Staples is an example of a major retailer that jumped on the trendy tech bandwagon when it began selling 3D printers. But as developments in the 3D printing space continue to move forward (such as the Stratasys acquisition of MakerBot for $604 million), it’s becoming clear that 3D printing is not temporary trend, but an emerging industry. Keying in on this development, UPS has decided to enter the space by offering 3D printing services at select U.S. locations.
The announcement is a pretty major milestone as it makes UPS the first nationwide retailer to offer such a service. Staples has its own in-store 3D printing service called Staples Easy 3D, but so far it’s reportedly only available in Belgium and the Netherlands. Using the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus printer, UPS will target its service at small businesses looking to harness the power of 3D printing without committing to the expense of owning a 3D printer.
Explaining the reasoning behind the move, UPS Store vice president Michelle Van Slyke 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.”
The first location will be in San Diego with additional locations scheduled to be rolled out across the U.S. in the near future. You can see what the UPS 3D printing process looks like in the video above.