The UPS Store isn't just for package pick-ups and copying documents—it does 3D print jobs too. And pretty soon more people across the U.S. will be able to make their trinket designs a reality: UPS recently announced a big expansion to its 3D printing services.
Soon, nearly 100 more UPS Store locations nationwide will be equipped with a Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printer. You can find a complete list of 3D print-enabled UPS Stores on the company's site. UPS did not provide a timeline for when the 3D printing expansion would be complete or what, specifically, it meant by "nearly 100 additional stores." At this writing, UPS had 45 stores nationwide up and running with 3D print services.
To kick-off its 3D printing expansion, UPS is calling September 22-26 "3D Print Week." The first of what the company hopes will be an annual celebration complete with the requisite Twitter hashtag, #3DPrintWeek. That hashtag will host a "How 3D print can help your small business" conversation at 7 P.M. Eastern on Tuesday.
The slow rise of 3D printing
While still largely in the domain of the tech obsessed, 3D printing is slowly going mainstream. In May 2013, Staples began selling 3D printers in its stores across the U.S, followed closely by UPS' pilot project in six store that August. The Microsoft Store also went big on 3D printing in 2013 by expanding a MakerBot partnership to 18 locations where shoppers can purchase MakerBot 3D printers or check out demos of a 3D printer in action.
More recently, Amazon launched a 3D printing store in July where customers can customize various doodads and have them shipped to their home.
3D printing is slowly becoming a big deal and we can expect to see more efforts from companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Staples, and UPS to make the technology more accessible to everyone.