Video: 3D printers have revolutionised the speed at which prototype parts can be created, but what if your deadline is so tight you can’t wait for the printer to finish before the part is shipped out? That’s easy, you just pack up the entire printer in a box, with a battery for power, and send it off in the mail.
That’s the experiment that PostNL, a shipping company based in Europe, tried with an Ultimaker 2 3D printer that was actively creating a prototype of a plastic trumpet while in transit.
It’s safe to assume that PostNL took extra special care with this particular package, but given how finicky 3D printers can be, even while perched on a stable desk, it’s surprising how accurate the 3D-printed trumpet parts turned out in the end. The instrument was even playable once assembled. Still, don’t expect the same results from companies who have been known to throw packages around like a football.