3D printers have the potential to give everyone the power of manufacturing. While the process is used primarily used for prototyping, it is also a highly efficient way of manufacturing an end product, or creating a replacement piece for an existing item.
Here are a few examples of ways 3D printing has democratized manufacturing and design.
1. A 3D-printed speaker
Reddit user villebin made this portable BT speaker with 2x 5" mids & bullet tweeters.
He said these impressive 3D-printed speakers "took about 750g of PETG and ~40 hours to print." Though the designer says it's "great for metal and rock," he explains that the "bass is currently too weak" and that he is "waiting for parts to make it adjustable on the go."
The beauty of 3D printing is that you can keep adding to your creations. See something that needs improving? Just build the part.
2. An optimized card box
Collectors of the card game Magic: The Gathering can be severely hampered by a poorly organized deck.
This design by Anthok16 slips easily into a Magic card box. For any Magic: The Gathering fans out there, the STL file can be found in the Reddit post.
3. A plastic "paper" bag
A paper bag that's really made out of plastic seems like an awful trick. The thing is, if you've taken the time to print one yourself, you're unlikely to only use it only once.
This reusable bag is perfect for your groceries or for use as a trash can. Even better, make it out of recycled plastic.
4. 3D printing for a 3D printer
One of the beautiful properties of 3D printers is that users can be used to manufacture parts to improve their own printing capabilities.
This 3D print designer created an electric enclosure for his Ender 3, complete with a filter adapter.
As Garuda1_Talisman described it he is, "using a spare ender 3 mainboard for a CoreXY build." This system allows him to use a single fan to both "cool" the drivers and filter the air within the build volume (the electronics sit inside the heated volume)."
5. Kid lost his toy? Print him a new one
Want to be a super dad? Own a 3D printer? This father realized his son lost a plastic piece for his toy engineering set. Far from letting the little engineer in the making go without his tools, the father designed and printed the piece that was missing.
If only you could do that with the huge amount of teddy bears that go missing worldwide every day.
6. 3D printing for the public
While this is the work of government rather than an individual, we still felt inclined to add it to this list. This great initiative by a municipality in the Netherlands is placing 3D-printed benches made out of recycled plastic onto the streets.
It's a great way for recycling initiatives to literally give back to the community.
7. Converting SOs to the world of 3D printing
As the poster for this design LuNdreu put it, "well... they work, and my girlfriend finally agreed that 3D printing is useful."
These pads for a toilet seat show that many useful household items can be easily made using a 3D printer.
As LuNdreu describes, "these are PLA with 100% infill, they won't break or damage the bowl using them in a 'standard way' (falling back included)."
8. Print your own realistic fossil model
Ever wanted to have a T-Rex fossil model lying around the home? Now you can. This designer used his Ender 3 printer to print the skull. But he didn't just stop there.
The next step was getting that realistic texture on the outside, making the piece look like it had just been dug up by a team of archaeologists. In order to get that look, xPluto buried his creation in wet sand for a couple of hours. When he dug it up it had that old Jurrasic Park look going on.
9. Kitchen containers
Reddit poster beauj27 perfectly highlighted the practicality of 3D printing in his post: "What's that honey? You want a custom garlic dispenser with floral designs and that is custom-fitted to mount on the fruit bowl by morning? No problem!"
Reaching for that garlic, and keeping the vampires away, has never been easier!
10. A 3D-printed marble maze
This piece is so impressive that the designer is selling the model on their website.
The triple marble machine shows how some truly intricate contraptions can be made by an individual using 3D printing. As the designer explains: "it's been a year in the making, hundreds of hours of design and prototypes."
11. Festive Baby Yoda
It was the name on everyone's lips at some point: Baby Yoda. Even though the words "Baby Yoda" have never been uttered in new Disney+ show The Mandalorian, that's how he's been christened by millions of memes.
This design by monsterfd shows how skilled designers can make the perfect Christmas present using their skills, a printer, and plastic.
3D printing makes the digital world physical. All you need is a computer, your printer and the materials, and you are all set.