Functional 3D printing does not get the same publicity as printing for fun. The share of useful 3D prints in domestic 3D printing is growing but such models are not appreciated enough. And there is a wave of criticism regarding that. In our opinion, both types of modelling are needed and it all goes in the right direction. 3D printing for fun helps to attract young generation and enthusiasts. After sharpening their skills in the fun department, they would eventually get involved in the functional side, that’s when fresh ideas and new solutions may be born. Click on picture to zoom
One of the most well-known objects in functional 3D printing is the wrench by Daniel Noree. Daniel is famous for his OpenRC models which are all functional. They say that if you manage to successfully print his wrench and make it work after removing the supports, then your 3D printer is calibrated well and the slicer settings are correct. We have to admit that our first attempt failed, but we got it right in the end. This model is very popular and was featured a lot in 3D printing related media.
The majority of useful 3D models on STL sharing websites are different kinds of holders, equipment stands and mounts. We have printed an SD card holder, a mobile stand, a wine bottle holder and various accessories. Our very first functional 3d printing item was an Artichoke Pen Holder. It took us 20+ hours to print and it does the job very well.
Of course, we tried to design something functional ourselves. Here is our latest model. There is a lot of dust collecting in hard-to-reach places around the house, for example, behind the radiators. This is probably a concern in many households. Our vacuum cleaner Henry didn’t have a suitable nozzle to get through narrow spaces. Therefore, we designed a customised nozzle in TinkerCAD. It consists of several parts and is easy to print.
Another popular useful 3D print is a mobile phone case. There are many 3D printable files available of specialised platforms. These models are easy to customise further. Mobile phone cases are great as protection from breakage. For our mobile case, we used a beautiful orange flexible filament that has a nice rubbery non-slip surface.
For some 3D printers, like Original Prusa i3 MK2, we would recommend printing additional accessories, for instance, noise dampers by hofftari. These dampers significantly reduced the noise that made it possible to work overnight without disturbing anyone.
An extra or replacement spool holder is frequently needed as well. We are very proud of our themed design – a 3D Printing Guardian spool holder as now we can replace a filament spool in seconds.
When we occasionally make a YouTube video, we use the headphones, but 99% of the time its wires lay around occupying space in the work area. Monster Headphone Holder by philbarrenger greatly helped to organise our work place better.
We also designed a Rose Thorn Remover after seeing something similar in a florist shop. This could be a nice present for a gardener.
Useful 3D prints must not be always boring. A good example is a Hodor Door Stop by fixers who were inspired by the famous episode from the Game of Thrones.
In the video below, we present functional 3D printed objects we use the most.
Recently functional 3d printing helped us to avoid a wardrobe disaster. One of the brackets holding a hanging rail broke sending all dresses down in a messy pile. We figured that it would be possible to design and 3D print the bracket. It took us 30 min to design and 2 hours to print the replacement in rigid.ink ABS. While being designed, the brackets actually got upgraded, acquiring more strength and depth to support the rail. Disaster averted – the dresses are neatly placed back and waiting for their turn to go out 🙂
This functional 3D printed item greatly helps to organize any 3D printing workspace as it holds a lot of filament spools. Joel Telling’s spool mounting bracket has been showcased and torture tested in his popular videos. In addition, a themed competition has been held on MyMiniFactory.
Functional 3D Printing Groups in Social Media
If you want to follow functional 3D printing on social media, we would recommend the following groups:
Useful 3D Prints STL Files:
Headphone Holder by philbarrenger: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1657541
3D printable wrench by Daniel Noree: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:139268
Vibration Damper by hofftari: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1707045
Artichoke Art Pencil Holder by Gizmoticist: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:332206
HodorStop by fixers: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1589988
Spool Holder: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2286717
Tool Holder: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2438631
Vacuum Cleaner Nozzle: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2526783
Please don’t forget to share your make if you print one.
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