30 Incredible Things You Didn't Know Could Be 3D Printed!

Some you can live in; others allow you to live!
Michael Michael (175)

A 3D-printed house? What about a store that 3D prints you a custom shoe? And will we be able to, one day, 3D print our way to Mars? It's all possible!

3D printers have to be one of the coolest pieces of technology affordable enough to have in your home. While 3D printers have been around since the 1980s, it wasn't until the last 10 years that one could find affordable 3D printers to own.

And while many of the 3D prints that made our list require industrial-quality 3D printers, many could be reproduced by anyone with an at-home 3D printer.

How does a 3D printer work?

So how is it possible to make all of these incredible things? Briefly, a 3D printer uses a "sliced" design to print objects in 3 dimensions. The slices are essentially thin slices of an object that the 3D printer creates by extruding heated plastic filament that is then cooled and hardened. All of these slices combine, layer by layer, to create something cool.

If you're looking for more information, we encourage you to check out our 3D printing FAQs, where we dive deep into what makes 3D printers tick.

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3D printed tiny house

Tiny homes are all the rage nowadays! People appreciate them for their affordability and space-saving ingenuity. This tiny concrete home pictured above and sold by American startup, ICON, will only set you back around $4,000. It can be even be printed in only 24 hours!

Watch the video:

3d printed tiny house

Another, more functional design, is by San Francisco-based company Apis Cor and costs as little as $10,000. Apis Cor's mission is to help address the housing crisis affecting the Bay-area of San Francisco.

3d printed mansion

What's cooler than a 3D printer printing a tiny home? How about a huge home! An early peek into what a 3D printed mansion might consist of is this Shangai mansion designed by WinSun Decoration Design Engineering.

construction of 3d printed mansion

The house itself measures about 11,840 square feet and cost a little over $150,000 to make, as reported by the Washington Post. The house itself is fairly green, as well, considering most of the parts are recycled materials.

3D printed car

We've been building the cars the same way since Ford first put workers on an assembly line more than 100 years ago. There are still thousands upon thousands of tiny parts that come together to make a driving machine. But does it need to be that way?

Strati 3D printed car

Nope! At least not according to Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers, who has made a completely drivable 3D printed car known as the Strati, using an industrial-grade 3D printer. These city cars could end up costing as little as $5000, which makes them very affordable.

Watch the video:

Danny van Ryswky 3d printed art

More and more artists turn to 3D printing as a means of expression, one that is both precise and contemporary. Many artists blend their skills in 3D design with their overall artistic vision to make something that's stark and strange, like the above image from artist Danny van Ryswyk.

kate Blacklock 3d printed sculpture

And check out the intricate design of the ceramics from artist Kate Blacklock!

3D printed food

If you're a fan of Star Trek, then you'll remember the replicator they would use to make just about any food dish instantly. Many of us thought that that future was way off, but it's not. It's here. Well, it's almost here.

3D printed food

The attempts at 3D printing food are still...well...sometimes less than appetizing. But the potential this has is hard to fathom. Imagine the ways that 3D food printers could work to solve world hunger. It's pretty incredible.

3D printed soup

Some of the best attempts at 3D printing food we've seen have been with recipes that are naturally blended, like soups or plates of pasta. Some gastronomy experts are doing some pretty aesthetically (and tasty) things with the very modern cooking method, like this beautiful split-pea soup.

3D printed drone

If drones are the future (and we suspect they are), then drones that are easily reproducible and cost-effective will change the way explore our environments. And yes, we think that a science-fiction future full of drones and other cool things isn't too far away!

3d printed mini drone

Make your own

There are loads of schematics available for 3D printed drones on Thingiverse, such as this mini 3D printed drone. You'll obviously need some other parts to make the drone come to life, like a power supply and a video transmitter. You also have the option to customize the schema to your liking!

3D printed prosthetic leg

When innovation fulfills a need for those in society faced with difficulties, then something extraordinary can occur. Prosthetic limbs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and many people struggle to afford them. 3D printing allows open-sourced, low-cost alternatives to traditionally pricey prosthetics.

3D printed prosthetic arm and hand

One such nonprofit is Enabling the Future, which offers free or low-cost 3D printed designs for upper-limb prosthetics to those in need. There are also various easily customizable, free designs available on Thingiverse.

3d printed theatre set

It's not over until the 3D printer sings! 3DWasp recently designed a set used in the opera Fra Diavolo at the Opera Theater in Rome, Italy. Once the basic backdrop was printed and set up, the lighting engineers simply projected images throughout the production to mirror the changes in the scene. We think the results are pretty incredible and really show how innovative you can be with 3D printing!

