According to a press release from UPS, the nations largest franchise system for shipping and office related needs, has now entered the 3D printing arena offering professional grade 3D printing to some of their locations across the country. Here is an excerpt from their release last month:
San Diego, September 22, 2014
First Nationwide Retailer to Offer 3D Print Plans to Expand to Nearly 100 Centers Nationwide to Better Meet the Needs of Small Business Owner
Following the successful launch of 3D print in six markets across the country, The UPS Store® is expanding 3D printing services to meet the growing demands of its small business customers to nearly 100 additional locations nationwide. As the first nationwide retailer to offer 3D printing services in-store, in collaboration with Stratasys, The UPS Store continues to evolve its services to better meet the needs of small business owners. Over the past year, the six locations saw demand for 3D print continuing to increase across a broad spectrum of customers. This upward trend is in line with the 3D print industry, which also experienced rapid growth. In fact, the 3D print service provider sector increased by 21 percent last year, according to The Wohlers Report 2014. During the 2013 pilot program, the print services were used by small businesses, startups, inventors, artists and a wide range of professionals to transform their ideas into reality. From inventors who patented innovative product designs to entrepreneurs who prototyped an idea and successfully delivered a retail-ready product to market, there were many success stories.”
Read more of the original press release visit www.theupsstore.com/3dprinting
This shift in business offerings by a major national retailer signals the growing demand and potential for the 3D printing revolution. For those unfamiliar with 3D printing, it is essentially a type of industrial robot, according to wikipedia, that uses data provided by 3D modeling software to lay down layers of a material to create the cross sections of the 3D model. Materials from metals to polymers can be formed into nearly any geometric shape and complexity. What makes this technology so revolutionary is that it is available to hobbyists and commercial companies alike at relatively low prices. Many are not only extremely affordable but small enough to replace the inkjet printer on your desk. 3D printers are now used across the spectrum of fabrication which include military parts fabrication in war zones and architects offices for structural mock-ups. This technology is even being used to create nanoscale objects that can only be viewed through a microscope.
What makes the introduction of this service at UPS so important is the fact that you no longer are required to make the investment of purchasing a 3D printer to take advantage of its offerings. For some, it is now as simple as visiting your local UPS store around the corner. They can even ship it for you when it’s done!