If you’re just entering the world of 3D printing, you may find that it’s appealing as a fun hobby to make pretty and decorative plastic toys, but you may be limiting yourself to the true world that 3D printing unlocks. Rather than simply make silly plastic toy dolls, you can truly unlock the potential of your 3D printer and begin creating very fun and often useful things that you can make for your home.
Some ideas will save you money, some will give you the ability to personalize your life, and a growing number will help you be a better person or even cure diseases. Hopefully, this will begin to inspire you to figure out how to truly unlock the world of 3D printing and begin creating things that you can use in your everyday life.
There are all different kinds of phone cases, but can you ensure that it will fit your phone well? Also, can you pick the color, the shape, and the thickness of the cover? If you’re a person who likes to personalize your things, you can make a perfectly fitting custom phone case and show the world your true colors. You can use templates available online, or create your own cover. You can create a solid cover in a color of your choice, or create a lightweight honeycomb protective cover, or any manner of patterned or textured phone case. You can truly begin making things all your own.
If you don’t have an orange peeler, you don’t understand what you’re missing. Sure, you can peel an orange, but this little tool makes it effortless. You can find several good templates online, but this little miracle kitchen tool is an easy and simple device that’ll save you a lot of time.
Do you have enough of these around? Is there such thing as enough of these around? Of course not. You will always need more of these, and there are designs available to make your own working chip clips using only your 3D printer. Imagine having an entire jar of these clips whenever you needed them, and you can even print the jar if you so desire. You can also make useful little things like paper clips and book page holders, and design them in the color that fits your office.
Not simply limited to creative and cool coat hook racks, you can make hanging hooks for any purpose you can find. You can make hooks to hang kitchen utensils to keep the counter space free, or even make hooks to hang your pots and pans on the wall. You can make a tie rack, perfect for holding however many ties you have, or make decorative and sturdy hooks for handing heavy pictures and other decorations on your wall. You’re not using your 3D printer correctly if you don’t have a custom made and cool rack of hooks for hanging your keys, so make sure you make one and tell the world that you decide how your keys hang.
Rather than use disposable straws and risk every turtle and wildlife on Earth, create yourself a reusable straw, or many reusable straws. You can make it the perfect thickness for you, either a thin straw for hot beverages like coffee or hot chocolate or jumbo thick straws for milkshake night. Rather than pitch these straws when you’re done, wash and re-use them, and save the planet while you’re playing with your new printer.
If you’re like me, you can never find a pair of tweezers when you want them. It’s also borderline theft the prices they charge for such a tiny tool at the store. Solve these issues by printing your very own pair of printed tweezers. You can customize the shape, size, and color and make a pair of tweezers meant only for you.
For the bird watchers among us, here is a perfect opportunity to make a bird feeder or bird house designed just for the birds you want to attract. You can make a container to hold sugar water to attract hummingbirds, a perch feeder for all of the birds near your home to share, or even a perfect little bird house for birds to have nests so you can enjoy the hatching babies through your window. You can design one that looks exactly how you want it, rather than just pick from someone else’s selections, you can have a wildlife feeder that can be a conversation starter and really make your backyard stand out.
While you can’t match the drop forged strength of steel tools, you can make all manner of useful tools that will make your home life easier. Start with those tiny screwdrivers you need to fix your eyeglasses, because you know you always need those and can’t find them. You can make bigger screwdrivers too, including non-standard heads when you need to take apart a cell phone or something tiny. You can also make an incredibly useful and durable adjustable wrench, which can come in handy when you need one. Sometimes you may need a specific tool, but not often enough to justify purchasing, and your 3D printer is great for a quick solution. Allen wrenches are another tool that you can never find when you need, and now you have an answer to that too.
3D plastics can be very tough and durable, and can even fashion you a set of cutlery. You can make forks, knives, spoons, and other utensils of every different size and color. These lightweight and tough utensils can be used for years, and can be replaced much easier than a single spoon if you happen to lose one.
Do you ever experience the frustration of an expensive and needed item breaking because of a tiny plastic part? If you know this, you’re like me, and you may also know that you can often make your own replacement part. You now have the ability to custom-design a perfectly fitting and functional replacement part without having to track down the manufacturer, get the replacement number, find someone who has that part, and paying them an exorbitant amount of money to ship it to you.
