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UPS Getting Into the 3-D Printing Business

3-D printing by Pop Culture Geek CC BY 2.0No big surprise that UPS is getting into the 3-D printing business. After all, it’s not much different from the other printing services that they’ve offered for years. It’s a natural extension that literally adds a new dimension to the service printing industry.

This is exactly where 3-D printing will make the most sense (and profit) in the coming decades. Sure it’s nice to think about having a 3-D printer on your desk at home – but ask yourself – how many practical and useful things are you going to make from extruded plastic that will make it a pay to own one? A lot of the stuff we use and need are made of metal or a combination of different materials that an inexpensive home printer just can’t produce. A service business like UPS can invest in the higher-cost industrial printers and serve a broader market.

Staples announced last year that they’re offering 3-D printing using ordinary paper (Belgium & the Netherlands only) – obviously this has a more limited use but it’s a great match for a company that’s in the paper and office supply business.

In a few years I expect it to be pretty standard operating procedure to purchase a ‘licensed’ replacement part 3-D file from a manufacturer that you can take to the local print shop to print out for you. No waiting for delivery or shipping charges!

3D Printing Goes Mainstream Retail (via The Atlantic)

Image: by Pop Culture Geek CC BY 2.0

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