Customers will be able to choose prototypes like Apple iPhone cases, mini Shard skyscrapers and gold postboxes that will be 3D printed and sent from one of Royal Mail’s central London post offices from today.
The public is also encouraged to print and send their own designs in the trial that could see small and medium sized businesses using the post office as a place to send prototypes from, eliminating the need to invest in a 3D printer.
Royal Mail is partnering with 3D printer manufacturer iMakr to gauge interest in the new technology.
London-based 3D printing brand iMakr recently announced it will give UK schools half price printers so that pupils will have better access to the technology.
Mike Newnham, chief customer officer at 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.”
Royal Mail is investing in around £130 million in handheld technology over the next five years to improve post sorting and tracking.
It has signed a contract with BT Global Services as part of a wider IT transformation programme to automate the back-office postal processes to boost efficiency.