Royal Mail sizes up 3D printing services

Royal Mail's 3D printing trial lets customers create and send objects.
Royal Mail's 3D printing trial lets customers create and send objects.

A pilot program for the UK postal service lets customers print and send 3D objects

LONDON — The United Kingdom's mail service is testing out a 3D printing service at its central London delivery office in a bid to explore consumer appetite for the "embryonic" technology, printing items including shoes, jewelery, soap dishes and phone cases.

Royal Mail is running a pilot this month that will let customers order "ready-to-print" items from 3D tech company iMakr from its New Cavendish Street delivery office. It will also be able to print customers' own designs, which can be delivered by Royal Mail.

Customers can order items from 3D printing site, which sells designs for printable objects including home accessories, toys and stationery equipment.

"3D printing is an emerging technology that has many applications and offers an innovative way to create unique or personalised objects," said Mike Newnham, Royal Mail COO.

"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." 

Royal Mail claimed the market for 3D printing technology would grow 95 percent by 2017.

This article first appeared on

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