What is 3D Printing?
If you're here, you're probably already well-versed in the wide and wonderful world of 3D printing. But for those curious souls who aren't, 3D printing is exactly what it sounds like.
There are a variety of ways a 3D printer can work, but they are all forms of additive manufacturing. This is a breakaway from traditional manufacturing, where you would start with a piece of material and cut bits away to get the desired item. 3D printing is more efficient, as it only uses material that is needed for the finished piece.
3D printers are incredibly affordable, and there is a vibrant community of engineers and 3D modelers out there who are happy to help a fresh face in the scene get started. Not to mention a wealth of resources when it comes to things like 3D models and project guides.
Now, with that out of the way, let's get into our bumper list of useful things you can 3D print for your home.
1. Coat Hangers
Probably not the first thing you'd think of, granted. And, while most of us find we have too many coat hangers, many of us still occasionally hit that inexplicable moment where we need one and don't have any spares.
Rather than let your clothes get crumpled, you can always head over to your 3D printer and make your own. There are some interesting designs available online, including collapsible coat hangers, that fold down into a less obtrusive size when they are not being used. And, of course, you can always design your own.
2. Crinkle Lamp
You might be wondering what a Crinkle Lamp is, and you probably aren't alone in that. Crinkle Lamp is inspired by the popular Voronoi Lamp and is essentially a box-shaped lampshade with a distinctive crystalline style design that spreads light in exciting ways. Whether you need a new lampshade and want to put your 3D printer to use, or you like the look of the Voronoi Lamp but feel it's a bit too rich for your blood... or even just because you can, Crinkle Lamp is a great item to put your printer through its paces, not to mention a conversation starter.
3. Six Pack Carrier
With the explosion of interest in home brew and craft beer in recent years, it should come as no surprise that some clever soul has gone to the trouble of creating a 3D printable six-pack carrier.
There are several designs for six-pack carriers, including some that are created in flat-pack form and assembled afterwards. These have the advantage of being both 3D printable and compatible with CNC routing machines, which are also popular in the home brew manufacturing space. However you choose to go about it, there's no excuse for fumbling with multiple loose bottles or soggy cardboard carriers anymore.
4. The R4 Retro Clock
Retro is very much in fashion right now, with price points to match. The in-demand nature retro gadgets may have led to some steep price points, but with a 3D printer and a bit of time, you could have a cool looking retro clock for a fraction of the price.
That is, assuming you didn't buy a 3D printer just to print this clock.
The R4 is a retro clock design that doubles up as a handy stationery holder. You'll need to source the mechanical components, of course, but given that you could always buy a cheap clock for a few dollars and steal the guts out of that, it's hardly going to break the bank.
5. Self-Watering Planter
Most people love the idea of a bit of greenery in their home, particularly when that home is in an urban area where instances of nature are few and far between. What we don't like, however, is the feelings of guilt and shame when our plants die because we forgot to water them.
Fortunately, a self-watering planter is only a couple of 3D printing sessions away. You'll still have to top it up occasionally, but not nearly as often.
6. Super Mario Paper Towel and Napkin Holder
In keeping with the earlier theme of retro-chic, popular games from the 90s are also enjoying a resurgence of late. If you are one of the people fueling this resurgence, you may be interested in this Super Mario paper towel holder.
It doesn't do anything special other than holding your paper towel rolls and napkins. Still, it does bring the iconic 8-bit video game to life on your kitchen counter, complete with castle, end-level flag pole, and even a pipe to keep your kitchen roll securely in place. We are unclear as to whether the pipe leads to a secret under ground room.
7. Groovi Monster Sound Amplifier
Bluetooth speakers are great, but they aren't always as practical as you might like. They need charging, for one thing. And they aren't always as portable as they perhaps should be.
With the Groovi Monster sound amplifier, you don't need to worry about charging an external speaker because it doesn't use any power! Instead, it makes use of good old acoustics to amplify the sound coming directly from your phone's speakers. And it looks like a monster, which is also cool.
8. Monitor Mounted Shelf
Desk space is always at a premium, so any solution forgetting clutter up and off that surface is welcome. Monitor Shelf is not, as the name might lead you to believe, a shelf for your monitor. Instead, it is a shelf that sits on your monitor.
The simple design hooks over the top of your monitor with supporting arms resting against the back of the monitor to hold the shelf in place. It doesn't require permanent or semi-permanent fixing, so you don't need to worry about getting tacky, hard to remove adhesive all over your monitor.
9. Filament Clip
Using a 3D printer to make 3D printing easier might feel a bit like a snake eating its own tail, but there's no reason why you should take every advantage 3D printing gives you.
In this case, filament clips (or clamps, if you prefer) can prevent your precious 3D printing filament from unraveling when not in use. Filament arrives tightly wound, nice and neat. But once used there is nothing to stop it from unspooling all over the place, and rewinding filament onto its spool is nobody’s idea of a fun time.
10. Honeycomb Vase
The self-watering plant pot is great and all, but it's not exactly eye-catching. And not everyone struggles to keep their plants alive. So, what about the more green-fingered of our number, who would rather have something a little more interesting to look at?
How about a visually stunning curved honeycomb vase? This vase is the perfect size for a medium-sized arrangement, and can also be used as an interesting looking stationery holder. The pattern on the vase resembles a series of distorted cubes, and even looks a little like scales. Perhaps the more artistic of you could paint your 3D printed honeycomb vase to make it look like a dragon egg.
Or you could just put flowers in it. Whichever works for you.
