Out of the box dual head 3D printers, easy to use 3D scanners or expiring 3D printing patents are only some of the latest signs showing that the consumer additive manufacturing market is expanding rapidly. Every day new revolutionary 3D printed objects are announced, from human organs to modular houses, but most of them will only be available to you and me in a few years at least if not more. So what can we 3D print right now that we are going to use in the long term?
3D Printed Bikini
Despite their uninspired name, the N12 are, according to their designer, the first completely 3D-printed, ready-to-wear, garments. Although not the first 3D printed clothing item, this bikini is surely the first one available to the larger public and not just as a one-off demonstration of skills and 3D printing technology. The material used to create the 3D printed fabric is a waterproof type of nylon (N12) that becomes more comfortable in water. Its structure uses circles of different sizes which respond to the shape of the body creating smooth edges. So if you are after a unique piece for your wardrobe this might be what you are looking for. We would be very interested to find out how practical this is especially after a few uses.
3D Printed Musical Instruments
Although many 3D printed musical instruments are currently printed with industrial 3D printers and may require some other materials and non-3D printed parts made from wood or stainless steel, there are a few that you can print right now or buy them online ready-made. If you are fan of Japanese fantasy movies you will surely love this Shakuhachi flute made entirely from 3D printed stainless steel which you can buy for “only” $239.95. It is fully functional and definitely something that will last for decades. If you are more of a romantic and free type of person, you can try a new instrument called Bajolele (a fusion between a banjo and an ukulele). This is available for free to download and then you can either print it yourself or order it online.
3D Printed Clocks
There are many models of clocks available for 3D printing, some more intricate than others, however the one showcased here is both beautiful and not very complicated to put together. The Kaleidoscope clock is made of 2 separate printed parts and a high torque movement mechanism. They can all be purchased online separately for a total combined price of no more than $50. With a few colours to choose from, this 3D printed clock makes for a great present.
3D Printed Shoes
If you are one of the lucky ones to own a 3D printer or you just want to use one of the many companies printing your 3D models, a pair of 3D printed shoes is surely something you can try. The files you need to feed your additive manufacturing cravings are free to download and available in a range of sizes. With endless variations of colours for your raw materials (ABS or PLA plastic) you can create your unique and bespoke shoes overnight.
3D Printed Coffee Cups
Not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of 3D printing, coffee mugs have traditionally been made either through mass manufacturing processes or hand-made by artisans. The experimental project called One Cup a Day wanted to challenge this concept by designing and printing one cup in Glazed Ceramics per day for 30 days. Even though you can’t print these in your own house from porcelain you can still print them out of plastic, or you can buy the original ones online for prices between $36-$77.
3D Printed Jewellery
This is one of the first industries to adopt 3D printing and to start a new business model around unique and fully customisable shapes. Many 3D printed jewellery online stores now offer materials such as silver, stainless steel and even gold for bespoke pieces. Prices vary from a few dollars to thousands without the added premium for personalised jewels that you usually get with traditional hand-made techniques.
3D Printed Furniture
3D printed furniture has surely been in the spotlight in the last 3 years and it is becoming more prominent in the 3D printing world, however very few of the 3D printed designs are actually available to buy or download and print yourself. Many require selective laser sintering (SLS) machines which use a very accurate 3D printing technique available usually in industrial environments. Nevertheless, we have managed to find an example that you can buy right now, although in very limited edition. The Batoidea chair designed by Peter Donders uses aluminium to create a very “fluid and airy chair that defies practical conventions”. Unfortunately there are only 12 pieces to buy and they are on display in Moscow until the end of November.
If you have any other examples of functional 3D printed objects that might replace the mass manufacturing ones in the near future please share them with us in the comments section below.