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10 cool things to print

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Bored of pointless 3D printer projects? Out of 3D printing ideas? Check out our May 2020 list of 10 cool things to 3D print which are actually useful.

Like us, you’re tremendously excited by the possibilities of 3D printing. Unfortunately, the landscape is cluttered with trinkets, doodads, and ornaments. We’re in danger of drowning in 3D printed objects that nobody wants or needs.

Fight the tide of mediocrity! Let’s make stuff that’s useful! Here’s a list of cool things to 3D print, right now, today. Prove to your nearest and dearest that there’s an everyday and practical application of this wonderful technology.

Updated monthly under the guise of our very own printocracy, each month we remove the five least clicked models and replace them with five new printables. As the year trudges on there will always be something new, while the uninteresting items drift away. Simple!

1. Door opener

This tool helps you to avoid touching doorknobs, handles, elevator buttons, light switches, and other things you don’t want to get in contact with during the Coronavirus crisis. As an additional treat, this door opener can be used a hook to carry home your shopping bags. Perfect for running these errands (and don’t forget to wear your mask.)

Made by: Ghost design

Where to download: Cults

Image: Ghost design via Cults

2. Emergency Whistle

How can something so small and light be so incredibly loud? We’ve seen our share of 3D printed whistles, but this one is loud on another level. We strongly recommend that you cover your ears and have people and pets leave the room when you test it.

We printed a bunch of these emergency whistles (make sure you print them without supports) in just a couple of hours. It was easy to print with PLA; PET-G on the other hand, might not be the perfect material, as stringing might occur.

Made by: Whistleblower

Where to download: Thingiverse

Image: Supinemonkey via Thingiverse

3. Pinhole Camera

Sure, your smartphone’s got an excellent camera… but why not take an unusual, more artistic approach to photography? Enter the pinhole camera: This proto-camera doesn’t need a lens, but it lets the light through a tiny aperture, the so-called pinhole, which then exposes an analog film. There are several 3D printable models to be found, but we especially liked this model, as the instructions are easy to follow and the build of materials is short.

3D print the case, which has to be light-proof (so dark filament only, please), load a 35mm film, search for a motive, open the shutter… welcome to a world beyond Instagram.

Made by: Simiboy

Where to download: Cults 3D

Image: designs14 via Cults 3D

4. Spool Tool Desk Holder

If you’re 3D printing a lot, you know that nagging feeling if you throw away an empty filament spool: Couldn’t this plastic part somehow be upcycled? Does it really have to end up in a landfill? That‘s why Matterhackers invented the Spool Tool. With it, you’re cleaning up a scattered mess of tools, nozzles, bearings, SD cards, USB sticks – you name it. It also can be modified to suit your needs and includes various files to specially compartmentalize your tools.

Made by: Matterhackers

Where to download: My MiniFactory

Image: Matterhackers via Cults 3D

5. Maraca

What looks like a morel actually is a percussion instrument. You 3D print two parts, fill the upper half with rice grains or small metal parts, screw in the handle, and voila, you’ve 3D printed yourself some maracas. Great for accompanying Spanish or Latin music. Shake it, baby!

Made by: Designs 17

Where to download: Cults

Image: Design 17 via Cults 3D

6. Mechanical Iron Man SD Card Holder

Avengers: Endgame has been out long enough for us to be cool with spoilers now, right? Right?! Here comes a biggie. Stop reading if you haven’t seen the film yet. Iron Man dies at the end. Sacrifices himself to snap Thanos out of existence. This information isn’t even relevant to the print. This is what happens when you’re at the helm of this article while in lockdown.

A seven-part print, use red and gold filament for the authentic Iron Man look. Silver and grey or silver and blue should work too if War Machine and Rescue are your preferred mech-suit toting superpower-free superheroes.

Made by: ExtraChegg

Where to download: Thingiverse

Image: ExtraChegg via Thingiverse

7. Kerosene Lantern LED Mood Light

DO NOT PUT ACTUAL KEROSENE IN THIS LAMP. It just looks like a kerosene lamp, but really this smart 14-part print uses an LED, and what appears to be a single AA battery for its illumination. A satisfying little light for these dark days.

Made by: iSolid

Where to download: Thingiverse

Image: iSolid via Thingiverse

7. StrandBox – Small Gadgets Storage Box

Yet another storage box printable. The time will come where we need boxes for our boxes (insert dated Xzibit joke here). Of this, we are sure, especially since this Death Stranding-inspired StrandBox is just too good to pass up. It’s small, stackable, has print-in-place hinges, snap-fit clasps… the works.

Made by: gumo_design

Where to download: Thingiverse

Image: gumo_design via Thingiverse

9. Photographic Sweep Stand

Since we’re all locked inside anyway, we might as well make our quarantine-induced social media flexing a little more professional. This simple printable paper stand lets you prop a sheet of paper for use as a smooth backdrop for photographing small objects.

Made by: HPaul

Where to download: Thingiverse

Image: HPaul via Thingiverse

10. Impossible Table

Obviously the Impossible Table is, in fact, possible, otherwise, we wouldn’t be writing this. Taking advantage of a structural principle called tensegrity – tensional integrity – the Impossible Table uses the tension between isolated components to achieve the appearance of a floating table, here tethered only by strings.

Made by: Oak600

Where to download: Thingiverse

Image: Oak600 via Thingiverse

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