In the near future, 3D printers will be as essential in a home as having a smartphone or wireless Internet. A 3D printer’s range of applications is unlike any technology in the recent past.
Mainly, it’s because 3D printing is more than just about technology. Apart from helping with your devices, you can actually make non-digital objects and tools that make your life easier and better. Here’s a brief glimpse into the things you can 3D print already to upgrade your home.
This simple stand fits a myriad of smartphone and tablet sizes. Several experienced users have tested it, and Thingiverse (a public repository of 3D projects) has verified it. It’s no surprise that it was designed by 3D printing hero Sonia Verdu. You can use it as a stand, plug it to a charger while on the stand, and even hang the stand on a wall. No need to buy a stand any more!
No Bluetooth needed, you can boost your iPhone’s volume with a DIY amplifier. It takes a little over 10 hours to print, but once you do that, it will turn any iPhone into a loud music player. Plus, no batteries or charging required!
Combine the smartphone stand and passive amplifier into this one amp+dock unit. It’s made for iPhones, but a few users made it work with other smartphones that have speakers at their base. If you’re unsure if your phone will work, ask the makers at that page.
How would you like to turn your $35 Raspberry Pi into a mini laptop? All you need is a Pi and the PiTFT screen module to make a tiny notebook computer. Print out the case, fit everything in as instructed in this video, and you’re good to go. It’s one of the coolest Pi-based 3D printing projects.
If a compact, touchscreen Raspberry Pi device is more your taste than the notebook above, the Touch Pi is what you need. Grab a Pi, a PiTFT 3.5-inch touchscreen expansion module, an Adafruit Powerboost 500c, and a 2500mAh lithium polymer battery. Fit it all into this two-part case and you have a portable Touch Pi!
The most common problem with iPhone chargers and other USB cables is how they end up fraying. It’s super frustrating, and new cables are expensive. Instead, print these cable savers to protect both ends of a standard Apple Lightning cable so that they don’t fray.
Much like Lightning USB cables, your earphone cables get tangled and destroyed. It all comes down to good cable management. This spooled earphones holder will keep your in-ear headphones tangle-free and in good shape, while honoring their compact nature.
Most of us have a mess of USB cables lying on your desk or around the house. Instead, slot them into this simple USB cable holder, which you can fit onto a wall to clear up desk clutter, or keep on a desk just to stay organized. These simple utilities are what make 3D printers so awesome.
We previously called this a must-buy accessory for clean Mac desks, but now you can just print it out. Make as many of these simple desk cable holders as you want, so that your work desk is never a mess of wires.
Spooling wires is one of the essentials of good cable management. It’s also a neat way to keep a wire plugged in at shorter than its full length, but extend it when you need to. Make yourself a few simple cable spools and see how your mess of wires disappears. Oh yeah, you can scale it up as needed, so it will work with anything from a simple USB cable to a large appliance.
Like USB cables, AC adapters also make a big mess, especially for devices that you don’t use often. And those big plugs take up more space than they should in storage too. The AC Adapter Organizer is a smart way to put them all in one place, and avoids the mess of tangled wires in a drawer.
You need simple AA or AAA batteries for most things in your house. Where is it when you need it? Print out these dispensers for AA or AAA sized batteries and hang them somewhere convenient. Just keep the dispenser filled and you’ll never run out when you most need it.
Some electronics still need those big fat C batteries, but you probably don’t have any at home. Don’t worry, you just need a simple AA battery and this converter. That’s right, the only difference between the two is the size, which this converter fixes. Just like you can convert a AAA battery to AA.
The BladeKey is the key organizer you always wanted but didn’t know where to find. Your keys might differ in size from your neighbor’s. So how do you find a key organizer that fits your keys perfectly? Make it yourself!
The BladeKey is customizable in length, breadth and width, so that all your keys are perfectly housed in this compact case. Swivel them out one at a time. No more jangling, no more messy mound of metal in your pocket; you can solve life’s problems with 3D printing.
