UPS Stores Launch 3D Printing for Small Businesses

ups 3d printing

If the cost of owning a 3D printer is holding your business back from taking advantage of its benefits, The UPS Store plans to lend a helping hand.

The franchise retail division of UPS recently announced that it is offering 3D printing capabilities at some of its locations. The idea is being tested first in the San Diego area. The company expects to expand the service elsewhere soon.

In a prepared statement, Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and small business solutions at The UPS Store explains:

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.

3D printers start at over a thousand dollars and take up considerable space so it’s not feasible for some small businesses to purchase their own, especially for only occasional use.

A recent poll of small businesses by The UPS Store discovered interest in the service for creating artistic renderings, prototypes and promotional materials, the company said.

Select UPS Stores will be equipped with a uPrint SE Plus 3D printer. These units can print up to nine colors and are capable of creating usable prototypes. Stratasys, the company that makes the printer, says it uses ABSplus thermoplastic to build its 3D renderings.

For more on the technology and the service see the video from The UPS Store below.

Image: Video Still


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

11 Reactions
  1. A 3D printer huh? While I do see the value, is it really that essential? I ask this because I am more of a minimalist when it comes to doing business. If it is not that important, then you may be better off without it.

    • Many great inventions we not essential at the time they were developed. No one really needed those foolish horseless carriages back in the day after all…but of course automobiles are now essential to most peoples daily lives…lot’s of other examples…many types of business already see 3d printing as essential…a year ago my Dentist thought he would never consider using 3d printing to make crowns after all he could take a mold and have one made in a week or so…architects who need models to make a sale are beginning to see this tech as essential….lot’s and lots of examples and the Doctors who save a babies life recently using a 3d printer to probably consider it an essential tool going forward…will you need one? maybe not but then the world only has one of you and millions of people who will discover that this is an essential technology it’s ONLY a matter of time…

  2. Many small businesses might need a part of have a concept for which they would like to produce a prototype, but what kind of input is needed for the 3-D printer? Won’t it demand a lot more than a 2-dimensional drawing? Won’t the person with the idea need a lot of training?

  3. Only certain businesses will see 3D printing as essential but there are plenty of independent drafters, architects, inventors, et al, who may view this as a chance to compete with their bigger competitors. The ability to build a 3D model of a job you’re proposing could be a difference maker for some or help them take their business to the next level.

    For these types of businesses, it’s just not practical. If you buy the printer on your own, chances are you’re going to have to hire someone that knows how to run/service it.

    Anything that helps level the playing field is a positive step, I believe. And while UPS is just the first to really publicize a public 3D printer, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time/demand that will drive others to compete with this business.

  4. Reminds me of the person who said 30 years ago that he could see the need for 4 maybe 5 computers tops being needed in the world at any one time!

  5. Can i go in and watch? 3D printers are so cool!

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