uPrint SE Plus 3D printer complete package with examples (via Stratasys)
3D printing has moved beyond its stereotype of being restricted to corporate or hobbyist implementation. More and more businesses are moving towards the trend of not only demoing the technology but also selling it outright through their respective stores. Microsoft is one such company; they have recently (back in June of this year) started expanding their repertoire by highlighting MakerBot’s Replicator 2 in a select few of their retail stores in San Diego. Patrons unfamiliar with the technology can see exactly what it is capable of accomplishing as well as purchase their own if they are so inclined. Staples is yet another company who have embraced the popularity of 3D Printers and have started offering Cubify’s 3D systems at a few of their select outlets. It is not hard to see that the once fledgling technology is set to bring significant profits to both ‘brick and mortar’ retail stores as well as those with ‘virtual’ shelves in the immediate future. Even those who are not able to purchase one of their own can have their designs fabricated through a host of online retailers including Amazon, Shapeways and Sculpteo to name just a small few.
Occasionally a few retailers will start offering products usually not associated with what their respective stores have to offer. Like gas stations offering DVDs or furniture stores selling sandwiches, something just does not seem quite right about it. A great example comes, yet again, out of San Diego with the United Parcel Service’s recent announcement that the shipping company will soon begin offering 3D printing services in a few of their retail stores. UPS’s test stores will be outfitted with Stratasys’ uPrint SE Plus 3D printer, which offer finer details when compared to others at the same price-point ($20,000+ US). The idea of incorporating the printers in their retail stores is to provide small businesses, start-ups and customers the opportunity to create their own projects who may not be able to afford purchasing their own equipment. UPS has envisioned customers taking advantage of their new service that can be custom-tailored to suit their individual needs from allowing businesses a way to quickly prototype their products to simply creating a birthday gift that can be shipped-out as soon as its manufactured all from the same store. The company decided to include the service after conducting a recent poll directed at 86 small businesses, which showed that a majority were interested at trying the service to help in creating promotional materials, artistic renderings as well as creating prototypes. It’s unclear as to whether or not all UPS stores in the greater San Diego area will offer 3D printing services, however if those few stores are successful the service will be expanded to retail stores nation-wide.
I have to ask... what is taking so long to roll out accessible 3D printers?
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