The best things you can do with 3D printing

If you’re interested in the technology world at all, I’m sure you will have seen how popular 3D printing has become in the last few years. It all seemed like a very futuristic concept when 3D printing first became a topic of conversation, but they’re slowly becoming more and more popular in mainstream culture.

It’s not a surprise that they’re so popular now, either. If you haven’t heard much about 3D printing, it’s essentially being able to ‘print out’ objects that have been digitally designed. The printer will usually build these items up layer by layer, and the results can be incredibly intriguing.

In this article, I’ll be having a look at some of the best things that you can do with a 3D printer and why they are such a useful (and fun) thing to have at your disposal.

Room organisation and decluttering products

When I was researching for this article, I noticed that a common theme with 3D printing is to create products to help tidy up and organise your house. This ranges from simple things like pencil holders and desk tidies, to full-size stackable chests of drawers and cupboards. I think people have been incredibly creative with their 3D printing projects so far, and am interested to see where it goes next.

One of the reasons that I think this makes such interesting products is that 3D printing tends to make very modern and eye catching products. This is due to the digital design aspect- of course you can make products in other styles but the products that I’ve seen personally have a very modern and trendy style.

Something that’s worth noting here is that it’s very common for people to share their designs online. This is great, as it means that the unique designs from the community are available for everyone to enjoy and it’s not limited by whether you have any digital design programs at your disposal.

Interesting and unique art

Following the last point, 3D printing can be a great way to create beautiful artwork. I’ve seen a lot of great artists online who have created mesmerising sculptures and structures with their 3D printer. If you’re a creative person who’s looking for a new outlet for your artwork, it could be worth your while getting a 3D printer.

There’s a fantastic community alongside this too, with many unique artists to get inspired by. Should you be interested in creating art with a 3D printer, I would suggest having a look online for some ideas. There’s tons available- simply whilst researching here, I found everything from miniature sculptures to full-sized art installations.

One very interesting application of 3D printing in art is the use of ‘2.5D printing’, which is essentially a style of printing that adds detailed texture to a sheet of paper. There’s a great art project called the ‘Versus Art’ which is a collective of organisations who are using this interesting technique to replicate famous paintings. This is a great use of the technology, as it means that classic art will be available to many more people.

To further that point, a Spanish museum used this technique to create an art exhibit that was filled with classic paintings with texture to them. This was specifically made for people who have visual impairments, and I think it’s a beautiful use of this interesting technology.

Bespoke gifts for friends

Another great way that you can use 3D printing is for bespoke presents, for your friends or family. Due to the DIY aspect of creating your own design to print out, 3D printing is perfect for customising products and adding a personable flair. If you’ve got a 3D printer available and you’ve got a friend’s birthday coming up, why not create them something bespoke? Custom gifts are very memorable, and can really make someone’s day.

There’s plenty of amazing ideas available online for what you could create, too. Here are some of my favourites that I found whilst researching;

  • Original pieces of artwork. Try making something inspired by the first time you met, or something based on an inside joke that you have with them.
  • 3D printed nails. This idea is fantastic, as I think the possibilities are only limited by your imagination here. If you’ve got a fashion-forward friend then this could be perfect for them.
  • Customised jewellery. Again, you’re only limited by your own creativity here- customised jewellery would be an incredibly sweet gift. You could make something based off of their nickname, zodiac sign or hometown, for example.
  • Cookie cutters. This one may seem random, but if you’ve got a friend who’s into their baking then it could be great to create a custom cookie cutter.

There’s plenty of other ideas that you could do here. If you’re stuck for ideas, then I’d suggest taking a look at sites like Pinterest. Again, you should be able to find downloadable designs from other creators on the internet. Do always make sure that you have permission to be downloading their design, though!

Product prototypes

On another note, 3D printing can be incredibly useful if you’re trying to sell or promote a product. You can actually use a 3D printer to create scalable prototypes, if you’re trying to test out a new product concept or update to your existing product.

One way that this could be useful is if you’re exhibiting your products at an industry event or showcase. Sometimes, it’s not practical to take your products to an event, so having a functional yet smaller prototype of your work is the perfect way to show your customers what your business can do.

To conclude

To sum up, 3D printing is incredibly useful and it’s amazing that this sort of technology is just available on the market for us to buy as consumers. Whether you’re looking for a way to create unique items for your home, find custom gifts for your loved ones, create beautiful artwork or support your business, I’d suggest looking into it.

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