La Poste’s Big Step Into 3D Printing

By on December 27th, 2015 in Service

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France’s postal service, La Poste just set up a comprehensive 3D model repository to power their network of 3D printers. 

This could be the most advanced 3D printing venture we’ve seen by a national post service. Previously, La Poste had set up seven locations across France to provide physical 3D printing services in a manner like we’ve seen at UPS. 

But of course, the problem is always “What Do I Print?” You need 3D models to print on the machines, and La Poste must have realized this after setting up their 3D printer network. If you’ve got 3D models, you might have someone printing. So apparently they sought to provide easy access to some 3D models for their customers. 

Well, we think they succeeded. Their site (link below) offers an incredible selection of terrific 3D models. 

How did they do this so fast? They partnered with several organizations who put it all together for them: 3D models were provided by both Cults3D and 3DSlash, both well known for their 3D expertise, and coordinated by La Poste’s own startup accelerator, Start’inPost. 

There’s two curious things about this offering. 

First, it can present web pages in English, while you’d think the French postal service would be only for French citizens. However, we learned that La Poste operates in 40 countries! Evidently they must believe they can provide value beyond the borders of the French Republic. But it means that a very large number of potential customers can easily access the site. 

And there are some very interesting – and free – 3D models available on this site. 

Secondly, after placing 3D models in your “cart”, you have the option to either download them directly, which is what we’ve been doing, or “Send to Advisor”. There is no option for 3D printing them. Instead they feel you should go through a skilled 3D “advisor” that will discuss your project and ensure you can meet your objectives. Perhaps this is something other 3D print services might do, too. 

Via La Poste

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!