After dipping their toes into the 3D printing industry and opening seven 3D printing service establishments, French postal service company La Poste seems prepared to dive head first into the booming additive manufacturing sector, recently announcing their new all-encompassing “Innovate and Create in 3D” website. This massive local (to France) distributor has made it a point to focus on new technologies, such as 3D printing, by opening their own self-curated 3D marketplace, powered by Cults.
The digital market will offer designs for useful home objects, toys, art-for-arts-sake pieces, and more, featuring a collection of 3D designers from around the world. The interface of the ‘Innovate and Create in 3D’ marketplace is clean and easy-to-use, while the 3D designs are categorized and easily navigable. In order to create a quality 3D marketplace, La Poste enlisted the help of Cults. and 3DSlash, two tech startups involved with La Poste’s industrial accelerator Start’inPost. Cults., previously covered on 3DPI, is a 3D design platform that focuses on connecting designers directly to potential consumers and downloaders, and had their marketplace implemented into the ‘Innovate and Create’ website.
After browsing their 3D market for a bit, I noticed that most designs were nicely presented and free to download, and also that many were shared designs with other popular 3D design shops. The influence of the Cults. platform makes for an enjoyable experience, but what makes La Poste’s version of a 3D marketplace any better or different from universally-known digital 3D shops such as Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory?
What truly makes La Poste’s unique are the “Creating a project” and “Send to an advisor” website features, which both act to help users go from 3D design window shoppers to true Makers. The ‘Creating a project’ section was created in order to help educate users on how to design objects on their own accord, utilizing 3DSlash’s online 3D modeling software as a learning tool to enhance the community’s designs. The other option La Poste offers is direct correspondence with a 3D printing advisor, who can help with any preparation or in-print issues that customers may have with any of the marketplace’s available 3D models.
As someone living in the USA who deals with the lackluster post office quite often, I’m a bit envious of La Poste’s determination to utilize new and advanced technologies for distributive purposes. The French postal company is showing a big commitment to the 3D printing industry by introducing their ‘Innovate and Create in 3D’ marketplace to the ever-growing Maker community.