Many of us dream of having a 3D printer and about printing at home.
Not only are home printers great, there are also fantastic 3D printing developments around the world!
In this list, we have gathered some of the best projects from around the world, and some of these you can even try yourself.
Use the menu below to see what's in store, and if you find a great 3D printing project that's not included, then let us know in the comments.
Check out this fun 3D development (pun intended)! In this project, you’ll find files to 3D print your own camera. The basic elements are all included. The shutter and lens are modules, so you can swap them out for different ones without having to reprint the camera. Enjoy the nostalgia of working with 35mm film. The most challenging part of this project is printing the lens. As it needs to be perfectly smooth, expect to put in plenty of time and elbow grease polishing yours. While you won’t have all the conveniences of a digital camera, you’ll still be able to capture high-quality images with your 3D printed camera.
Mobile Construction 3D Printer
Shoetopia is an environmentally conscious project developed by Zuza Gronowicz and Barbara Motylinska. The concept is simple, and the possibilities are endless. Flexible and biodegradable filament and natural textiles are used to create compostable and functional shoes. Thanks to the printing technique used, there is no sewing or gluing needed. Those interested in designing their own shoes can use the online footwear application where they can prepare a personalized print file, purchase it, and then either print the shoes themselves or send it to a local 3D printing center. While this is a fun project, it can also be used to provide shoes to less fortunate parts of the globe.
Eric van Straaten is an artist skilled in hand-sculpted statues. But once he learned the art of 3D printing, he took his designs to a new level. Eric believes that there is no other technique that can achieve the level of hyper surrealism as 3D printing does. He develops his own designs but does take on requests when possible. One of the best features of 3D printing is the uniqueness of each piece, which is obvious in Eric’s work. Every facial feature, lock of hair, and accessory has been designed with precision. While 3D printing has several uses, its artistic value can’t be overlooked.
Meet the James Madison University 3SPACE classroom, the first general-education college 3D printing classroom in the country. Its students have designed and produced some unique projects since its founding in 2003. There are too many projects to list in this space, but some of our favorites include the Coronation Cube Puzzle and the Fidget Star. If you’re looking for something a little different, the Spiral Vase or any of the artistic sculptures might do the trick. Download the files and print your own or use the projects as inspiration for your own creations. We can’t wait to see what students will design next.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is responsible for two monumental 3D printing projects. The first, the Shelby Cobra, is a 3D printed chassis and body of a 194 Shelby Cobra. The project demonstrates the ability to manufacture strong yet lightweight composite parts. ORNL partnered with TruDesign for this project and the Shelby Cobra has traveled the world. It’s even been viewed by former president Barack Obama. The second project, the AME, is a collaboration between the ORNL and several partners, including Georgia Tech, the University of Minnesota, and the Department of Energy. It’s a fully-functional, partially 3D printed excavator. These projects showcase the potential of 3D printing in heavy-duty projects.
Cell phones have transformed the way we live. Just when we think the device has been advanced as much as it can be, a project like Glove One comes around. Glove One is a wearable mobile communication device that transforms your hand from the support of your phone into your phone. The project won’t come together overnight for you, should you decide to make your own. It took the creator about two months to complete his. Once you’ve made it through all the steps, you’ll have a futuristic mobile communication device that’s sure to turn a few heads.
Here’s a sweet project that’s sure to catch your attention. Dinara Kasko joined forces with Jose Margulis, a Miami artist known for his 3D sculptures utilizing colorful plastic sheets. Together, they created a variety of tempting tarts with designs almost too good to eat. The tops of each tart seem to resemble unique landscapes. Depending on the angle in which you’re viewing the piece, you’ll notice precise cuts and depths that seemingly weren’t there before. Some of the best art comes together when more than one sense is utilized. By combining the impressive visual elements with taste, this 3D project is truly one of a kind.
It is estimated that nearly eight million metric tons of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every year. What if there were a way to replace plastic without compromising its versatility? Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros believe we’re closer than most people think to doing so. The team cultivates algae and then process it into a material that can be used to 3D print objects. They also use other materials to develop environmentally friendly printing. One example is the living mycelium chair, build and strengthened with fungi and raw materials. This is something you have to see to believe.
