3D Printed Objects You Can Create With Your Printer
So you have finally taken the plunge and gotten hold of a 3D printer for yourself. Congratulations!
But now what?
A 3D printer is capable of printing almost anything. While the freedom of choice is a good thing, sometimes too many options can paralyze your decision making. With no clear guidelines to follow, many of us are left wondering the same question:
What cool things can I make with a 3d printer?
Here is our answer.
Let’s face it. The reason you got a 3D printer had nothing to do with how useful it would be; 3D printing is just fun.
So here are some of the coolest 3D prints out there to give your house a dash of madness:
If you have just gotten your 3D printer and have no idea of its capabilities, this is the best place to start. A 3DBenchy is a 3D model designed to put your printer through its paces, thoroughly testing its ability to print all kinds of shapes and surfaces.
Plus, it is a cute little boat. What’s not to like about that?
Growing tiny plants to bring some greenery to your home decor is all the rage nowadays. But the planters sold in the market tend to be boringly standard.
With 3D printing, however, you can make each planter a work of art. From geometric planters that you can stack in interesting ways to self-watering planters, there is an incredible variety of planter designs ready to be printed.
When one thinks of a 3D printer, 3D printing miniatures is what first comes to mind. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a small figurine take shape before your own eyes.
Printing miniatures is even more enjoyable if you are into tabletop gaming, as it gives you a way to get a physical avatar of your imaginary characters, and perhaps even the odd building.
But you should only print miniatures on a 3D resin printer, as FDM printers usually struggle with the smooth surfaces and precise detailing required in these kinds of prints.
With an ever-larger fraction of the day spent in our homes, we are baking (and eating!) like never before. But aren’t you tired of making those same heart-shaped cupcakes again and again?
Let’s spice up things a little. You can use your 3D printer to create molds in a wide variety of interesting shapes and sizes, giving a personalized touch to each bakery project.
And you are not limited to just baking either; popsicle molds can be printed just as easily, allowing you to make nifty designs that keep your kids engaged. Just make sure that you are using a food-grade material, and keep to resin printers.
Photographic Sweep Stand
After baking all those Pikachu shaped cookies, it is only natural to click some photos for your social media. But wait! How about a nice background for your photos too?
A photographic sweep stand is simply a curved frame for holding smooth papers or cardboard in a gentle sweeping incline. This gives you the perfect background for capturing photographs of small objects, including your culinary experiments.
3D topographic maps are impressive to look at, and take surprisingly little effort to print.
It is easy to obtain digital elevation data from almost any location in the world. Just convert it into a 3D model, and you are ready to print. Okay, maybe it takes a bit of fiddling, but the result is something you cannot just buy from any gift shop.
Clocks are an integral part of home decor these days, with telling the time only being a side-job. And every time you think of changing the look of your home, you have to go ahead and buy a new clock too.
But you can easily 3D print a simple clock.
Most clocks are composed of two main parts: the clock face, and the clockwork mechanism. Mechanisms are readily available online, leaving only the clock face for you to construct.
Go crazy with it! You can 3D print a wide assortment of clock faces to swap the look of your clock anytime.
No, we are not referring to the electronic component that makes speakers work. We are talking about the phone attachment that focuses and amplifies the sound of your tinny smartphone speakers.
It is nothing complicated; just make sure to scale up to the dimensions of your phone, and you are golden. And some of these amplifier designs are so cool that they can double up smartphone stands as well.
Whistles are quite easy to print with any 3D printer. So why not take it further and print a simple musical instrument itself?
The penny whistle is something in between a whistle and a flute, with a range of proper musical notes that do not require much skill to play. Printing one is simple too; just pick any of the 3D models available online and use a durable plastic material.
You might need to clean up some rough edges with a sharp-edged tool, but the result is completely worth the extra effort.
Remember those little plastic spirals you used to doodle geometric shapes in your school notebook? They might not be the most popular toys anymore, but with a 3D printer, you can create an amazing spirograph quite easily.
As it is a flat model, your 3D printer will churn them out in no time at all, allowing you to build up a collection of different sizes of spirographs to impress your children – or relive your childhood fun yourself.
If printing stuff just for the heck of it sounds wasteful to you, how about making some useful things instead?
Here are some practical everyday objects that can be easily printed by your 3D printer to make your life easier:
Some of us spend a fortune on phone cases (we are looking at you, fashionista) to give our smartphone a cool new look every week. That it also protects your phone is just the cherry on the top.
Now that you have a 3D printer, it is time to try some customized looks. You can download hundreds of designs online and even modify them to your liking (it is easier than you think), giving you a limitless source of quality cases for your phone.
While we are on the topic of cases, why not make something for those earbuds of yours? We all know that earbuds left lying around get tangled into a knotty mess, but without a proper way to keep them, there is not much we can do about it.
But with a 3D printer, you can easily churn out some eye-catching prints that can hold earphones and their cables neatly.
Proteus Key Holder
Anyone with the experience of carrying a bunch of keys at once knows the nightmare of juggling those misshapen pointy things in your wallet (or god forbid, your pocket) and fumbling to open anything.
The Proteus keyholder is a simple yet surprisingly effective design to hold all your keys in one place. Easily printable on any 3D printer (though a somewhat tough material is advised), this holder acts like a swiss army knife of keys, keeping them accessible and organized.
