3D printers give everyday consumers the power of manufacturing. While the process is used largely for prototyping, it is also a highly efficient way of manufacturing a finished product or creating a missing piece for an existing item.
Here are a few examples of ways 3D printing has democratized manufacturing and design by bringing it to our homes and streets.
1. A 3D-printed boom box
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" 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't deal with 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 once.
This reusable bag is perfect for your groceries. 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 manufacture pieces to improve their printers by using their printers.
This 3D print designer created an electric enclosure for his Ender 3 with a filter adapter included.
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 engineer 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 in the list. This great initiative in 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 put it, "well... they work, and my girlfriend finally agreed that 3D printing is useful."
These pads for a toilet seat show that any household piece can be easily made using a 3D printer.
As LuNdreu describes, "these are PLA with 100% infill, they won't brake or damage the bowl using them in a 'standard way' (falling back included)."
8. Print your own realistic fossil
Ever wanted to have a T-Rex fossil lying around the home? Now you can. This designer used his Ender 3 printer to print the skull.
He didn't 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 in his post title: "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 machine
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's the name on everyone's lips at the moment: 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.