How McDonald's could use 3D printers

Summary:McDonald's might not be the first company you would expect to embrace 3D printing, but there is a way the fast food giant is considering using the technology.

No, you won't be ordering 3D-printed fries with that anytime soon. But even McDonald's is thinking of ways it can take advantage of 3D-printing technology.

The idea? Use 3D printers to make happy meal toys.

As Mark Fabes, McDonald's UK IT director, said during a panel on emerging technologies at a Fujitsu customer event in Munich, the idea would be to use 3D printers to make happy meal toys on demand so that kids have more choices than the toys available that week.

For now it's just an idea with no plans to roll out a pilot program in the near future, according to The Register. And of course there are plenty of considerations to make before implementing an idea like this. Would it be worth the cost to make 3D-printed toys on-site? Is there a 3D printer manufacturer that could meet the huge demand from McDonald's if they put them in every store? Would it be safe to house a 3D printer in a restaurant?

While I'm not sold on the idea, it's fascinating to see  all the ways companies are looking to 3D printers as a source innovation inspiration, especially companies, like McDonald's, that you wouldn't expect to have anything to do with 3D printers.

Read more: The Register

Photo: Flickr/sonson

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This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter.

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