Carabiners are one of the most useful tools to have in your home. They can organize thousands of things in any room, from the garage to your bathroom. Whenever you need one, just print out the strong flex door carabiner, which has been measured to have a force of 236 Newtons.
You can never have too many paper bag clips. Say it with me, folks, you can never, ever, ever have too many paper bag clips. If your printer is quiet and you’re wondering what you can do with it, just set it to print more of these simple bag clips.
If you’ve never been able to justify the cost of a citrus juicer to yourself, treat yourself to one by 3D printing it. It’s one of those little kitchen tools that makes life easier. Once printed, make sure you wash it and scrub once with alcohol just to be safe–it’s touching your food directly, after all.
What do you mean you use two hands to open a bottle? You neanderthal! Go download this one-handed bottle opener right now, and print it out to be amazed (and amaze your friends). You’ll also need a small coin, by the way.
You don’t want to waste those few bits of toothpaste left in the tube, but man, it’s difficult to squeeze out those last drops. Instead, print out this tube squeezer so it does the job for you. It’ll fit most toothpaste tubes, and even has a lock to prevent the tube from unrolling.
A soap dish is handy to have. A soap dish that sticks to your wall without any drilling is a must-have. This 3D-printed soap dish uses two medium-sized suction cups to attach itself to your bathroom wall. Absolutely brilliant, and you can just print another at any time.
You never have a pair of pliers at hand when you need it, do you? Save yourself a trip to the hardware store. You can assemble this fully functional set of pliers within 20 minutes. Download it, print it, click it into place, and you’re ready.
It’s best to lock away important keys and USB drives when expecting company. This simple five-digit combination safe is the easiest way to get the job done. Now you don’t have to worry about your nephew pocketing your work flash drive as a “prank”.
Buying coasters is for suckers. You can’t personalize them apart from printing cheesy photos or one-liners! 3D printed coasters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so pick what you like, such as the video game coasters linked above. Plus, it’s a good starting point for someone wanting to mess around with their own CAD drawings.
It’s so incredibly frustrating when you lose one item from your measuring cup set. While 1/2 and 1 tablespoon pieces are easy to find in stores as single pieces, the rest aren’t. Just print your own instead, so your set is complete again.
The best-looking tape dispenser you’ve ever had is something you can’t buy at the store. Check out the Tentacle Tape Dispenser. Isn’t it awesome? You can print it out as a serrated version or a version where you fit your own exacto knife.
Oh man, this is the greatest invention since sliced bread. Post-shopping plastic bags cut into every inch of your hand’s flesh as you carry them. Get rid of the pain with these nifty plastic bag handles. Forgot one or misplaced it? No worries, just print another. Yay!
Printed Nest has been experimenting with a 3D printable bird feeder for a long time now. If you want a bird feeder without paying a dime, this is the one to use. It’s sturdy, it can stick to your windows, and you don’t need to be an expert. Print it out, follow the instructions to install it, and you’re done.
Forgot to water your plants or herbs? No problem. The self-watering planter will take care of it. Fill it up once a week and it takes care of the watering for you, so that your absent-minded mistake doesn’t harm your plant.
You don’t need to spend big bucks to get a cute little colorful lamp in your house. Color the Voronoi Mushroom Lamp in whichever shade you want, and just fit in a regular LED bulb. Tuh-dah, mood lighting on the cheap! Even the first version is quite cool.
Ball-jointed dolls, where every limb and part is flexible akin to the human body, are quite expensive in toy stores. But you can make it for a fraction of the price, and impress your kids. The 3D ball-jointed frog doll is among the more difficult projects here. So it’s not ideal for beginners to assemble, but after a few tries, you should be able to get it right.
Wow Your Friends with 3D Printing
We’re always looking for ways to convince our friends about the awesomeness of 3D printing. If the low cost of 3D printers isn’t convincing, this touring bike business card is a great seller. It fits in your wallet like a business card, but you can take it out and tear off parts to build a bicycle! Fascinating, right?
What’s the coolest or most useful 3D printing project you’ve found on the Internet? How do you show off your 3D printer’s might to your friends?