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UPS Stores announced Wednesday that it will start offering 3D printing services in a select number of its retail stores, making it the first national U.S. retailer to do so. The first store is in San Diego. The company plans to offer the service in a Washington D.C. store next week. There are plans to offer the service at four more stores, but those haven’t been determined yet, says Brandon Olson, public relations supervisor for UPS Stores.

The move by UPS is part of a test to see how the service is received by customers and what the right price points are. UPS’s decision follows a survey it conducted of small business owners to gauge their interest in the service. Olson said the survey found a “strong response and desire to use the service.”

In a statement, Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and small business solutions at The UPS Store, said: “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. By offering 3D printing capabilities in-center, we’re able to help further our small business customers’ opportunities for success.

Here’s a video UPS put up about the announcement:

UPS is using the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus printer for the test. According to Stratasys, the uPrint SE Plus 3D printer prints in nine colors and uses fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology “to build in real ABS plus thermoplastic, creating models and functional prototypes that are durable, stable and pinpoint accurate.” The printer sells for $20,900.

Olson said UPS will also offer design services to help customers translate ideas into printable design files.

What do you think of the news? Have we entered the era of the corner 3D printing shop? How long until Kinko’s gets into the act?  If service grows, would it impact your decision to buy a 3D printer?

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Food
*Sustainable/green design
*Science
*Young Makers
*Action sports


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Comments

    1. mrmikejs says:

      That’s a good point, but still slightly different than what UPS is doing. Staples is the first major chain to carry a 3D printer for sale, and first to offer in-store printing service in Europe. But they don’t have that service in the US yet.

  1. UPS told me they will offer design services for people who either don’t want to build their design files or don’t know how. The big services online like Shapeways and iMaterialize do that, too.

  2. John Patton says:

    It would be like Photomat operated for years because of cost and expertise to made your own color photos was to great for the common man. At some point 3d printer will become like today’s All-in-one’s, easy but not cheap to use. Stick part box, scan, remove part, print. Unseen detail will have to come for library for a nominal cost of course. lol.

  3. James Dillner says:

    How is this revolutionary news? You can already purchase 3D printed parts from lots of vendors, including many on Ebay who use the same equipment.

    1. Revolutionary might be a stretch, but what’s different here is the service is available in a retail environment, a 21st century print shop if you will.

  4. Shane Mark says:

    That’s a good point, but still slightly different than what UPS is doing. Staples is the first major chain to carry a 3D printer for sale. UPS will offer design services for people who either don’t want to build their design files or don’t know how. The big services online like Shapeways and iMaterialize do that, too. Thanks a lot……