While the words “3D printing” may still conjure up ideas right out of science fiction, some users of the 3D printing subreddit are already creating things from the comfort of their homes. Below we’ve put together photos of some of the most creative projects on r/3Dprinting.

The actual technology isn’t that complicated. Basically, 3D printing involves laying down material, layer by layer, until it forms the desired 3D object. This “layer“ can be anything from plastic to metal or even clay! If there is a digital 3D model and enough printing material, the sky’s the limit. And it’s not just passion projects and art, some creators are solving real world problems. Make sure to upvote the creations that you just realized you need in your house and check out part 1 for more.

#1 This Kid Answered A Request From Local Hospitals To Create Ear Guards, To Help Take The Pressure Off Healthcare Worker’s Ears From Wearing Masks All Day. He Also Made The 3D Printing Patterns Available To Everyone

Image credits: Greenthund3r

To find out more, we reached out to Joel Telling, self-described 3D printing nerd and educator. He was kind enough to share his own thoughts on the hobby. “I believe the biggest barrier to entry for new people who want to get started with 3D printing is the cost of the machines and materials. 3D printers can be expensive, or at least not within the budget ranges of many. Plus, the cost of filaments and other materials can add up over time,” he shared when discussing common concerns would-be 3D printing enthusiasts might have. 

Fortunately, there is a plethora of good, educational content out there. “What initially drew me to explore 3d printing was reading about it and watching videos on it around 2013 and 2014. I read articles on Slashdot and watched videos by Barnacles Nerdgasm and Thomas Sanladerer. Reading about it was really cool because it showed me what was coming up, and watching the videos by those two really inspired me to want to get into it myself,” Joel added, regarding his own experience.  

#2 Last Weekend We Began Delivering 3D Printed Bionic Hands To Ukraine! First Up, A 24 Year Old Soldier

Image credits: EatPrayNub

#3 Printed A 4-Foot T-Rex And Buried It In My Yard For My Nieces To Discover And Excavate

Image credits: blatherskite01

“I’d like to add that while 3d printing can be a scary unknown to some, I and others are working not just to enable more people to learn about this amazing field, but also demystify the professional and industrial side. It’s crazy to think that we are in a spot where many of the jobs that kids in school will have when they are older just don’t exist yet.”

#4 Wife And I (Mostly Her) Added Hearing Aids To Our Niece’s Gift. They Match Hers

Image credits: UselessCourage

#5 This Eagle Was Shot In The Face And Got 3D Printed Beak Which Made Him More Badass

Image credits: thunde-r

“Once we can empower more young people to get started in 3d printing, that experience in their schools or at home in the garages will get them ready for the professional and industrial Additive Manufacturing jobs many will take. It’s a VERY exciting time!”

#6 I Designed A 3D Printed Mirror Array To Propose! The Mirrors Are Angled So That Just Before Sunset, They Reflect The Sunlight To Spell “Marry Me?”

Image credits: bencbartlett

#7 I Had To 3D Print This Just In Case!!

Image credits: YouOtterKnow1

#8 A Moon Staff That I Made For My Renaissance Faire Costume This Year. Turns On By Hitting The Base Of The Staff On The Ground

Image credits: Joshhawk

Like many inventions, 3D printing does actually have its roots in science fiction. US fiction writer William Fitzgerald Jenkins, operating under the pen name Murray Leinster, depicted a device that functions very similarly to modern 3D printers. In his 1945 short story “Things Pass By,” a character describes a machine that takes raw plastic, then molds and shapes it based on scanned drawings. The first real world attempts to design a 3D printer were met with general disinterest. In 1981 Dr. Hideo Kodama designed and prototyped a machine that would apply a resin, layer by layer. Unfortunately for him and the world in general, his superiors showed little interest in the idea. Without adequate funding, Dr. Kodama abandoned the project. 

#9 My Wife Got A New Job As A School Bus Driver. Her First Day Of Training She Only Hit One Cone. I Was So Proud Of Her I Had To Make Her Something To Remember The Day

Image credits: tehkitryan

#10 Someone Kept Drinking My Milk From The Office Fridge, So I’ve Made A Lock For The Milk Bottle

Image credits: wilika

#11 Kirby Fume Extractor

Image credits: Borgey_

Other industries experimented with the idea of “printing” parts and pieces to use in manufacturing or tests, but the first publicly available printer was created in 2005. Called RepRap, the printer was designed to be affordable and self replicating. That’s right, a RepRap owner could use RepRap to make another 3D printer. And another. And another… 

#12 Began Making Bootleg Collectibles With My Mars 3

Image credits: psybermonkey15

#13 A Walk Around Of The 1:1 T-Rex Print. Started Printing The Ribs Today

Image credits: topgunsi

#14 I 3D Printed Matching Helmets For Myself And My Nub. “Don’t Talk To Me Or My Son Ever Again.”

Image credits: EatPrayNub

By 2009, many of the licenses and copyrights for older 3D printing technologies had entered the public domain. As the costs dropped, more hobbyists could afford to buy 3D printers for personal use. Internet resources, from forums to freely available designs lowered the barrier for entry, which was often the biggest hurdle. Enthusiasts were now free to share designs, tips and tricks. Now a person who wanted to get into 3D printing could find helpful guides online instead of being forced to rely on technical manuals. Plus, hobbyists at home have quite different ideas from a manufacturing business regarding what they should print. 

#15 My Wife Keeps Asking For Help In The Kitchen, Apparently This Doesn’t Count

Image credits: sleeky91

#16 Ugh… Another Bird Feeder… But This One Is For The Common Good!

