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While 3D printer costs remain high, some companies are experimenting with offering in-store 3D printing access to consumers. Staples was the first to make the announcement last fall. Now, it looks like UPS is joining them. The shipping company announced today it is testing 3D printers in San Diego stores and will expand to offering them in six locations shortly.
UPS said in a release the printers are meant to be used by startups, small businesses and retail customers who otherwise might not have the money to buy a printer. UPS said it foresees customers using them to print prototypes, custom objects, promotional materials and artistic work.
The printers are Stratasys’ Uprint SE Plus model, which costs $20,900 when bundled with a starter kit. These are professional grade printers that can print at a much higher quality than their consumer-level desktop cousins. While services like Shapeways are even higher quality, it is rare for the public to have access to any professional machine.
UPS has 4,300 store locations in the U.S. It has yet to announce when it will begin offering printers outside of San Diego. It also has not yet announced how the service will work. Staples, for example, accepts print orders online and then allows people to pick up print jobs in-store or have them delivered.
This post was updated at 11:45 a.m. PT to correct that UPS will test offering printers in six locations, not 60.