Without fail, you will throw up your hands in frustration long before you will find a suitable part that you need. Say you have a zipper with a broken pull. Rather than throw away your favorite hoodie, or deal with a zipper that barely works, you can create yourself a new pull. You can replace it with an exact replica, or make yourself a new fun design.
This goes far beyond zippers; have you ever lost a piece of plastic trim from your car? Perhaps a broken part that isn’t important but still seems to sell for nearly $100? You can make your own part, you have the technology now. I go through sunglasses and earphones like crazy, and after the cheap plastic parts break I can just replace them with a printed replacement rather than pitch them and start over. The list is endless, now you can replace nearly any piece of broken plastic in your life.
If you’re ever fished, you’ll know the range of fishing lures that are for sale. You’ll also know how much these things cost and the frustration of losing such an expensive lure the first time you put in into the water. Rather than watch your money wash away, you can print your own lures for next to nothing. You can find all manner of designs available online, along with many happy stories of fisherman who’ve been successful in using these designs. You can also get creating and design your own to attract the exact fish that you’re going after. This allows you not only to customize your entire fishing experience, but also to take some of the cost out of this hobby.
Have you ever needed a bottle opener and didn’t have one? Well, of course you have, you’re human. Many people will use these as keychains, but the heavy metal of bottle openers isn’t appealing to everyone. Now you can print your own lightweight bottle opener keychain to carry with you. You don’t have to worry about setting off metal detectors or feeling such a heavy burden in your pocket, but always are able to open those non twist-off caps. You should print a handful of these tools immediately, because you will eventually need them.
Have you ever needed a clean measuring spoon and couldn’t find one, or couldn’t find the right one? Rather than calculate how many 1/2 teaspoons equals 1/4 cup, make yourself a spare set of measuring utensils. Of course you can begin with your standard teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups, but you aren’t limited to that.
Do you find yourself with a recipe where you need to measure 3/8 of a cup, and find it annoying that you don’t have a 3/8 cup? Well now you can have a 3/8 cup. I myself often have recipes which call for 3 tablespoons, so rather than waste the effort of spooning out 3 times, I now have a 3 tablespoon spoon, which is exactly half of the size of my 3/8 cup. The possibilities are endless, and you know you’ll use them. You can even find designs to make yourself a locking ring so you can keep all of your new measuring devices together.
Are you tired of opening and reopening jars? Do you wish that your favorite food jar or bottle had a lid with a pour spout? Now you can make one on your 3D printer, and make one for exactly the size and shape you need. You can attach a perfectly sized and shaped plastic lid dispenser to anything in the kitchen in fact, so you can pour accurately and avoid having to open an annoying lid 50 times.
Some people have made lids with holes to fit on mason jars and made a makeshift sugar dispenser. You can even find designs to make accurately dispensing lids for liquor bottles, to replace the expensive metering lids you see at the bar. There are also designs for entire bar utensil sets, complete with a shaker, strainer, and all of the accessories necessary for making wonderful cocktails.
Sometimes you need a thin scraper, sometimes you need a wide spatula. Sometimes you need a new slotted spoon, or a potato masher. From a pizza wheel, to a tenderizer, a stirring spoon, a pie slicer, a pasta spoon. Really, I could just invent some new types of kitchen tools right now and then make them on my printer.
You can make them black, which matches everything in my kitchen, or make some funky orange kitchen tools and add some life to your dinner preparation. You can make a citrus juicer, or a garlic press. There are so many tiny and intricate designs you can find, you can equip your kitchen with the exact right tool for every job.
Amazingly enough, you can even make knives. I don’t mean butter knives, i mean real working and sharp steak knives and even large chef knives. You won’t be able to believe how easily these knives can cut, and replace expensive knives that cost you significant money. If you want to be really fun, you can make yourself a cool knife block and be creative with displaying your new knives.
From a simple coach’s whistle, to a intricately designed saxophone, you can make all manner of musical instruments with only your 3D printer. One of the neatest designs is a real working harmonica, and it works just as well as one you can buy at the store. You can make a simple recorder which is great for introducing children to music, or a intricate flute to make some beautiful music.
You can print guitar picks that match the exact thickness, color, and shape as you like, as many guitar players are picky about these things. There are designs for many other woodwind and brass instruments, but you aren’t limited to those. Some people have gone as far as making entire guitars using their 3D printers, so if you have dreams of owning a violin they are well within reach.
