What Can You Do With a 3D Printer?

I first received a 3D pen which was really cool. I then bought a 3D printer. Very very cool. After a while I realized there was no end to the things I could print, even though several of them are very difficult to properly pull off. I thought I would share some of the fun and interesting things I've done with 3D printing. I'm still very much an amature though. I've posted a few of them already on Instructables and some are part of future projects. But I feel good about finishing up a few so I felt like sharing.

Step 1: Levitating Death Star

I purchased a levitating globe off Ebay for $40. The globe is hallow with a magnet plate inside. I printed a Death Star and place the magnetic plate in the middle. The 3D Death Star was heavier so it sank further down, not leaving as much space between the sphere and base plate. However, it was still enough to allow the Death Star to rotate around like a planet (or space station). Looks great on my desk at work and is a definite conversation piece. I intend to add an LED for the laser cannon, but we'll see if I ever get around to it.

Step 2: Escape From the Mirror

I did an instruction already on this one. It makes a great element for my home office.

Step 3: Back to the Future

I'm building a special scene with lasers and lights to reflect the Delorean just as it prepares to jump through time. I have a flux capacitor as well, but it's not finished yet.

Step 4: Lightsaber

For Halloween and Comic Con props. You can print pretty much any prop you can think of and design (or use someone elses open source design). Even converted a battery power supply for a cell phone into a lightsaber using 3D printed parts.

Step 5: Raspberry Pi

People 3D print covers for arduino and raspberry pis. I decided to have some fun with it and I make covers which are more theatrical in nature. Here is my raspberry pi Jabba the Hutt cover with connecting cables.

Step 6: Wire Organizer

Pretty self-explanatory. Here is the short instructable.

Step 7: Rancor Mini Book Cases

As an experiment I created a Ranco set of mini-book cases and use them to store my smaller breadboards.

Step 8: Racor Trophy

Self-explanatory. Just created a Rancor trophy which sits on my command station in my shed.

Step 9: Elements

Small elements for projects, toy houses for the kids, etc...

Step 10: Cell Phone Covers

Cell phone cover for Iphone 6

Step 11: USB Holders

These hold USB drives as well as SD Cards and Micro-SD Cards. Very helpful in organizing work areas

Step 12: Toy Ships

Star Destroyer from my son. I've used these for board games, larger ones so he can play with his Legos, and even for displays. Same for the Falcon and land speeder.

Step 13: Parts for an R2D2 Droid

I've used this same file for both a droid trash can as well as an experimental remote control droid. It's a lot easier than making the domes the old fashion way.

Step 14: Props for Halloween

Cauldrons and ghosts (with projections), spiders, and skulls.

Step 15: Supports

You can print a katana from a file, but this one is metal. However, I needed a way to properly display it, so I printed the supports you seek, which are painted in gold.

Step 16: Small Figurines

Everything from movie characters to general busts to just funny creatures. My wife keeps complaining that we keep accumulating figurines with no place to put them. But I just cannot resist a good Yoda or Vader bust.

Step 17: Vincent and Fun With Magnets

This is another instructable, but essentially its a levitating Vincent from the Black Hole. You can see the full instructable here.

Step 18: Useless Fun With Tracing Using a 3D Printing Pen

Just using the 3D pen. Takes some getting used to. The funnest one was the instructable robot.

Step 19: School Projects

I was able to help my son with his school projects. First I printed him some penguins for the habitat he was supposed to build in 3rd grade. Noone, including the teacher, had heard about anyone 3D printing homework like that. It was a big success and grade for him. He also used it to print parts of a larger project he built out of Legos, including the foundation from a mountain base, a working floating Death Star image, and other parts. The mountain was built with the 3D pen creating a mesh support for paper mache and the Death Star was just an adaptation from a regular STL and a dog bowl with a hole in the middle for wiring. The 3D pen created the supports for the image. A full instructable is here.

Step 20: Wire and Device Managment

With a ton of devices spread through 5 desks wires and devices can become very tangled and disorganized. You can use your printer to create organizers, shelves, holders, etc. to help organize things and keep yourself sane.

Step 21: Boring Cases

While I always love to build creative cases for my projects, sometimes you just need a good old fashion and boring cover/case. 3D printers are great for creating square boxes another covers to house parts and project elements.

Step 22: To Be Continued....

So the bottom line is there are no limits to the things you could think of to use 3D printing technology to create or help assist you with projects. I've enjoyed mine immensely. Just check out thingiverse or any of the other major websites were people post their projects.



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    9 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry friend, but I'm planning to open my own office services with 3d printing. Which machine do you consider the best production between prototypes and souvenirs?

    If you prefer you can answer and send to my email: famfilho@uol.com.br



    3 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Ryan, you obviously have an artistic side to you, and have painted many of your models. I'm particularly impressed by the metallic looking finish. Maybe you could do an instructable on that?

    Jeph Diel

    4 years ago

    3D printers sound amazing but correct me if I'm wrong but aren't they in the $1000 dollar range?

    5 replies
    jedii72Jeph Diel

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Actually not any more. The cheapest I've seen is about $350. I believe AdaFruit has a kit for that and you add another $100 for it fully assembled. Mine, which is a Da Vinci 1.0 from XYZ Printing is now around $500, with the 2.0 or 1.0ai (with 3D scanning abilities too) at around $600-700. It all depends on the size of the print area, the type of material, and partially the name brand.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Jedii How do you like the XYZ? I saw that you can get a heck of a combo on newegg with a bunch of Filament cartridges for like $500. I am personally not worried about the Chipped cartridges? Have you modded yours to use other filiments?


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Just out of curiosity, would you say that your Da Vinci is on the higher or lower end of the quality scale from what it puts out? I am looking into buying a 3d printer myself and this one cought my eye because of its price and non-plywood construction.

    Just looking for a review I guess, would you buy the same one again, or look into a different one?


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I'd say its about middle of the road. The enclosure construction is pretty sturdy. It prints well enough. The formlab printers print smoother as well as the far more expensive makerbots, but for the cost its pretty good. If you build your own you are either looking at a lower print quality or spending just about as much in order to get the equivalent quality. So, I'm satisified with the print quality. The one complaint I've heard has more to do with the filament holders. You have to buy the filament from the company since it uses a proprietary chip. But the cost is about the same anyway. There is a hack to get around that, but I've had no inclination to use it. I'm a little worried I might mess things up by trying it. So, as far as "bang for your buck" I'd say the quality is better than the price would seem to indicate.

    bman46Jeph Diel

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I have a robo 3D R1, it prints extremely well, it can print in abs, pla, and other filament. It is sold for 700$ and it has a 7 by 7 by 9 print space. it does not have proprietary cartridges, it uses a normal spool. it also calibrates itself.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thankfully you didn't print the Raspberry Pi case with Jabba the Hutt in original greenish brown colour, that would've ended up looking more of a Raspberry Pu, than Pi.