Ioan Florea is an artist with a unique ability of combining two seemingly opposite materials and creating a seamless piece of art. One prime example of this is his 1800 3D Covered Wagon piece. The artist uses a large scale 8’ x 4’ industrial 3D printer for his creations. This particular life-size artwork utilizes the authentic wooden frame of a covered wagon while the top is a 3D printed piece. When placed together, it seems as if they were designed to compliment one another and that the top cover is somehow as old as its base. Use Ioan’s creativity to inspire your own art or simply explore his unique online gallery.
Not all 3D printed art is created equal. When you see these printed skulls, you’ll know the artistic value they hold. The artist behind them, Joshua Harker, is a sculptor and inventor but is also considered a pioneer and visionary in the 3D printed art world. The filigree design has a vintage feel, yet the pieces look like something out of a future dream. The captivating pieces are described as “unmakeable” yet Joshua continues to make the impossible an artistic reality. Explore his portfolio for yourself and you’ll see why his work has been so well received.
What do you get when you mix a talented architect with seven tons of printed sandstone? The answer is the Digital Grotesque II, a full-scale 3D printed grotto. Designed by Michael Hansmeyer, the piece is a celebration of advanced architecture that would have been thought impossible a decade ago. The Digital Grotesque II can be viewed at Centre Pompidou’s “Imprimer le monde” exhibition in Paris. If you can’t make the trip, there are plenty of pictures to view online. However, we doubt the pictures accurately represent the immense detail and texture displayed by the piece.
Technological advancements have made life easier. For example, health technology has saved countless lives. But what we’re really excited about is the XOCO, a 3D printer that makes anything you can dream of out of…chocolate. This is an ideal product for 5-star restaurants and cake artists. The small profile of the printer is ideal for companies of all sizes. It can even find a spot on your home counter. The XOCO is not currently for sale but the design opens doors for the food 3D printing wave that’s starting to sweep the industry.
If you’ve ever wanted to make designer pancakes in the comfort of your own home, the PancakeBot is what you’ve been waiting for. Designed by Miguel Valenzuela, the PancakeBot sits over a griddle and prints either your own design or one from the library of approximately 300 images. New images are added every week. Whether you just want to have some fun at home or add artistic pancakes to your restaurant’s menu, the PancakeBot is full of precision, art, and surprise. Explore the whimsical side of 3D food printing with PancakeBot.
3D printing has changed the world in many ways. But what it’s done to the art world is truly impressive. Just take a look at Sunflowers, a 3D printed sculpture designed by Rob and Nick Carter, a husband and wife team who have been making art for over 20 years. Inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 oil on canvas painting of the same name, this bronze statue has both modern and historical touches. Every petal seems like it could come to life. If you want a true example of the power 3D printing holds for artists, Sunflower is a beautiful place to start.
Meet Jerry, a multipurpose robotics platform. Like any good robot, Jerry can perform several tasks, some which he utilizes a removable grip arm for. This is where 3D printing comes into play. Jerry’s 3D printed gripper is made up of five printed pieces. It acts as its own unit and is ideal for larger robotics projects. The strength is impressive and firm. Developed by Slant, their robotic features (both printed and not) are designed with the thought of functioning robots in mind. Slant wants to get the robots out of the lab and into the world, and 3D printing is helping.
Mornings are rough. Getting in breakfast before you run out the door can be a struggle. But the birdnest eggcup can help make those early morning hours a little easier. This playful eggcup was inspired by nature and comes together with 3D printing. Though designed to hold a medium egg, the flexible material can support most egg sizes. Designed by Studio Gijs, the eggcup makes a great gift for a friend or for yourself to boost your mood on rough mornings. Every eggcup is printed on demand. This is a fantastic way to get your first piece of 3D printing.
In 2007, a little girl fractured her wrist. It would require six weeks in a cast. Traditional casts can be painful to place and uncomfortable to wear. With 3D printing taking the health industry by storm, printing a cast seemed like a logical step for Anais. Her arm was scanned, and a thin cast was printed. The brace was plated with a copper and nickel blend to explore other healing properties. The nickel plating made the brace cooler, which helped aid comfort while healing. But it was also an experiment to blur the boundaries between medicine and jewelry.
Some issues with this process is that the delay between scanning and printing isn’t ideal. The location of the fracture may be swollen, leading to an inaccurate print. However, these casts are open, can be worn in the shower, and healing of tissue can be properly monitored.