Watch the video:

Azzaro Obama 3d printed voice recording

These are really cool! Voice sculptors (Yes! That's a thing!) like Giles Azzaro make 3d printed sculptures of voice recordings that stand as physical representations of the sound waves. His most famous installation, The Vision of a Sparkling Voice, renders sound recordings from the 20 and 21st centuries' leading figures as 3D printed sculptures.

Watch the video:

3D printed medical equipment

We've seen recently how shortages of life-saving medical supplies can happen quickly. Hospitals and medical supply companies are looking for new, innovative ways to make supplies quickly when a disaster strikes. 3D printing might be the solution, allowing hospitals and other facilities to 3D print a piece of equipment when supplies are low.

ReFabDar Design Contest

The Nonprofit organization, ReFab Dar, is hoping to use 3D printing to create vital medical supplies in Africa and other developing countries. They've recently run a contest that challenged African designers to create medical-based designs that would make use of the recycled bottles piling up at a nearby plant. We can't wait to see what other innovative things can be done with recycling once it becomes more cost-effective.

RepRap project self-replicating 3D printer

This one might make your head spin! But what if you could 3D print a 3D printer, and then 3D print another 3D printer with that one. Would the universe implode?! Maybe.

self-replicating 3D printer

While many 3D printers are capable of self-replicating in theory, like the Prusa i3 we've reviewed, one of the most famous projects to make this happen is the RepRap project. The project, out of the University of Bath, aims to find innovative ways to self-replicate 3D printers.

3d printed electric violin

Step aside, Stradivarius. Behold the 3D-Varius! Okay. So maybe a 3D printed violin can't compete with the rich tones of natural wood, but they are super cool and sound pretty decent.

3D printed at-home violin

There are also options that can be completely printed by most at-home 3D printers. And musicians are finding that the 3D printed violins' unique tones actually work well for some more contemporary compositions.

Watch the video:

3d printed electric guitar

Olaf Diegel, the designer behind Odd Guitars, makes personalizable, custom 3D printed electric guitars that actually sound pretty darn good. Diegel uses a process known as SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) that involves spreading a micro-thin layer of nylon powder, which is then fused to create the 0.1 mm slice.

Watch the video:

3d printed vases with flowers

Here's where designers can really showcase what an at-home 3D printer can do! There are thousands of stunning vases that can be 3D printed. They're generally easy to print for beginners and are easily customizable to match your home's decor.

self-watering planter

There are even options designed for self-watering and draining. We've certainly come a long way since the days of clay.

3D printed heart organ

What if you could 3D print a custom heart to save someone's life? We're getting remarkably close to that. Studies have shown promise when it comes to 3D printing human tissue. The process is known as 3D bioprinting and is currently being used to print capillaries and other smaller parts of organs.

3D printed skin graft

Another organ that's showing promise in the 3D bioprinting industry is skin. (Yes, the skin is an organ!) The ability to 3D print a full skin graft could save the lives of thousands of individuals who wait for a skin graft. It's seriously amazing!

3D printed Boat

Behold the 3Dirigo—the world's largest 3D printed boat! The project, backed by government funding, was designed and executed by the University of Maine. Construction of the boat was made possible with a custom large-scale 3D printer, with a volume of 30 x 6.70 x 3 meters and a speed of 227 kilos per hour.

Watch the video:

We can't wait to see what the next big project 3D printing marine project will be!

3d printed music box

Antique meets modern when it comes to a 3D printed music box. But there are various options from which to choose, and even the option to print a customizable version featuring whichever song you'd like. Thus far, our favorite has to be the 3D printed music box featuring the Super Mario theme song!

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3D printed Bicycles

This award-winning 3D printed mesh bicycle frame was designed by James Novak and made as part of his Ph.D. thesis. The material used is called mammoth resin and is strong enough to hold the weight of most riders. It's very lightweight and easily reproducible. The future likely looks bright for 3D printed bicycles, particularly using metal 3D printing.

Watch the video:

3D printed book

So maybe adults don't need a 3D printed book, but certainly, children love the tactile experience of 3D! (We're thinking about pop-up books now.) We foresee a future where children can design their own stories and print them to make them come to life. We can't wait to see what else can be done with a blend of traditional page printing and 3D printing.

