Everyone had thought of something they would print either for fun or for making their lives easier. Maybe some toy, something that would be a great decoration or even something to help in daily life, like 3D printed gadgets. They can come in every shape and color: keychains, screwers, boxes, or any other tool. Now that 3D printing is more real than ever, it is possible to print whatever we want!
3D printing can be very original and also very cheap. People have been printing chairs, vases, keychains, figurines, and more. You can also 3D print fashion pieces, like the headpieces Angela Bassett’s character wore on The Black Panther. But why stop at furniture, fashion, and toys? For example, a functional prosthetic hand made of silicone and other materials can cost over a hundred thousand dollars. In contrast, 3D printing can cost less than a hundred, and it will be custom-tailored to the wearer’s needs.
As a matter of fact, some projects worldwide are focused on printing prosthetics for people who can not afford it. One of the major 3D printing prosthetics projects, e-Nable, started because someone printed prosthetic fingers for cosplay. As his video became viral, a carpenter in South Africa asked for help. He had lost his fingers to a major carpenter accident. After successfully printing a prosthetic hand after many trials and errors, they got to know a kid born without fingers that needed help as well. They accepted the challenge and printed a prosthetic hand for the kid. Knowing the little guy would need changes on the model throughout the years, the founders of e-Nable started the hard work. After years, the project consists of connecting people who design prosthetic limbs and those who can 3D print them for people in need.
Yet, there have been successful 3D printing of human body parts by using actual human cells in medical engineering. This is a huge step towards organ replacement for those who need a transplant. Not a long time ago, scientists developed a bio-ink using human cells, which allowed them to observe those cells’ behavior and how they would rearrange themselves. Using models made of biological material, they were able to 3D print ears and noses. Beyond that, the scientists recently 3D printed a whole human heart at the size of a rabbit’s heart, showcasing that soon, we will be able to print functional human organs.
As you can see, 3D printing is an exciting opportunity to create many things. It can be prostheses, objects, gadgets, and many more items that can potentially change our lives or somebody else’s.
What is a gadget
There is a controversy about the meaning of the word “gadget.” According to Oxford University’s Lexico, a gadget is a small technological device that can be mechanical or electronic. It is believed that the word “gadget” comes from the late 19th-century French word “gâchette,” which means lock mechanism. The term “gadget” was used to describe more ingenious things than technology. Nowadays, it is common to use the word to describe small technological or mechanical devices that make our lives easier, like smartwatches, earphones, or even a phone holder.
For a long time, we would need to walk down the street to a gadget store to find something useful to buy and solve our problems. Walk by endless isles to find whatever you needed – or to discover if it even existed. Then, we moved on to infomercials that all you needed to do was picking up the phone and call a number to order your gadget (I am looking at you, Polishop). That trend was followed by online stores, which became the main source of our gadgets. Nowadays, it is even easier for you to have a gadget that solves most of your daily life problems: you can design and print it with a 3D printer. 3D printed gadgets!
3D printers are very recent technology; however, it is not that young. The first 3D printed object was made from an additive process, which is still used to 3D print, and it was printed by the creator Hideo Kodama in 1981. The process consisted of hardening polymers by using ultraviolet lights. In 1984, Charles Hull created stereolithography (SLA), a similar process to what Kodama has done. Layer by layer, the product was printed, rinsed with a solvent, and hardened using ultraviolet light. From then on, new forms of printing have been developed. For example, Selective Laser Sintering is an advanced form of additive manufacturing using a powder polymer. It adds the layer using a laser to fuse the powder together. It allows the designer to create more complex shapes than SLA can do. There is also Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), created by Scott Crump. It is known as “desktop 3D printing,” as it is the most common form of 3D printing nowadays. That method melts plastic filaments to create 3D objects, layer by layer.
As mentioned before, 3D printing has been revolutionizing the industry. The most common form of printing, FDM, can be easily considered a green option for building an object. Its main two options of filaments are ABS and PLA. ABS comes from petroleum, and it is barely recyclable, even though there is biodegradable ABS on the market. On the other hand, PLA is a greener option, as it is a bioplastic, which means it is compostable material. Both have a very competitive price; however, it is more common to see people printing using PLA than ABS. Interestingly enough, there are available projects aiming to use other kinds of material to create plastic filaments, from algae to recycled plastic recovered from the ocean.
Those types of material have been allowing us to 3D print objects easily and cheaply, which means that our gadgets can cost much less and be printed in some hours. Many websites have been feeding users with gadgets, most of them for free. They make the drawing available on large online libraries with every object you can think of: tables, toys, prosthetic limbs. You name it. 3D printed gadgets are the future, and we all know it. We selected a few printable gadgets for you to print at home.
