Owning a 3D printer comes with a vision of being able to produce many things in your living room that you used to drive to the local department store to get or order online. If you own a 3D printer now, you probably conjured up all sorts of ideas to justify buying it. However, are you using it to its full potential and reducing some of your expenses?
When you buy a 3D printer, you need some time to waste money on printing a host of useless or novelty items just to get it out of your system. Let’s be honest, we’ve all printed something weird or useless aside from its nostalgic or comedic uses, and most of us printed these items the day we figured out how the 3D printer works.
Once you get done playing around with the printer, it opens up a new world of saving money and time. You can print a lot of things from mundane items to fun or useful things like:
It may be possible that you are missing out on some of the most useful and amazing things you can print. Cats need furniture, right? Jesting aside, we have some excellent ideas and a list of things you probably haven’t thought about using your 3D printer for yet. Let's get to the list and find out about all the cool stuff you can print with your 3D printer.
Amazing Items You Can Print
You can print homes for your household plants. You may find it hard to find planters that match your furniture or home decorating theme, but a 3D printer allows you to create your own and make them match. You can come up with your design or use one of the thousands of ideas online like this one for a self-watering planter.
Along the same lines as a planter, you can print vases to hold live or fake flowers as well. Print a handle on the vessel, and it becomes a drink pitcher. You can recreate items from movies and TV shows like the odd pitchers they used in Star Wars cantinas to the cow horn mugs they used in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings.
Print candle holders or lampshades to create ambiance or scare the neighbors. You can make these so that they project shadows or different shapes like animals, cartoon characters, or almost anything you can imagine. That might be an excellent idea for a lampshade for a child’s night light or a way to make the neighbors wonder about you. The choice is up to you on this one.
Print bottle openers for your kitchen or to hand out at barbeques as a neat gift for your guests. You can make them match a theme or pick something from a movie you know everyone loves. For instance, no one is going to turn down a bottle opener that looks like a lightsaber handle or Shrek’s head. Well, we wouldn’t turn them down.
Take a more practical stance on your 3D printing projects and print a showerhead for the kid’s bathroom. You can use one of their favorite movie or cartoon characters. You could keep it simple and make it an airplane or a dinosaur’s head. The possibilities for this idea are only limited by your imagination and search engine skills.
Use your 3D printer to improve the safety around your home or add some flair to your electrical outlets. You can print plastic plugs that cover the entire outlet and make it look like something from Star Trek or to simply hide the outlet so that your small kids don’t notice them. These covers may also help prevent kids from trying to poke things in the outlet as well.
Print yourself some movie, or video game themed drink coasters. If you play video games like some of the ones produced by Blizzard like Diablo, you know that many of the cool spell effects are circular when directed at the ground. You can reproduce these effects as a coaster to impress your gamer friends or do it for yourself because you’re just that cool.
Wall Hangers and Frames
You can print wall hangers for a variety of items as well. If you collect things that often get displayed on a wall or should be on one, you can print custom racks for them. For instance, if you have model cars, you could print half a tire to act as a shelf for the car. If you own musical instruments like guitars, print some guitar pick hangers to display them.
Take this idea a step further, and print picture frame holders create a theme. For instance, if you display photos of fish you caught, you can print frame holders that mimic a favorite fishing lure or a fishtail. The fishtail is a reach, but you get the idea. You could print sports themed holders for photos of your kids at sporting events as well.
Print plates or utensils for your kitchen. This is an almost limitless idea pool. Print cooking utensils like measuring cups or spatulas to match a theme or to avoid buying a full set of them to replace a lost or damaged one. You can print cups and plates to match those from a movie or to add realism to your child’s themed birthday party. Again, the only limit here is your imagination.
Print clips for potato chip bags or toothpaste rolls. This idea may not be the coolest idea on the list, but we can never find a clip for the potato chip bag when we need one, so print extras. You can use your 3D printer to print clips you can slide up your toothpaste roll to make sure you get all of it out when it gets empty.
Print office items like pencil holders, paperweights, nameplates, or anything else that you might find in a typical office setting. These items make excellent gifts for bosses or work friends since you can make them fit a theme you know that person will enjoy. This idea might score you some bonus points with the boss as well. It’s not a bribe for a day off if you call it a gift.
One thing everyone enjoys is phone cases, but we can’t always find a case to match what we want, but a 3D printer gives you the power to make a custom case for your phone or as a gift. This idea is great for a child’s phone or for making your phone look like something cool. This isn't a new idea, and the internet is full of plans you can download for almost any phone and design.
Being careful to avoid violating any copyright or fair use laws, you can print toys for your kids based on things they enjoy. Get them to draw a dinosaur or any object they prefer then design and print it for them. We promise this idea will be a hit with young kids and some adults that refuse to grow up and still like their toys. We call them collectibles after we graduate from high school.
Products to Sell
If you have the software and the skills, design and print jewelry for yourself or sell it on websites like Etsy. If you go to any festival or fair these days, you find plenty of vendors at events that sell everything from jewelry to kitchenware. You can turn your creativity and design skills into extra income. You can also make gifts for friends and family for free.
Building on the Etsy idea and looking at making money with your printer, you can print holiday items and decorations for your home or sell to others. Make sure you don’t violate any copyrights if you choose to try this idea.
It may not be possible with your 3D printer, and the technology is still young,
but you can print food. The idea probably began with either decorating a dessert or noodles, but you can print food now and safely eat it. Well, assuming you follow the instructions and treat it like regular food regarding refrigeration or cooking. For the foodies in us, it is an excellent perk of owning a 3D printer.
Some Final Notes
We understand that your design skills and 3D printer may not be up to the tasks we set out above, but you can learn and upgrade your printer one day. If you’re thinking about getting a printer for small projects like most of the ones on our list, spend the money to get a good one that can do a lot before it needs upgrading like this one. Don’t let technology limit your imagination and creativity.
Featured Image via Pixabay