Image credits: Tic-Tor

#17 Dragon Finally Done! She’s Not Perfect, But After Some Surgery, She’s Beautiful. Almost 5 Feet Long!

Image credits: Dazzling-Shoe-2282

Look around you. Coat hangers, coasters. The case for your glasses or a pen holder. Imagine being able to just make them at home, with almost infinite customization options. Plus, as the technology improves, the range of materials could grow. And it’s not just decorations of knick-knacks. Some creative hobbyists have already worked out how to make 3D printers that use chocolate or sugar. Envision the look of awe on your dinner guests faces when you unveil a 1-to-1 chocolate replica of the Taj Mahal or whatever else strikes your fancy.

#18 Finished My Iron Man Lamp

Image credits: Top-Barracuda-8271

#19 Ran Out Of Filament Overnight But The Print Was Too Pretty To Waste So I Found A Hat On Thingiverse And Made A Spooky Squirtle Instead!

Image credits: Archlinder

#20 Ultimate Tic Tac Toe

Image credits: Skinny128

It can be inspiring to see what creative individuals do when given the opportunity to express themselves. 3D printing, despite advances over the last decade, still remains a daunting hobby to start with. Imagine paying four figures just for the equipment alone! But on a wider scale, hopefully these creations inspire you to find that creative niche in your own life. Besides having a hobby, there are actual medical benefits to being creative. In an analysis of the effects of creative activities on wellbeing, researchers Scott and James Kaufman found that creative writing could even improve a person’s immune system.

#21 My Latest Dual-Pattern Mechanical Dice Box

Image credits: ARRpolitics

#22 I 3D Printed A Completely Pointless New Lid For My Sharpie, Based On A Medieval Mace In The Royal Armouries Collection

Image credits: Antique_Steel

#23 A Friend Of Mine Recently Lost A Lot Of Weight. So I Made This Figure To Celebrate That!

Image credits: and0re1

Creativity can also help with mental health. Ruth Richards, author of “Everyday Creativity: Coping and Thriving in the 21st Century,” believes that creativity is strongly connected with self-actualization. The feeling of being engaged and in control is directly related to a person’s mental wellbeing. Without an outlet, people can feel trapped, depressed or burnt out. Humans who feel like they have some impact on their environment, like redesigning a room or painting a fence, are more resilient to some mental disorders. If you are not sure where to begin, some psychologists recommend finding a problem. A simple mental challenge, like finding ten ways to improve your workspace this month can help positively stimulate the brain. And if you do it right, maybe you’ll generate some useful ideas in the meantime. 

#24 I Made A Reusable Grocery Shopping List

Image credits: Mupoc

#25 Made The Rocketeer Helmet And Pack Myself

Image credits: CaptainAwwsum

#26 Yes! Finally Dialed In Wood Filament On My Printer!

Image credits: WTFisjuice1

#27 I Designed Drawer/Cabinet Knobs In The Shape Of Rock Wall Climbing Holds

Image credits: thenightmuffin

#28 I’m Happy With How My Chess Board Came Out

Image credits: hartwog

#29 Over 3500 Print Hours, To Hold 100 Raspberry Pi Cameras. For A Custom 3D Scanning Rig

Image credits: Echalon88

#30 I Printed Eyes For My VR Headset

Image credits: itsnotnotjake

#31 Tired Of Having Your Charging Cable Stolen? Try Security By Obfuscation

Image credits: A_Very_Brave_Taco

#32 Checkout My Carina Nebula Version Of My Jwst Night Light!

Image credits: whopperlover17

#33 I Had A Stupid Idea That I Think Is Hilarious. Meet Licking Lickitung

Image credits: twolf201

#34 Now With Random Eye Movement. Powered By A Arduino. Any Suggestions?

Image credits: OneIdMonSTR

#35 I Designed And Printed A Working Desktop-Sized Model Of An Escalator

Image credits: FuseBox3

#36 I Love 3D Printing!

Image credits: theJester63

#37 Business Card Enbosser. I Know That I Am Not The First With This Idea But I Managed To Design It From Scratch With Only Two Prototypes And Am Quite Happy With The Result

Image credits: Magnethusiast

#38 4 Days Later

Image credits: Thoroughly_Designed

#39 I Pranked My Family By Secretly Upgrading My Submarine Into A U-Boat!

Image credits: ZackGear

#40 Pet Bottle To 3D Print!

Image credits: psycot

#41 Bender Futurama

Image credits: Bigovereasy

#42 I Couldn’t Find A Product That Could Open My Curtains So I Made My Own

Image credits: Prelzel

#43 Translucent Orange Benchy Right Out Of The Oven

Image credits: Schadenfreudedroida

#44 I Designed And Printed A Scale Model Of The Titanics Engine, And Today Was The First Time She Ran By Itself On Air. Still Work In Progress

Image credits: Oli_Vier_0x3b29

#45 After 8 Years Of 3D Printing, I Finally Found Out My Thing

Image credits: lucas_16

#46 A Bearded Christmas Gnome I Designed

Image credits: thompa89

#47 I Think My Dad Dislikes My Latest Print

Image credits: Pegs_on_GhostiesNips

#48 I Designed This Charger For My Apple Watch

Image credits: SPACE-DRAGON772

#49 Honestly, I Don’t Think It’s A Problem That Needs That Kind Of Solution, It Just Came Across My Head While I Was… Well You Know

Image credits: Kito_3D

#50 Of Everything I’ve Designed And 3D Printed, This Simple Toy Still Wins

Image credits: psalm723

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Author: Mantas Kačerauskas