Cool Things to 3D Print Which Are Actually Useful

With the introduction of affordable consumer 3D printers to the market, there’s been an explosion of websites dedicated to hobbyists posting their ideas for plastic items they’ve created with these fascinating devices. While the objects often consist of artwork, there’s plenty of practical stuff as well. Here’s a list of five projects that particularly stand out due to both their usefulness and customization.

Soap Dish
Since consumer 3D printed items are made of plastics, they’re perfect for creating things that need to be waterproof. The indispensable soap dish definitely fits this description. There are a variety of approaches in designing one but the method used by the +Lab at the Politecnico di Milano is especially practical and aesthetically pleasing. The lower section serves as a water collection tray while the upper section acts as a rack to hold the bar of soap. The nice thing about this design is the virtually unlimited options in developing alternative designs to the honeycomb pattern featured in the original object.

Headphone Holder
Headphones are meant to be pretty durable but don’t do well when tossed in a drawer or left out on a desk. The solution is giving them a place of their own. 3D printing a robust clamp in two parts, a clamp and screw, solves the problem. The design featured here holds the headphones along with their cables and attaches to the normal range of desktop and shelf thicknesses.

Thumb Ring Page Holder
Attaching a ring to the center of a bar provides an ingeniously simple way to hold open a book with just the thumb. It has the added benefit of keeping the pages clean from thumb prints and the like. Making the page holder in the shape of a bat is one way to go about it, but there are really no restrictions on something like this.

Bag Clip
Printed in two pieces, this device ensures an easy way to keep bagged food from going stale. The end of the bag is simply wrapped around the rod so the outer section can be slid over it. The design allows for clips of different lengths for maximum freshness.

Toothpaste Squeezer
A three-part device, this item contains an inner roller with an attachable nut that slips onto the end of a toothpaste tube while the outer component has an open slot for the tube to slide through. It also features a locking cogwheel on the side of the roller to keep the tube from unwinding. If a complex device like this is possible from a small consumer 3D printer, imagine what can be produced by larger printers capable of utilizing metals as well as plastics like those available in the Konica Minolta 3D printer line.