Best 3D printed gadgets you can print at home
Phone cases and holders
Smartphones are very useful in our routine, allowing us to check e-mails, text our friends and colleagues, distract ourselves, etc. It is part of our must-have-objects. Protecting them is essential to keep them functioning, so those underestimated gadgets are incredibly important. With CAD software and a 3D printer, you can design your own phone case in any shape and color, and with a bit of experience, the case and holder can become a dock for it. Think about it, personalized 3D printed gadgets cases that can fit in perfectly with your dock, charging your phone while holding it in the best position for watching a video. You can adapt it to hold your phone in your car or bicycle.
You can basically create a case, holder, or dock for basically anything: videogames, controllers, power banks, etc.
Earbud cases and holders
Talking about phones, we all carry something useful with us just like them: our earbuds. Worry no more. From many designs to choose from, now it is possible to print these 3D printed gadgets earbud cases to prevent them from tearing apart and stop working. Or getting completely and insanely tangled. They are easily printable and very useful.
Let us be real here. Unfortunately, we are living during a pandemic, and the use of masks can be a lifesaver. As there is still no secure way to go outside without the risk of being infected by COVID, we must carry out masks with us. A reminder to grab a clean mask is to have a mask holder right beside your door. There, you can hang clean masks for you to grab and leave. But remember: stay inside and stay safe as much as you can.
Ok, hear me out. This one is really cool and helps you carry your bags from the store without the plastic hurting your hands. It is 3D printed gadgets similar to a glove that you wear to protect your fingers from plastic’s stretched tires. Put the bags on the holder, and live your best life carrying more than a heavy bag per way.
Tired of ripping paper apart? Want to destroy something just for the thrill of it? This 3D printable shredder got your back. It is fully functional as it is printed part-by-part and easily assembled. Depending on the filament you use for printing its parts, you can definitely shred many types of objects.
You can also print pen holders in various shapes, making sure people in the office know who those pens belong to. Desk organizers with a phone charging dock are also possible. It is also possible to print cardholders, paperweight, stands, paper clips in any shape, and, my own favorite, a cryptex for USB drivers. The best on 3D printed gadgets!
Ever thought of having a bathroom full of cool stuff? With a 3D printer, that is possible. One thing that can be easily printed is cool shower heads in any shade you like. A shark throwing up water on your head? Consider it done. Furthermore, for shower time, you can also 3D print a soap dish that does not allows water to be contained, messing up the soap. And you can 3D print some very fun toilet paper holders.
Many people enjoy having plants in their houses, as they are a very beautiful alive decoration. With a 3D printer, you can actually print many vases according to your likes. You can print a character vase, like a Bulbasaur vase, or more common models. It is up to you.
Not only can you print your vase, but this is for those who enjoy planting and might not be the best parent for their green children. Some intelligent vases control how much water your plant receives, and it has a water reserve to help you keep its earth moist. Also, there is an electronic version of that. Even though the electronic parts are not printable, the vase structure is. Adding some sensors and chips, the vase can indicate how wet the earth is and its temperature. It updates its data when you water your plant, allowing you to take good care of the little one. Who knew there would be 3D printed gadgets for gardening, right?
And depending on what is in your garden, you can also print plant clips to keep sticks together.
Chess pieces and other toys
We have already talked about 3D printing toys on our blog before, but it is worth mentioning it again. With a 3D printer, you can print many types of toys. There are incredible chess pieces sets based on iconic books, movies, and TV series, and most of the models are free to download. You can print old table games that are not on the market anymore, for example, as you can also print figurines and puzzles. Why not a tick-tack-toe? Or any other 3D printed gadgets.
The 3D toy market is expanding so much that companies like Mattel are launching their own 3D printer for toys. The printers are so easy (and safe) to handle that even kids can design and print their toys. Keep in mind that those toys are not safe for your pets, as the filaments commonly used can be toxic to them.
Animal feeders and houses
Even though your pets can not play with 3D printed toys because they can ingest toxic plastic parts, it does not mean they can not have an animal feeder 3D printed. Some filaments can be used to 3D print food containers due to the fact they are not toxic (it does not mean they can be chewed or eaten, however).
Not only that, but you can also build houses for your pets, depending on the size of your printer and your animal. You can print whole birdhouses, hamster wheels, and much more for small printers. So much for 3D printed gadgets!
Measuring cubes and other kitchen tools
If you like to cook, you are definitely going to like this one. There is in the market a little cube you can use for measuring. It indicates how much is half of a spoon or two cups precisely. You will not need to wonder if your cup is bigger or smaller than the following recipe. It is magical.
