3D Printing will be available at various UPS Store locations (Photo via Fast Radius & UPS)


Ever wanted something 3D printed but don't have the money to shell out for a GOOD in home machine? Or maybe there are no 3D printing services close by (like a hackerspace or some person with a printer)? With this technology on the rise, it's in-demand and UPS is here to answer the call. The delivery company recently announced plans to launch a full-scale on-demand 3D printing manufacturing network. The service will be made available in more than 60 UPS Store locations around the U.S. Starting this year and rolling into 2017.


For this new service, UPS teamed up with the On Demand Production Platform and 3D printing factory from Fast Radius, which is a provider of on-demand part manufacturing. In addition to this, the company will also collaborate with SAP for an end-to-end industrial offering that mixes SAP's supply chain offerings with UPS' on-demand manufacturing solution and global logistics network to make the process simpler. SAP and UPS teaming up also allows for manufacturing companies of different sizes to access on-demand features easily.


“UPS is a leader in bringing industrial-strength 3D printing to reality. By building this disruptive technology into our supply chain models, we also bring new value to our manufacturing customers of all sizes,” said Stan Deans, president, UPS Global Distribution & Logistics. “Additive manufacturing technology is still developing rapidly so ‘manufacturing as a service’ is a smart approach for many companies.”


So how does it work? Users visit the Fast Radius website to put in 3D printing orders, which will then be transferred to the closest 3D manufacturing or UPS Store based on the speed, geography, and product quality needed. Depending on the size of the order, some can be completed and shipped out the same day. If you're not in the U.S. There's no problem. The company said they'll take global orders as well. The new service will have big benefits for businesses looking to utilize 3D printing including, manufacturers who want to reduce inventory for slow moving parts, high quality rapid prototypes delivered quickly, and cutting down costs for manufacturers with short production runs.


Though many may not know it The UPS Store has been offering 3D printing services in certain locations since 2013, but not on such a wide scale. This made them the first retailer to make 3D printing service available in store. “Connecting all The UPS Store locations into a larger network provides more opportunity for new customers to access our printers and gives customers added flexibility to match their requirements with the appropriate UPS location,” said Daniel Remba, Small Business Technology Leader for The UPS Store, Inc.


With UPS getting in on the 3D printing game it should be no time til we see other retailers like Office Depot, FedEx, and even Kinkos offering their own services. The more accessible the technology is, the better.


If you don't know, I 3D printed a Spherical Raspberry Pi Case in a past project. I could have used a local option.


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