Cooking is fun. Until you come across the ingredients list: 1 tablespoon, ⅓ cup, 150ml, 3 teaspoons… you get the idea.
Perhaps the best thing a cooking enthusiast can make with their 3D printer is a measuring cube. It is a simple plastic fabrication that can be printed in any type of 3D printer ( although we recommend using food grade polymers).
Whether you are struggling to understand human anatomy or just want a real skeleton in your closet (we won’t judge), 3D printing a medical model is the way to go.
Instead of relying on 2D textbook illustrations that confuse more than they reveal, you can build solid models of any part of a human or animal biology, giving you a three-dimensional understanding of anatomy.
The skeletons also double up as Halloween decorations.
When you can print medical models, why not take it a step further and 3D print all kinds of science models?
Having trouble understanding the atomic model? Print it. Want to see a DC motor diagram in its full three-dimensional glory? We got you covered.
From simple school level illustrations to complex engineering diagrams, your 3D printer can build any kind of solid model. This is an incredible tool for anyone who teaches any STEM subject, or someone looking to learn from example.
Cables, cables, cables. Sometimes it seems there are more cables in your home than anything else.
Fortunately, cable holders are simple enough to print with even the most basic 3D printer. There are many types of cable holder designs in use, from clips that can be screwed into desks to honeycomb-like structures that keep the whole mess of cables segregated.
With enough cable holders, that tangle behind your PC can be turned into an orderly row of wires.
How many times have you propped your phone up against an impromptu stand only for it to slide off?
Instead of press-ganging coffee mugs and books into smartphone stand duty, use your 3D printer to churn out some cool looking stands that can actually get the job done.
There are a bunch of innovative 3D models you can download for free online, and print your own selection of smartphone holders.
Speaking of books; how about printing some whacky bookmarks with your printer? Not only are they easy to make (flat objects require fewer layers), but chances are, you can get a 3D model online with your favorite book characters on them.
Actually, designing a bookmark is so simple that you can probably try your hand on any 3D modeling software yourself, and make something that is uniquely your own.
Coasters are one of those things you keep buying, yet never seem to have enough of. And the kind of coasters you get from the market are usually drab and boring.
So why not print them yourself? Again, as a flat object, coasters are comparatively easier to print from any 3D printer, and can even be designed by an amateur. Coupled with the sheer variety of designs already available for download, you can be sure to have enough coasters for every party you may host – customized to each event, of course.
Pencil cases? Figurines? Why waste time printing such simple objects?
For those looking for challenging products that push the envelope of what 3D printing is capable of (and have a lot of fun in the process!) Here are some of the coolest 3D printed objects that you can make with your printer:
If you have never seen an orrery (or heard of it, for that matter) go and google it right now. Impressed? You should be.
A miniature moving model of the solar system is as instructive as it’s cool. Printing one is no easy feat, however.
This is because an Orrery is comprised of a complicated lattice of gears and clockwork mechanisms, which have to be printed very precisely and assembled just as carefully. It will also need some additional parts, like an electric motor, brass tubes and bearings which cannot be printed and have to be bought separately.
An old school analog camera is rather simple in its functioning. A shutter exposes the film to a small pinhole, capturing an inverted image through the light coming in. The photograph will not be great, but for something you can print out of your 3D printer, it is nothing short of impressive.
That’s right. With some film reels and 3D printed parts, you can assemble your own fully-functional pinhole camera. All the parts are relatively straightforward to fabricate and can be printed in any type of material.
You just need to ensure that the end product is black to prevent light from spoiling your photos; you can always paint it if you don’t have black-colored material.
Balloon Powered Car
Yes, you heard that right. A balloon-powered car. Though when we say car, we mean a tiny little toy car, not something you can sit in yourself. Though companies are 3D printing cars these days…
Anyways, a balloon-powered car is a hilarious little contraption that harnesses the air gushing out of a blown balloon to propel itself forward. Sounds complicated, but it works like a charm.
Almost all of its components can be 3D printed and assembled by yourself (except the small rubber rings you need for its ‘tires’). Just sand and file the components to smoothness so that the car can run efficiently.
A quadcopter! Are you serious?
Yes, we are. Miniature drones are all the rage these days, and with some planning and careful work, you can create one yourself.
3D printing quadcopter parts are actually better than buying them since as a beginner you would spend a lot of time learning to fly (and crash!) your drone. Constantly replacing all those fragile propellers and joints can put a serious dent in your pocket, so why not print them instead?
The only things you need to buy are electronic components, such as the motor and the control system. Print everything else, and you will have a 3D printed quadcopter drone in no time.
As any vinyl collector would attest, the feel of holding a physical representation of a piece of music is something else. And while real vinyl records are difficult to get hold of, with 3D printing, you can convert audio files into vinyl records yourself.
The audio quality wouldn’t be too great, but with a good resin printer, you can get a pretty good result.
The process is a bit convoluted; you need an algorithm to extract raw audio data from the file, convert it into an STL 3D model, and then optimize it for printing.
The good thing is that others have done this already, so can adapt their workflow yourself, and start creating some old-school vinyl records of modern soundtracks.
Whether you want to print something ambitious or practical (or perhaps just fun), our list has enough to keep you and your printer occupied for a while.
But this is by no means everything that you can achieve with 3D printing. As your familiarity and experience with 3D printing grows, you will find yourself printing ever more innovative stuff.
When it comes to 3D printing, the only limit is your imagination.