3D printing offered at local retailers could be problematic

04/14/2014

PostNet Neighborhood Business Center recently announced that its franchise in Minneapolis will become the first to offer 3D printing services as part of a pilot program to evaluate the 3D technology's applications for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The company has purchased a Stratasys uPprint SE Plus to offer customers interested in 3D printing the chance to design new products, develop working prototypes, build architectural models, create customized products and more. The uPrint SE Plus is a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) machine that builds parts from real ABSplus thermoplastic material in nine colors.

While this sounds like just another nifty value-added service for the PostNet Neighborhood Business Center, which offer printing, copying and shipping, it could become problematic. First, who will program the software required to make the product or prototype? The PostNet franchise owner of the Minneapolis store, Dave Thorsen who spearheaded this initiative, is an architect so perhaps he has programming experience and can provide customers with this service. However, it may be that if demand becomes big enough, he may have to hire a full-time software programmer/engineer.
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