Ever felt paralysed by choice? Like when you’re fifteen minutes into browsing Netflix and still can’t decide what to watch so you stick on Breaking Bad or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for the umpteenth time. Or when you’re in the supermarket, surrounded by a sumptuous display of food that would make our ancestors reel in desperate envy, only to diffidently pick up the reduced pizza.
It’s the same with 3D printing. With pretty much any structure available to build – whether it’s a single unit or a combination of smaller printed pieces – it can sometimes feel a little daunting. So let’s make things easier for you: here are 7 awesome ideas we’ve found from around the web for you to try.
1: Finally, DIY for ants with a mini drill
According to this article, New Zealander Lance Abernethy has 3D printed the world’s smallest working drill. He did this with his Ultimaker 2 printer, designing it with the CAD software package Onshape 3D.
The drill’s outer shell was based simply off a normal sized drill, which he used with a 0.25mm nozzle and a tiny 0.04mm layer height. Using a hearing aid battery and a miniature motor, the drill is fully functional and can drill through soft objects.
It might not be the most practical tool to use but the mini drill is a great starting point for getting to know intricate machinery.
2: Build your own instruments
Music is a gift, and anybody who plays an instrument will tell you how awesome it is to express themselves through sound. Unless you’re a singer though, you need some sort of tool to create sound, be it an instrument or computer software.
Why not create your own instrument then? Head over to Thingiverse to get access to tons of 3D printed instrument designs. Recorders and flutes are hugely popular instruments to print due to their relatively straightforward function of generating sound, but don’t stop there. Printing enthusiasts have pushed the envelope of just what functional instrument you can create with a 3D printer.
3: Print yourself…a spare key
We’ve not tried this one ourselves, but the theory seems solid. A fellow on Instructables has created instructions that cover how to ‘decode’ your key so you can print a replica version to keep as a spare.
Keep a key blueprint on your USB, and (providing there’s a 3D printer nearby), never get locked out again!
4: Your own custom phone case
Phone cases are actually quite expensive, and it’s a little annoying that we must buy one to protect our inherently fragile phones (old school Nokia’s never had this issue). That being said, finding that perfect design for your phone case is a satisfying feeling. Phones are an accessory, so we want to personalise them, naturally.
You know where I’m going with this – 3D print your phone case already. Here’s just a selection of cool designs people have come up with.
5: Customise your kitchen utensils
Baking cookies? Why don’t you give them a shape that the supermarkets don’t offer?
Shapes to cut your bakes with are only one of many utensils you can print with. Check out Makezine’s post covering a whole host of kitchen tools to print.
6: An homage to the memes
You may remember him from The Matrix, Speed (aka The Bus that Couldn’t Slow Down) and other decent films, but in recent years, Keanu Reeves has become his very own meme.
‘Sad Keanu’ is such a hit with some people that a Japanese toy company is 3D printing it for the masses to enjoy. Why don’t you print your very own meme and take internet humour to real life.
7: Any tool you can imagine
Our imagination of tools has been spoilt by places like B&Q and Homebase. There are dozens of clever devices that most hardware stores don’t bother selling, and consequently we don’t consider the joys they can bring. With 3D printing, we can do it ourselves, so B&Q can keep their stupid cheap and decent tools.
It’s 2016, pouring you and your friends’ drinks individually is virtually a caveman job. Thankfully some clever chap has designed this 10-glass drinks dispense.
Yes, we know you can buy a garlic press at supermarkets, but you won’t be able to choose the colour or the design and that is a tragic limitation. Get a garlic press design here.
If you're now struggling to decide which of these you want to try out, we recommend starting from the bottom. Also, the links we've provided are all great resources to discover even more 3D printing designs. Happy printing!