Royal Mail wants you to 3D print gifts right before you ship them

3D printing an oversized postage stamp

Let's say you're in a real hurry to mail gifts this holiday -- so much so that you forgot to buy those gifts before you reached the post office. Are you stuck? Not if the UK's Royal Mail has something to say about it. The organization is teaming with iMakr on a trial program that lets you 3D print goods and promptly ship them afterward. You can bring in your own creations or, if you're in a real pinch, choose from ready-made designs ranging from the stamp magnet above (£5) to a wine cooler (£45).

You'll have to visit Royal Mail's New Cavendish Street office in London between now and January to take part in the test run, but the long-term plan is to offer printing at both more central London locations and iMakr's stores. Yes, Royal Mail is a bit late to the concept of letting you create and ship products in the same spot. However, this is also a regular mail service, rather than a courier -- if the trial proves a success, it could bring 3D printing to a considerably wider audience.