And for those who are terrible at cutting their vegetables, you can also print some help for that. The gadget has openings for you to slice whatever is inside; all you have to do is use the knife while holding it.
Another interesting thing to print is coasters or can holders. There are even models you can add a cap for your can holder, so it prevents spilling or someone adding suspicious things in it. You can print bottle openers, even those you can carry as a keychain, and you can be very creative in its shape and color. Nutcrackers, garlic press, you name it. Just remember to use a food-safe filament, like food-safe PLA.
As you can see, a 3D printer can do a lot of things, from printing daily tools like shovels, handles, and combs to advanced technological things, such as houses, cars, and human body parts—it all from adding layers and layers of filament, creating incredible shapes. It takes a creative mind to transform boring daily gadgets into incredible (and cheap) stuff.
It is possible to find cheaper 3D printers in the market. It is a very important tool for humankind’s future, with CAD software expanding to new technologies that allow us to have a 3D printer ourselves. There is no way we will not see a lot more designs and interesting tools to come.
SOLIDFACE – The best CAD Software
SolidFace is a very useful tool for those who want to adventure into 3D printing. It allows the designer to draw, document, create, edit, share, and much more. It has many features that benefit its users. SolidFace is intuitive and user-friendly, with many built-in tools to help the designer create whatever they have in their minds with a guaranteed best experience.
If you are looking for a complete CAD – Download SolidFace for Free
Our software enhances how you create and execute your designs dramatically. It is a big deal to those who need a potent tool at the lowest cost. We offer design, manufacturability, simulation, cost estimation, checks, and much more. Explore new situations without changing your team’s work, collaborate in real-time, follow any changes. We aim to deliver the best CAD software in the market.
Come and take a look at how we deliver the best.
Collab: allow others to collaborate in your designs either you want it or need it. And you can choose whether they can see the drawing or help you editing, changing or erasing any part of your project. As it tracks every move, everyone can see in real-time any changes that occurred, and you can share them with clients, users, teammates, or friends. Designate tasks to anyone with our tools, and make sure everyone is on track.
Data management: this built-in feature enables the user to manage and control their designs without another PDM system. Reducing the costs for the team, they will always be able to access the latest data. In the case of a teammate changing something on the project, that change will be registered and tracked. And not only that, but the changes will be available for auditing and alteration. Draw, redraw, change your sketch in your free will without losing track of it. Our feature also allows merging many ideas to be developed.
3D parts: our software has very sturdy features. It is possible to design simple or complex models with great methodologies. Top-down or bottom-up. Include new and multiple parts to your drawing. Our software offers robust parametric capabilities, so you can create your design fast and easily.
3D part library: we grant you access to online part libraries with more than a hundred million parts from many manufacturers. Actually, you can work with standards such as ANSI, GB, ISO, NF, and ASME.
3D assemblies: assemble your designs with simple and intuitive built-in standards. Link hardware and parts; use our libraries. Simulate and test a collision if needed. There is also the possibility of updating parts in-context efficiently.
Drawings: Draw your designs in simple and interactive ways with parametric references in modeling. That is a module that was developed in-house, and it is fully integrative with 3D. Showcase your designs, assemble them with geometric tolerances, dimensions, balloons, datums. Showcase it with weld symbols and surface finish, notes, sheets, tables, callouts, and other configurable properties. It supports DWG, DWT, and DSF formats.
Parametrization 2.0: Our most significant advantage is present in every single design step. Stimulate its motion, and it will be updated simultaneously with the movement. Our software allows you to simulate even in 2D mechanisms, which can be produced in 2D or 3D sketch.
Support: Our staff is here to help you with any of your doubts. Our team is ready for free entry-level requests via tickets, e-mail, or website chat. Also, you can always check our YouTube channel, which offers self-paced tutorials with instructor-led training.
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SolidFace offers full 3D printing compatibility. It creates files STL® and OBJ®. Our software also offers a history construction tree, with references such as the center of circles and arcs, midpoint, endpoint, and direct command editing. Using our 3D Exploded View, it is possible to create 3D model diagrams, showing the assembly’s order of various parts or their relationship. Visualize components like parts and subassemblies, all of them with defined displacements. Enable or disable it at any time.
Nonetheless, SolidFace allows you to create real 3D simulations with collision and clash tests. As the movement occurs, our software updates your scenario simultaneously. It is also possible to simulate 2D mechanisms, either in a 3D sketch module or 2D drawing. We communicate with Windows through our Windows app communicator, allowing our users to create 3D family parts using TXT table files or CVS formats. And, finally, our users can customize their software interface. Play with themes, colors, positions, toolbars. Divide your screen up to 16 windows to work with multiple parts.
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Create whatever you want.