Print Your City! is a call for action for cities and towns all over. Residents are encouraged to transform their household plastic waste into raw material for 3D printing projects, like public furniture. Kick-started in 2016, the project is still in its infancy. But initial feedback has been positive. Citizens have become more engaged in lessening their environmental footprint. The Municipality of Amsterdam was the first to embrace the program, building a communal bench out of what otherwise would have been wasted materials. If you want to bring Print Your City! to your neck of the woods, visit their website for more information.
Toyze - Bring Your Favorite Game Characters to Life as Customized Toys!
Meet Toyze, a fun and quick application that enables you to make personalized and unique 3D game characters. Whatever your favorite game is, you can design your figure as you see fit. Choose from different poses and sizes or add fun accessories like hats and glasses. Once you’ve customized your character, place your order. Your figure will be shipped directly to you. For now, Toyze is dedicated to mobile games but there are plans in the works to include video and computer characters along with comics and movie characters. Have a favorite character? Get your hand on some 3D printed memorabilia.
3D Printed Dog Skull Mask
Man’s best friend – they bring us joy and comfort. But what happens when they’re the ones in need of healing? This is where Loca found herself, a 4-month-old puppy that was bitten so severely by another dog that two bones in her face were fractured. Similar to how a cast helps the arm or leg heal after breakage, a face mask was custom printed using a CT scan by the UC Davis College of Engineering. The Exo-K9, as the mask was dubbed, allowed Loca to heal over the next several months without being put at risk for more severe damage. 3D printing has helped human patients but now it can be used to help furrier ones as well.
Thanks to 3D printing, the future of real estate looks quite bright. WATG’s Chicago-based team won first prize in the Freeform Home Design Challenge. Their 3D printed home, dubbed “Curve Appeal”, was declared a thoughtful approach and pushes the envelope of what is possible. The home features a kitchen, bath, living area, and bedroom. It allows for ample natural light and meets all electrical, plumbing, and lighting requirements without limiting solar power options. Though the home might look out of place in your neighborhood, we think it’s a design that could win the hearts of America’s neighborhoods.
We live in a society that still hesitates when a young girl expresses an interest in engineering or science. However, build IT @ SDSU Library is hoping to change this. On Girl Day, a day during the organizations’ Engineer Week, a young group of middle school aged girls were given the chance to design their very own 3D printed bracelet. The design had to be something the girls wanted but also one that could be printed 45 times in the small printing window they had available. The project also required that the design be STEM-related. The outcome was a bracelet with the complete solar system going across. The girls also painted their bracelets after printing. See what else build IT is doing to inspire young minds!
A recent Navy partnership developed the first 3D printed submersible. The prototype came together in under four weeks and there are currently plans to produce fleet-capable prototypes that could be available as early as 2019. Partners in the project included the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s Disruptive Technology Laboratory, Picatinny Arsenal, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Naval Air Systems Command, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Centers from Crane, Panama City, Philadelphia, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport, and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The second project ORNL was involved with was the printing of AMIE, one of the world’s first 3D printed homes that also serves as a vehicle and integrated energy system.
3D printing in infrastructure can save time and money. This was just the case in the construction of the world’s first 3D printed bridge in Madrid. Organized by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the bridge measured 12 meters long and 1.75 meters wide. The material used was micro-reinforced concrete. Raw material was recycled during the build, minimizing the amount of waste while maximizing structural performance. While 3D printing has been traditionally used for small-scale projects, the installation of this bridge expands the possibilities 3D printing offers the construction industry.
Monica Horcicova is a Czech artist known for her complex sculptures, all created by 3D printing technology. The artist’s themes are a metaphor for death and life. Exploring her gallery takes you on a one of a kind journey. With most pieces involving printed human bones, the initial reaction is hard to describe. The artwork is beautiful, yet raw and powerful. From intricate pieces to oversized outdoor exhibits, Monica fully embraces the power of 3D printing. Experience her artwork for yourself and see how detailed and accurate 3D printing can be.
For the ladies who despise time spent in a fitting room, this project should spark some interest and curiosity about the future of fashion. Nervous System was commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to design a dress that showed the connection between fashion and technology. A 3D scan was used to determine the exact measurements of the wearer’s body. Inspired by natural elements like petals and feathers, the Kinematic Petals Dress was designed. It features over 1,600 unique pieces but the dress prints fully assembled and ready to wear. Explore the images to see what a custom printed dress looks like.
