3D printing is an amazing technology that has become better known in recent years. However, it’s largely associated with commercial use and experimental prototyping. That is to say, many people think about 3D printing and imagine large companies finding cheap new ways to test and produce products. These may well represent the most significant 3D printing applications in terms of revenue related to the technology, but it would still be a mistake to think of said technology as something strictly meant for commercial use. On the contrary, people have come to recognize a growing number of interesting and enjoyable consumer applications for 3D printing over the last couple of years. In this article, we will talk about the things you can do with a 3D Printer.
To expand on that point, we’re taking a look at five things you may not know you could do with a 3D printer.
Make Your Own Musical Instruments
Another misconception people tend to have about 3D printing is that it primarily creates blocky, uniform products. This is simply a result of the relatively simple demonstrations sometimes used to show off the technology. Really, though, 3D printing can actually be responsible for some incredibly complex designs — including for whole, functional musical instruments! Some incredible instruments were showcased by Sculpteo, including guitars, flutes, and even a futuristic violin. These designs do a great job of demonstrating just what 3D printing is capable of, and for anyone with an interest in music they might just inspire a great deal of innovation and experimentation.
Stock Your Kitchen Cupboards
Have you ever stopped to think about whether you might want something different from your kitchen supplies? Silverware and glassware tend to be relatively straightforward and, often enough, dull, and yet it’s something most people don’t give a whole lot of thought to. We might purchase bulk supplies upon securing a new apartment or receive cutlery sets as wedding gifts, and that’s that.
A couple of years ago though, in pitching the “Warby Parker of dishware,” Fast Company cast doubt on traditional notions of how to stock these kitchen supplies. It was an interesting point and did seem to open the door for a trendy, Warby Parker-esque company to emerge and capture a piece of the market. However, another option is — you guessed it — 3D printing! There are already examples of people making attractive, replicable silverware, glasses, and other pieces of kitchen equipment via this technology, and going forward this might become one of the coolest ways to stock your drawers and cupboards.
Design Your Own Circuit Boards
On a more technical level, but certainly a fun one for those with a passion for technology, it’s also now possible to 3D print PCBs (or printed circuit boards) — which can lead to all sorts of fun personal device design and computing projects. Now, it’s not quite as simple as it may sound; Altium’s look at PCB design via 3D printers, correctly points out that some design expertise is still needed. Different techniques must be considered, and the design must be rendered carefully so that each groove, surface trace, and component comes out as desired. With some technical know-how on the software side of PCB design though, you can indeed print functional circuit boards that can become the basis for your own homemade devices or other electronic projects.
Customize Electronics Casings
This is a relatively loose concept, but it’s one that relates to a surprising number of examples you’ll see if you look up 3D printing projects online. Basically, people are using 3D printing to customize storage and casings for various aspects of their electronics, and some of the results appear to be surprisingly handy. For instance, some have created compartments for batteries (which may be used on the same personal electronics projects you might consider printing PCBs for). Others have designed storage compartments for their gaming and streaming consoles to sit securely inside.
More still have even created custom parts for specific products, such as camera lenses. Really there’s no end to the potential creativity in this category, but it’s clear that the creation of items that support or house electronics has become a relatively popular 3D printing application.
It’s sort of remarkable how much new technology can influence our artistic capabilities, and every few years something new seems to give us another new way to make creative and beautiful things. We’ve discussed picture editing apps before, and these have certainly led to a whole generation’s worth of amateur photographers producing incredible photos.
Various sketching and painting apps on tablets, combined with “smart” pencils, have meanwhile helped more people to create wholly original work. And now, 3D printers are getting in on the action as well, giving people a whole new way to create physical art. With a little bit of practice in design software, people can now craft blueprints that result in actual, 3D sculptures. It’s undoubtedly one of the coolest things you can do with a 3D printer, and thus a fitting way to end our list!
If you have more suggestions on the things you can do with a 3D printer, feel free to drop a comment below. If you have any questions or queries regarding 3D printers, you can write to us using the contact us form.