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 with nearly 100 additional locations nationwide. Over the past year, the six existing 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 % last year, according to The Wohlers Report 2014.
During the 2013 pilot program, the 3D 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.
“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. We look forward to being a part of the future of the 3D printing industry.” said Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing and sales at The UPS Store.
The UPS Store is kicking off this expansion by designating this week as its first annual 3D Print Week — #3DPrintWeek. Now small business owners and consumers across the country will have access to 3D printing at a much higher quality than an at-home 3D printer could provide – conveniently located at participating The UPS Store centers across the country.
According to the company, the selected Stratasys uPrint SE Plus is a professional grade 3D printer designed to accurately produce complex engineering parts, prototypes, and one of a kind objects. The heated build chamber and soluble supports allow entrepreneurs, engineers, home inventors and makers to produce parts true to their designs.
“There are significant differences between home 3D printers and professional 3D printers,” said Daniel Remba, small business technology leader at The UPS Store. “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 UPS Store and Stratasys will join forces to host a Twitter chat titled “How 3D print can help your small business” on Tuesday, 23th September from 7 pm to 8 pm EST (4 pm to 5 pm. PST). The chat can be followed using the hashtag, #3DPrintWeek. Small business owners can get their 3D print questions answered by experts including Daniel Remba, small business technology leader for @TheUPSStore; Mark Skokut, senior application engineer @Stratasys and Brian Moran, small business expert @BrianMoran.
Here’s a full list of The UPS Store locations offering 3D printing.