Picture a robot. Does it include dramatic angles, cold materials, and sharp corners? A team of Harvard University researchers are changing the assumption of what a robot should look like. They designed a small 3D printed robot that includes no electronics or traditional robotic materials. Considered the first autonomous, entirely soft robot, the project was dubbed the “octobot”, as it resembles an octopus. The device is powered by a chemical reaction, which inflates the robot’s arms. Future designs will ideally be able to swim and interact. The “octobot” was designed to inspire roboticists and researchers to explore soft robotics.
Imagine a bottle of laundry detergent that orders its replacement for you. Now imagine the same concept, but without the need for batteries or electronics. If this seems like witchcraft, you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s the work of 3D printing. Wireless sensors, input widgets, and smart communicative objects can be 3D printed and integrated into our daily lives. While this project has plenty of room for growth and development, a team made up of two students and one faculty member at the University of Washington has designed fully 3D printed weight scales, flow sensors, and anemometers. There are several prototypes to gain inspiration from as well.
3D wall art isn’t uncommon. Compared to paintings or canvas prints, 3D wall art offers plenty of advantages. Take a look at this piece designed by Dominik Raskin. The 3D printed horse head and two front legs seem to be bursting out from the wall. This piece could find a home in a variety of décor styles. The Equus artwork comes in several different sizes and colors to match individual needs. Because it’s 3D printed, the lightweight wire-frame structure is easy to hang without damaging walls. Visit the website to see how simple it is to get your hands on a piece of 3D printed artwork that’s sure to attract attention.
AirRocketWorks works with schools, STEM clubs, scouts, libraries, museums, and learning centers to bring their love of rockets to people of all ages and abilities. One of their projects utilized 3D printing in an easy and fun way that makes building a home rocket a possibility for just about anyone. Their 3D printed rocket adapters can be used with a plastic body tube, foam nose, and a set of sticker fins. For a fun twist, there’s space to add your favorite LEGO figurine. Send your figurine on an unforgettable ride with this project and discover the fun of rockets.
ETH News and ETH Zurich has reported the fabrication of the first silicone human heart. The ability to produce human organs for transplant is one of the most promising uses of 3D printing. The silicone heart closely resembles a human heart, both inside and out. For example, it has a right and left ventricle and can contract as required to pump blood. However, there is one main issue with the prototype. It can only last for about 3,000 beats, which would be less than an hour in a human. The material can’t handle the strain longer than this. But this first crucial step to 3D organ printing should surely inspire engineers and researchers to continue working on a prototype that could one day replace human organ donations.
3D-PAWS, or 3D Printed Automatic Weather Station, was launched by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the US National Weather Service International Activities Office. The goal of the initiative is to build low-cost systems that are durable and reliable in order to gather and communicate weather data through rural communities. One of the main benefits of these systems is that the 3D printed components can be reprinted as needed when systems fail. With traditional weather systems, replacements are costly and repairs sometimes impossible. The ability to accurately monitor weather keeps residents safe.
Do you spend warm, sunny days cruising the highway on your motorcycle? If so, you’ll enjoy this next project. The Light Rider is the world’s first 3D printed prototype for an electric motorcycle. The plan is to develop an exclusive small series of the Light Rider that will be street legal. The design marries several concepts into one design. First, an aerospace approved approach was used to design the frame. It was then 3D printed using aircraft grade material. The bike’s power-to-weight ratio is equal to that of a supercar, making it perfect for any speed demon. The bike is also environmentally conscious and produces no emissions. A stronger, faster, and safer motorcycle is possible with 3D printing.
Luxexcel is credited as the first and only company in the world that can create 3D printed ophthalmic lenses. These lenses do not require polishing or grinding and are currently available to ophthalmic labs. Traditional manufacturing of ophthalmic lenses involves several steps and excessive material, all which lead to higher costs. 3D printed versions are just as effective and reliable, but with a lower price tag. However, the solution wasn’t designed around cost. Instead, Luxexcel developed the technology for independent ophthalmic labs and their customers so that custom lenses could be available to everyone.
Marco Mahler, a kinetic sculptor, joined forces with Henry Segerman, an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University, to develop the world’s first fully 3D printed mobiles. Their pieces are detailed to say the least, with one design having 1,365 pieces. Without the ability to 3D print these mobiles, they would be time consuming and financially out of reach for some. The mobiles are printed to order at Shapeways using Marco and Henry’s designs. For a unique piece for your home, consider any of these 3D printed mobiles. Their designs are sophisticated and the story behind them is inspirational.