Sure, these things are a dime a dozen, so you aren’t saving much money printing them, but are they the size and shape you want? Do you wish you had hangars with divots for dress straps? Or perhaps your hangars are too narrow to hold some of your clothes, or just aren’t the right shape to hold up your favorite outfits.
Rather than accept clothes falling on the floor or searching for the perfect one online, you can just design the exact specifications for a hangar for you. This is more of a customization than saving money, but if you want your closet to scream “you” then this is a great idea.
There are numerous designs for these available online, and all are very useful. If you are someone who doesn’t mind drinking water from the faucet (like me) but aren’t fond or able to stick their head under, these devices can temporarily make the water flow up to turn your bathroom sink into a drinking fountain.
These things have a small hole that squirts the water up when you put your finger under it, allowing you to quickly get a drink without having to dirty a glass. This sounds small and silly, but it’s something you may use every day.
Your bathroom needs to be your own, and why shouldn’t you deck it out with stuff designed to your own tastes. Don’t settle for the simple store-bought toothbrush holder, create a funky one that looks unique and holds your toothbrush in style.
You can design a soapdish with your initials that matches your toothbrush holder, or make yours look like a turtle or a football tee. Even the little water cup (if someone doesn’t want to use the diverter) can be designed as part of the matching set. You can make a special toilet paper roll, and include arrows to instruct people which direction the new roll should be installed since that’s extremely important to some.
You can make some special hair clips, the exact size and shape that you need, or fashion some new combs to match your bathroom now. All of the sudden, you are seeing a hundred tiny things in your bathroom that could be designed better for you.
Nothing says more about your personality that how you carry your money, and an attractive money clip is a nice badge to show the world. You can design one that screams you, rather than just pick from the few you’ll find in a department store.
You can make one with the color and logo of your favorite sports team, or try a unique snakeskin or carbon fiber design that tells the world a little about you. You can print any kind of texture or pattern and really be creative about how you hold your money. There are numerous patterns and ideas online, but the only limit is your imagination.
Ok, now you’re looking at me funny. Would you wear shoes that you printed at home? How often have you had a pair of sandals that were designed exactly for your feet? You now can, and it’s not limited to flip-flops. They can take exact measurements of your feet and with some more information about you and your needs, you can custom tailor a pair of shoes make for exactly what you need.
You can use some templates or programs available and make yourself not only shoes, but other things you can wear. You can make a neat hat or visor that looks unique and can be quite an attention grabber. Some people have even gone as far as making entire dresses using only 3D printed material.
Are you a person who has a lot of keys to keep track of? Car keys, house keys, padlock keys, work keys, etc. Are you also a person who occasionally loses things? Well here’s the first thing you should do with your 3D printer; scan all of those keys.
You don’t necessarily need to make all of those keys immediately, although you might just to prove to yourself it works, but the files will be nice to have in case you do lose your keys. A 3D printed key makes a nice temporary key in a pinch, and also makes a nice template to use to create a new key. So, first things first, scan your keys, you may be glad you did.
Beyond the many fun and useful things you can make, you can also make some invaluable study tools. As much as you can learn from a book or listening, sometimes people learn best when they can touch and feel something. If you have a student studying medicine, you can print a realistic and detailed heart to learn about the form and function.
You can also find many different tools for teaching basic math and geometry, and you can make models for chemistry students for modeling atoms. If you have any students involved in science, you should definitely consider involving 3D printed models, as students of genetics are understanding the form and function of DNA by manipulating it with their fingers. There are many applications to education by utilizing 3D printing, and everyone is eager to share the tools they’ve made, and it would be wasteful if we didn’t use this new technology to make us smarter people.
Cure Diseases??? – Maybe one day…
While there are an incredible amount of applications of medical devices using 3D printing, from perfectly designed replacement parts to fit into a patient, to implanted devices with promise to treat diseases like Parkinson’s disorder. But there are applications for treating disease by using devices you can print in your very own home.
Researchers have found some positive results when studying some tools available online to help children suffering from Dyslexia. This is a learning disorder which affects their ability to read and write, and these tools which can be made with a 3D printer have shown promise of being part of an effective treatment for children suffering from this learning disorder.
If you would like any additional details or have any questions please leave a comment below. If you liked this article and want to read others click here.