Royal Mail is trialling the new service with 3D printing specialists iMakr to gauge customer interest in the growing technology. The pilot will run from Monday 8 December at the New Cavendish Street delivery office, near Oxford Street.
Customers will be able to purchase a range of ready-to-print items from MyMiniFactory.com and royalmail.com/3d to have printed, and delivered by Royal Mail. Alternatively, they can bring in their own designs to print in the delivery office or at the iMakr store.
The adoption of 3D printing technology is one of the fastest growing areas of IT and the shipment volume of these printers is expected to grow by 95 per cent between 2012 and 20171. However analysts predict just 2.3 million 3D printers will be sold worldwide in 2018. The majority of printers are predicted to be in use for prototyping in large industrial firms with consumer take-up lagging around 5-10 years from mainstream adoption2.
3D printers build solid objects, usually one razor thin layer at a time. Currently considered embryonic technology and used by industrial companies to produce components and parts, it is being swiftly embraced by SMEs and consumers to create prototypes, models and customised items.
Mike Newnham, Chief Customer Officer, Royal Mail said: “3D printing is an emerging technology that has many applications and offers an innovative way to create unique or personalised objects. It can be prohibitively expensive for consumers or small businesses to invest in a 3D printer, so we are launching a pilot to gauge interest in 3D printing to sit alongside Royal Mail’s e-commerce and delivery capability.”
Romain Kidd, CEO of the iMakr Group, said: "iMakr is excited to bring to Royal Mail its expertise in 3D printing by offering customers an introduction into 3D printing through one if it Central London delivery offices and a selection of objects from MyMiniFactory.com. Royal Mail customers will find unique objects created by the best community of designers for 3D printing, a market in rapid development for which MyMiniFactory.com is delivering key 3D printable content and products like MyMiniFactory TV."
Read more: Royal Mail launches 3D printing trial with iMakr.