This three-month project conducted by students at the Industrial Design Engineering 3D Building Field Lab used recent technology when 3D printing a stainless-steel bicycle. The advancements allowed for the materials to be printed mid-air in any direction and without the need for support structures. The “Arc Bicycle” weighs the same as a normal bicycle but features an impressive design and impeccable strength. This type of project shows that limitations are decreasing when it comes to printing medium and large-scale objects. Form freedom allows for the printing of almost anything, including this reliable form of transportation.
The Netherlands is the home to the world’s first 3D printed reinforced, pre-stressed concrete bridge. The bridge is 8 meters long and 3.5 meters wide. Its strength was tested with a load of five tons, much heavier than the daily load it will be required to withstand. It is part of a cycle route for residents and is believed to carry hundreds of cyclists a day. Led by BAM Infra, the team collaborated with researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology to develop a way to incorporate steel reinforcement cable while printing. The project cost less money, used less material, and reduced the amount of CO2 emissions during construction.
There aren’t many industries (if any) that 3D printing can’t help. One such business that realized this is Snow Business, makers of high-end snow-making machines. The performance and durability of their machines are crucial features, ones that could secure business or destroy it. By using 3D printers to make their nozzles, Snow Business sped up development and cut costs. This competitive advantage makes their products better designed, less expensive, and more desirable by consumers. Use their story as inspiration when thinking of a way 3D printing can help your job or business.
3D printing isn’t limited to a lab any more. Printers can be taken out into the field, providing solutions that were once thought impossible. But can 3D printers be operational in space? That’s the question NASA had. If the International Space Station was able to print in 3D, they would have the capability to print tools on demand and work better with flight weight restrictions. After testing 3D printing hardware on parabolic flights, testing began on the space station. Results showed that 3D printing does indeed work in space, opening the door for new missions, experiments, and opportunities.
Defense Distributed is the force behind 3D printed weapons. On July 27th, 2012, the company released the files for the world’s first printable handgun. Facing its share of legal and political battles, Defense Distributed turned to the Bitcoin community for funding. The idea of printed weapons is revolutionary, but also controversial. The company is still battling the U.S. State Department over the legality of providing privately generated gun files to the population. The case could be heading to the Supreme Court soon. If it does, and no matter the outcome, it is sure to be met with debate from the American people.
Tired of drinking your coffee from the same cup every day? The One Coffee Cup a Day project has you covered. The project was a fun and successful experiment on creativity and rapid manufacturing. The project was open for collaboration, allowing anyone to play around and design their own coffee cup. Once the favorite 30 designs were chosen, they were displayed in a shop and available for purchase. The designs were a mix between morphed cups, interesting but non-functional cups, and cups covered in diverse textured features. The project was considered successful and proved that 3D printing can have a fun and whimsical use.
Meshu was started by two design technologists in San Francisco. Their designs include lines that represent geodata, providing consumers with a unique way to pinpoint moments and memories, no matter where they occurred in the world. The subtlety of the jewelry is part of its charm. The recipient knows exactly what the lines stand for, even if no one else does. While they are no longer accepting orders, Meshu made necklaces, rings, earrings, and posters to commemorate consumers’ requests. Use their work as inspiration for your own 3D printing creations. In this case, 3D printing can be used for sentimental purposes.
Desktop Metal was designed with one thing in mind. The founders wanted to provide a solution to engineering teams looking for accessible metal 3D printing. The company offers two separate 3D printing systems. Companies can use these systems for everything from prototypes to mass production. The Studio System is designed for engineers and allows users to print complex metal parts in-house. Compared to other printing systems, the Studio System is up to ten times cheaper. But when you need speed on your side, the Production System is ideal. It’s designed for throughput and is 100 times faster than other printing systems. The Production System is set to release in 2019.
Kabuku Inc. teamed up with Honda Motor Co., Ltd. To develop a 3D printed vehicle. Toshimaya Corp. needed a custom delivery vehicle that could be used for both deliveries and advertising. However, their local infrastructure made some deliveries difficult. Narrow roads were the main culprit. Kabuku and Honda set out to develop a printed car that still met their needs but was sized appropriately. The development process lasted only two months, with the printing being handled by Rinkak, a 3D printing service owned by Kabuku. Toshimaya was provided with an original vehicle that met their size, production, and advertising needs.