So, we are back. It is time to talk about everyone's favorite topic, 3D printing. At the turn of the New Year, you may have had the commitment to jump into the exciting realm of additive manufacturing or 3D printing.
Yet, maybe you have not done the latter. Do not worry, with the extensive information available out there we understand that things can get a bit confusing. Before even selecting your first 3D printer, one should ask themselves the question; "What do I want to print?"
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As entry costs for additive manufacturing have dropped the number of capabilities of what you can print has drastically risen. With a relatively small investment compared to previous years, you could 3D print deserts, functioning prototypes, models, tools, weapons, cosplay armor, and even other 3D printers. And that is not even the half of it.
Today we are going to focus on one thing, what you can print with a 3D printer; some of the most useful projects that you can find across the web for both hobbyists and the small business owner. If you need a little 3D printing refresher, be sure to stop here.
Thor: A Robotic Arm
3D printing your own robotic arm is a fun way to dip your toes into the world of robotics and even some areas of artificial intelligence, depending on the project. Whether you want to purchase a kit or start from scratch, there is a massive online community available for those thinking of pursuing this type of project.
If this is an area of interest for you, be sure to check out the Thor project page. Developed by Hackaday, this arm is fully open source and 3D printable. The robotic arm has six-degrees of freedom and can carry a payload of 750 grams.
An Electric Coffee Maker
Now for creating useful things around the house, 3D printing is an awesome tool. For a friend, as a business, or simply for you in the mornings, why not 3D print this coffee maker. Though not every component is 3D printed, it is a great delicious way to begin your 3D printing journey.
Arms for Children
Companies like Not Impossible Labs are using 3D printing to change the lives of people around the world. Using cheap but sturdy materials, the company has provided prosthetic limbs for amputees including injured children in war-torn areas.
Your Future Home
3D printing is slowly but surely disrupting the building and construction industries. Though you might not be able to do this at the moment, it is a real possibility in the near future. From homes to full-on commercial spaces, contractors, and architects like the Dubai Future Foundation or ICON have used 3D printing technologies as a means to create cost-effective and timely spaces. ICON plans on using 3D printing technology to print affordable shelter for $1.2 billion people.
Why not 3D print the ultimate toy for the summer. Created by a German engineering student, this cool remote-controlled hovercraft is a fun way to explore the 3D printing process while gaining a basic handle on electronics. Not to mention, it is another great gift idea. Find it here.
If you are a hobbyist or wanted to get into the emerging world of drone racing, why not just 3D print one? With a large following and numerous online communities, it is very easy for you to 3D print the quadcopter of your dreams. If you are just getting started, check out this light-weight FPV quadcopter that was designed to be crash resistant and offer good protection for onboard gear.
Toys From Children's Apps
Another great business idea. Imagine being a kid and creating your own toy. 3D printing allows children to do this now. Makies Doll Factory iPad app helps kids create their own imaginative doll to be 3D printed and shipped in just a few days. While at the same time, there are multiple Blokify apps that allow children to design and print their own toys directly at home.
Perfect for the emerging astronomer, the PiKon telescope is a 3D printed telescope, with design origins that go back to Mr. Issac Newton himself. The modern iteration is powered by Raspberry Pi so that you can comfortably see the night sky on screen.
Smart Nanoleaf Replica
Rather than dish out hundreds of dollars on a nanoleaf light panel, why not create your own? This "smart" device is controlled using its own software, brightening up your room to your own beats. Check out the project here.
If you are looking to have your own minilab at home, then this one may be for you. As part of the growing DIY bio movement, you can 3D essential lab tools all from home. Though it may be lacking some of the more complex controls and timers are seen in large scale labs this centrifuge is still good enough to perform the occasional DNA extraction.
3D Printed Tunes
Why not convert your favorite songs into a 3D-printable record and play it on your hipster record player? Though the sound might not be as crisp or well-balanced as some traditional vinyl records, it is a fun modern way to add a little vintage flair to your home.
Food, Chocolate, and Molds
From creating complex molds to printing pasta, the 3D printing food revolution is here. Dinara Kasko's legendary 3D printed pastry molds have taken the world by storm. If you want, you can even learn from her. While companies like byFlow have gone on to print food, plates, and utensils using standard 3D printing technology. It is good to mention, that if you want to invest in food printing you will probably need to get your hands on a specialized printer.
Skin, Bones, and Beyond
3D printing functioning organs could be common in the near future. Prellis Biologics has recently gone on to print hearts, livers, kidneys, and lungs. While a research team at the University of Texas in El Paso have started printing skins and other bodily tissues.
Custom Tools and Handles
Sometimes manufacturers do not seem to get it right when designing the right tools. Whether you want to design your own wrench or want to remodel some of the tool handles around the home use this project to get you started and inspired.
Camera equipment can be expensive. Why not print your own? With just a 3D printer and a few electronics, you can create your own motorized camera slider, perfect for capturing the right shots. Try it out for yourself.
What do you usually print on your 3D printer? What projects have you enjoyed creating?