Sticking with plants for the moment, the Plantygon is an interesting solution to growing plants indoors, or even outdoors if you prefer. Named for its polygonal design (and the fact that you put plants in it), the Plantygon is a modular, stackable planter with a very distinctive appearance.
For outdoor use, there is a version with drainage holes, and the design of the Plantygon is such that water from the upper planters will drain through, watering the ones below it. Of course, the indoor version doesn't have these holes because you don't water all over your window sill or table, so be sure to choose the right one when you print. If you have the option to print in different colors, arranging a varied collection of Plantygons can make for an impressive arrangement.
12. Measuring Cube
The Measuring Cube fits firmly in the realm of things you didn't know you needed. Ostensibly little more than a cube with a series of dimples of varying sizes, the measuring cube can be used to measure out ingredients, such as rice, or water.
Each section of the cube has the measurement clearly embossed in it, so you know exactly which one you need. Its super-compact design makes it particularly ideal for situations where space is at a premium, such as in the ever-popular tiny houses, or in camping kits. Be aware that there are things to consider when 3D printing items for use with food. In particular, the designers of the Measuring Cube recommend you print using PETG filament, which has a higher degree of chemical resistance than other printing materials.
13. Survival Whistle
When 3D printing first burst onto the scene, everybody was printing whistles. We're not sure why, but that happened. The scene has moved on since those early days of endless whistles, but that doesn't mean we should abandon whistles altogether.
The V29 Survival Whistle can achieve an ear-piercing 118 dBof life-saving noise. It can be printed with a loophole for hanging it around your neck or attaching to your gear if you are heading out on a risky hike. Regardless of how you choose to keep your whistle to hand, you can be sure anyone nearby will hear it if you find yourself in a situation where you have to blow on it.
14. Pegboard Collection
Pegboards are a great way to clear the surface area from countertops, desks and workbenches. Little more than a flat board full of holes and fastened to the wall, you can arrange things on that board in a variety of ways. Need to hang something from it? Attach a simple hook. Need to store something? Fasten a storage bin up there.
That's where the Pegboard Collection comes in. Available in a variety of sizes, these pegboard compatible storage solutions fasten easily to your pegboard, creating a vast array of options for you to store things away from your precious desk or counter tops. From simple storage bins to shelves, and even business card holders, you won't be short of a place to put your stuff.
15. Bottle Opener
Yes, you read that right; 3D printed bottle openers. It might not immediately sound like a good idea to use 3D printed plastic to open your beer with, but anyone who has ever opened a bottle with the butt of a lighter will know that you don't need a particularly strong material to get the job done.
3D printed bottle openers are small, ergonomic, and practical. You attach them to a key chain, throw them in your pocket, even add them to your camping gear, so you always have a bottle opener on hand when you head for the great outdoors. These particular bottle openers barely deform the cap, so in many cases, it can be put back on the bottle if the situation requires it.
16. Headphone Stand
We've covered a few solutions for keeping your desk tidy in this list, so why not another one? Headphones are an essential part of any household with more than one person living there. At least, that is if you don't want to end up fighting because someone's three-hour YouTube session was too loud. But headphones aren't the most intuitive thing to store away. They're an awkward shape, they're quite bulky, and in some cases, they have a wire hanging off them.
That's where headphone stands come in. A simple-yet-stylish design that will look good on any desk, but more importantly, it gets those headphones up off of the desk surface. The fact that they look cool while they're there is just a bonus.
17. Toothpaste Tube Squeezer
We're all trying to be more environmentally conscious of late, and part of that is avoiding waste wherever possible. Toothpaste tubes are notorious for being wasteful, as it often seems impossible to empty the tube completely.
With a toothpaste tube squeezer, you don't need to worry about wasting toothpaste anymore. This simple device works by essentially rolling the tube around a spool, squashing it flat as it does so. When you need to brush your teeth, simply turn the toothpaste squeezer with the handy grip until you've got enough paste on your brush.
18. Key Holder
Decluttering is a strong theme in the 3D printing world, as evidenced by much of this list. One age-old source of clutter is keys. House keys, car keys, locker keys. We have a lot of them, and they tend to get left on tables and counter top. Not particularly tidy, and very prone to getting lost.
Enter the key holder rack. Mountable on any flat surface, though it may be worth avoiding mounting it on a wall that is easily visible from an outside window for security reasons. This design sports a nice mountain design, with four hooks for your keys and even a little shelf area.
19. Floating Photo Frame
There's no shortage of options when it comes to photo frames, but it can't hurt to add one more. Floating photo frames are a super lightweight option that, as the name suggests, make your photos appear as if they are floating just in front of the surface they are mounted on.
They are so lightweight, in fact, that they can be attached to the wall with little more than a thumbtack. And changing the photo is as easy as sliding the old one out and the new one in. No disassembly required.
That's right; you can 3D print actual tools. Now, we're not saying a 3D printed plastic wrench is a replacement for a steel wrench-we wouldn't recommend using this bad boy to loosen your lug nuts next time you get a flat-but that doesn't mean it doesn't have uses of its own.
For example, any fastening that is made of plastic itself is unlikely to pose a problem for our 3D printed friend here. Similarly, most of the smaller metal fastenings you're likely to find around the home should be well within the capability of a 3D printed wrench.
And, of course, it's a very cool thing to be able to print, which almost makes it worth it by itself.
And that is the end of our list. It is by no means a definitive list-there is plenty more out there-but we had to stop somewhere!