Once the technology of the future, 3D printers are becoming available to everyday creatives and business people, enabling them to create replicas of everyday items. Whether you’re a designer looking for ways to revolutionize your practice, or a professional in a range of industries from art to medicine, the benefits of the technology are plentiful, and the list of production capabilities can only grow as it becomes more mainstream.
Of the range of 3D printers already on the market, the da Vinci Super is the best choice for large jobs (up to 11.8 inches in all dimensions), but those with less stringent size requirements might be better off with a great all-rounder like the MakerBot Replicator+. This is one of the best ones and it is on the list composed by Ink Station. These devices each come in above the $4000 mark, but there are options for those wanting to jump on the trend within a smaller budget, starting with the M3D micro printer. At a fraction of the price, it’s perfect for those who want to test out the technology without breaking the bank.
The first printed instrument was an acoustic guitar made out of plastic, complete with a metal sound hole cover. Every musician knows quality instruments can be very expensive to buy, from the humble flute all the way up to a full-sized piano, but over time, 3D printing technology could make these treasures more accessible to all. In the near future, musicians could even have the capability to design and print the instrument of their dreams.
Art and Home Decor
Whether it’s a plastic loom, a sculpture from your children’s artwork, or even an intricately designed light shade, 3D printers open up endless creative opportunities. The technology could enable you to decorate your home exactly the way you like, from the furniture down the accessories, without the hassle of combing through every item in the furniture store catalog. Stackable hexagon drawers and self-adhesive wall shelves are just a few of the infinite potential 3D printer creations, and they’re already available for purchase.
Toys and Games
Forget store-bought blocks and dolls – with a 3D printer, you could create unique toys and games to keep your kids entertained for hours on end. Design your own figurine or create a puzzle to rival the Rubix cube, and give the whole family a new reason to spend some quality time together.
Clothing and Accessories
As much as you might enjoy shopping for new additions to the wardrobe, the whole process could be streamlined with the help of a 3D printer. Everything from unique fabrics to shoes and jewelry can be designed and printed in 3D, enabling anyone to become a designer. A good quality machine can even produce unique swimwear using exact measurements, perfect for anybody whose body shape doesn’t suit standard sizes and styles.
Like furniture and home accessories, planters can be printed in any conceivable style and color. Even self-watering planters are well within the design capabilities of any 3D printer. Planters can be made to fit plants large and small, and the technology has even reached the stage of printable files for a near-infinite range of pot designs being available to the public.
Keeping your office space clean can be a challenge, but with a 3D printer, you can design containers and filing cabinets in just the right size and shape to store stationery and papers. A printer can create anything from a basic set of paperclips to a creative pegboard, opening up plenty of doors for stationery and office design companies.
Kitchen and Bathroom Supplies
With the capability to print in a variety of materials, 3D printers enable designers to create cups, bowls, and cutlery in any style and color. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even fashion handles for your knives and forks in any color you like. Meanwhile, the technology also has a few handy applications in the bathroom, starting with something as basic as a comb. Whenever you’re in need of a new soap dish, shower caddy, or toothpaste squeezer, 3D printing has you covered.
While 3D printing technology may not have progressed to the point of replicating working laptops and mobile phones, it’s perfect for creating unique accessories like cases and card holders. Whether you need something to keep your headphones from tangling or store your cards and phone in one, several brands have already come out with the ideal product. The printers are so advanced that they can even produce a perfect replica of a camera lens, ready to click and shoot.
Amongst the most valuable creations to come from 3D printing include medical equipment, such as life-sized models of the human body, perfect for covering anatomical theory with medical students. The models are typically so accurate that surgeons are able to plan and practice for surgery before it begins, making this one of the most important and practical examples of 3D printing around.
It’s no secret that 3D printers are making leaps and bounds in a wide range of industries and for good reason. They not only undercut traditional production expenses, but also tear down boundaries on creativity and new developments, and the progress designers have already made with these printers suggests that the technology has serious staying power for years to come.