3D printed necklace

Can you 3D print metal? You bet! Many at-home jewelry designers are taking advantage of the print-on-demand benefits when it comes to jewelry. A jewelry-maker has two options when it comes to printing jewelry. They can choose to print the cast for the jewelry pieces and fill it with liquid metal. Or they can direct-print the jewelry with the 3D printer.

3d printed jewelry

A special 3D printing is used called direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) or selective laser melting (SLM), and a huge array of metal-types can be printed. You can also print plastic jewelry for certain designs, as well.

3D printed ballet shoes

Dancing en pointe can be brutal on a dancer's feet. If the shoes are not perfectly fit, then injuries can occur throughout the feet and ankles. Designer Hadar Neeman had this in mind when she created a project for her final year in art school aimed at helping with this issue. Her 3D printed ballet shoes are made from scans of a dancer's feet so that the fit can be perfect. Her 3D design is called, fittingly, the P-rouette.

Braille 3d printed

Another beneficial thing a 3D printer can provide is the ability to print various items in braille. Many things like signs, books, and labels can be 3D printed easily to give access in big new ways to those who are blind.

What is braille?

Braille is the 3D writing that consists of a series of patterned, raised bumps, which someone who is blind can follow with their fingers to read.

3D printed Rubik's Cube

And if you think even further outside of the box, think of what other 3D printed items can be made to give access to those who are blind. Besides this 3D printed Rubik's cube, we've seen 3D printed braille maps, board games, and multiplication tools.

inMoov robot

Please don't make every science fiction nightmare come true by 3D printing an entire army of robots like this open-sourced robot from inMoov, a French engineering company. Most of the parts can be entirely printed on an at-home 3D printer with various tutorials available to make it all come together.

Kengoro robot

Another cool 3D printed robot is Kengoro, the sweaty workout robot. This robot was designed to do various workout moves like pushups and situps. It even sweats after the workout gets more intense! This is totally something we would make over at Howchoo!

Watch the video:

3D printed TV

Okay. So maybe you won't want to have a 3D printed TV as your primary television, but as a cool little retro television that you can keep on a bookshelf or kitchen counter...oh yeah! This little 2 inch TV can be almost entirely 3D printed and uses a screen from Adafruit to complete it. It's based on an old design from the 1950s from manufacturer Philco.

making the 3d printed tv

And is entirely reproducible. Here's a link to the file download.

adafruit 3d printed keycaps

Whether it's to add some spice to the computer tool you use every day or you're looking to create custom keycaps for a specific game layout, you can 3D print a set of keycaps to install on your keyboard. These cool keycaps from our good friends at Adafruit really shine when you have a backlit keyboard. But there are tons of options and ideas for just about any keyboard.

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3D printed headphones

Headphones have been become expensive pieces of electronics to own, particularly the large, over-the-head headphones. For a fraction of the price, some people are printing their own custom headphones like these, which require just a few extra parts like small nuts and bolts to make happen. We can't vouch for the sound quality, but it's a pretty impressive design and 3D print.

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3D printed letterboard

But can't you pick one of these up at the store!? Sure. The nice thing about 3D printing a letter board is that you can choose how many and which letters you need to print. (It's also going to be much cheaper.) And if you need a particular letter later on, you simply 3D print that specific letter. No more running out of Es or As!

3d printed secret shelf

We don't need to know why you want your secret shelf! (We're going to imagine it's being used to store candy, just candy.) But this is something that can totally be 3D printed and painted so that it blends in naturally with the rest of your decor. And when isn't an extra shelf useful?

Watch the video:

3D printed cell phone mount for bicycle

This one blends the line between uber-cool and functional. Besides a 3D printed bike mount for your cell phone, there's a host of other practical prints that will blow you away. Like...how about 3D printing those cabinet shelf pegs that always tend to go missing! We appreciate not having to run to the hardware store every time we need a part.

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h/practicalprints 8 guides
Tired of printing Yoda heads? Discover practical prints for your 3D printer.
3D printed lamps animal heads

Some of the most beautiful, contemporary lamps available right now for your home can be 3D printed, saving you hundreds of dollars and making your lighting experience a true DIY masterpiece.

Customized 3D Printed Lamp

Other popular options are customizable 3D printed lampshades, lamps, and nightlights. Many companies are selling a version of these in the shape of the moon, which would be a great gift for anyone having to be away from home.

The best of the budget 3D printers.
Michael Michael (175)

Budget doesn't have to mean bad when it comes to 3D printers. You can find a great 3D printer for under $300.