UPS Makes 3-D Printers Available in Nearly 100 Stores Nationwide

The shipping giant launched a pilot program a year ago where it put six printers in select UPS stores. Now, the program is expanding.

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By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

From Alabama to Hawaii to Idaho, 3-D printers are gearing up to become what fax machines were in the "80s.

The UPS Store launched a pilot program in the summer of 2013 where it put six 3-D printers in franchise stores in select cities across the country. The program was such a success that the shipping giant is expanding the program more than 15 times over. Soon, there will be 3-D printing machines available in nearly 100 UPS Stores across the U.S., according to a statement released from the company today.

Related: How This 3-D Printing Startup Is Pushing the Boundaries of the Retail Experience

The printers, called Stratasys uPrint SE Plus, are a level above home desktop versions, giving entrepreneurs, inventors, artists and small-business owners access to fast, reliable 3-D printers in their neighborhood.

There are more than 4,400 UPS Stores across the U.S., so the expansion of the pilot program still leaves the majority of franchises sans 3-D printer. To find out whether the UPS Store in your area will have a 3-D printer, you can check here.

Related: Customized Ecommerce Meets 3-D Printing in Amazon's New Online Store

The popularity of the UPS Store 3-D printing program is in line with the explosive popularity of the 3-D printing industry overall in recent years. Additive manufacturing, the more technical name for 3-D printing, is a $3 billion industry, according to the most current version of an annual report on the industry published by consulting firm Wohlers Associates, Inc. Over the past three years, the 3-D printing industry has been growing at more than 30 percent per year, according to research from Wohlers Associates.

Related: This Gadget Will Let You 3-D Print in Nutella

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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