businesses require 3D printing that is of a higher quality than is possible with a home desktop machine, but the $20,000 investment required for a professional machine is beyond most small businesses. They are trialling their service with Stratasys uPrint SE Plus Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology printers that can print in nine colors using Stratasys’ ABSplus thermoplastic.
The Stratasys printers cost around $21,000 and produce highly detailed and accurate prints, which is ideal for producing parts which may need to fit into each other or some other object. UPS will be able to produce items like engineering parts, functional prototypes, acting props, architectural models, fixtures for cameras, lights and cables.
The UPS Store network has more than 4,300 locations across the country and it might not be too long until business owners in other cities can utilize this service.