No longer considered a new technology, industrial 3D printing has become part of the furniture in modern manufacturing environments. Its incorporation has helped organisations grow stronger, offer faster routes to market for products and provide an impressive platform for prototyping.
3D printing consumer products
As 3D printing’s development continues in the industrial sector, we are seeing spill over into growing expectations of consumer products made with 3D printing. No longer is it unusual to hear about 3D food printers in restaurants and even in the home, we are also hearing more and more about the technology in the art world, science and fashion circles too. With so much progress has come a new ground for making money with 3D printing. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of 3D printed products today.
1. 3D printed mobile phone cases
Smart phones are a staple personal accessory these days. When your phone is damaged there can be huge implications if you cannot use it. How will you find your way home? Will you miss out on that item you are bidding on and of course, you don’t want to miss that all-important phone call. With this in mind, all the more reason to protect it with a solid mobile phone case. Typically, there hasn’t been a vast array of design options but 3D printing provides a new opportunity to create a larger scope of designs, opening up a new and interested market.
2. 3D printed jewellery
3D printed jewellery is another area where profit potentially lies. Jewellery pieces like earrings can be customised and tailored for different trends, tastes and styles using this technology. Added to this, there is a huge wealth of materials you can use to make 3D printed jewellery, such as silver, gold, plastic, bronze, brass and copper. It’s not just large companies that are able to 3D print jewellery, small outfits are able to as well with desktop printers now able to produce quality accessories and products.
3. 3D printed false nails
False nails continue to be a hugely popular fashion accessory, the world over. Celebrities, Instagram and the media in general have catapulted artificial nails into a billion-dollar industry. Whether it’s acrylic, gel or shellac nails, there’s profit to be made when there’s a big market demand. 3D printed capabilities widen the scope for fake nail designs even further with raised bumps on the surface and additional, unusual embellishments. What’s more, there’s greater potential for creating bespoke-sized nails that can be made quickly.
4. 3D printed footwear
Customised shoes are becoming a more popular fashion statement too, with brands such as Adidas and Reebok adapting to the overall trend of personalised clothing products. 3d printed footwear can be made to perfection using a detailed image of the foot/feet taken prior to production. As an established fashion accessory, it’s clear to see why trainers are popular for tailoring, but flip flops, which are usually massed produced, have also demonstrated a high demand for customisation through 3D printing. Although it’s still early stages with footwear, additive manufacturing (as 3D printing if often referred to as) has also been used to make orthopaedic footwear like insoles for shoes and boots.
5. 3D printed spectacles
When it comes to looking after your eyes, prescription glasses can become very expensive and must fulfil a number of criteria, including helping us to see, being comfortable and looking good. This makes them a prime candidate for customisation, and therefore 3D printing. Usually, glasses are mass produced with small adjustments optional often after the point of sale at some opticians. However, these alterations can break the frame in some cases, and are not the most ideal way to tailor glasses. With 3D printed glasses, modifying to ensure a more comfortable fit is much easier, as well as customising for style and aesthetics. They also offer a cheaper production alternative.
6. 3D printed animal figures
Plastic animals have been a popular addition to children’s toy collections for decades. Whether they form part of a set or characters from a book or as a standalone toy, 3D printing provides a greater opportunity to produce more intricate designs with details and features which really bring to life characters to life for children.
7. 3D printed headphones
3D printed earbuds can make your listening experience so much more comfortable! Traditionally made in standard sizes, headsets or earbuds are much more comfortable when they are tailored to our own personal ear shape. Some technologies allow your phone to take an image of your ear to scan and create the perfect, personalised headset from.
8. 3D printed vases and flower pots
Both vases and pots are ideal for 3D printing, forming simple shapes and designs and ideal objects for customising. It’s possible to 3D print in ‘vase mode’ where there is a continuous stream of filament that produces a hollow container – basically, a vase. This function produces simple designs quickly with less material required. Similarly, flower pots with which to adorn our homes and gardens with are perfect to create a bespoke design for, and complement the increasing interest in, decorating and in some cases, personalising our gardens.
9. 3D printed Skulls
Printing skulls is not as macabre as you might think, in fact, it can be a very useful to medical experts and scientists. The skulls of animals can be used to look at extinct species, they can also be used in medical education and in the art and fashion industries too.
10. 3D printed toothpaste squeezer
Last but not least is the all-important issue of gaining the most out of a dwindling tube of toothpaste. This is achievable with a 3D printed tube squeezer! This adjustable bit of kit can be assembled using three separate parts, making it perfect for use with different sized tubes. Handy lifestyle gadgets are always popular, and ones that help us decrease product waste and money? There’s always a market for that.