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Game Accessories. Game Accessories. Monsters and Creatures.
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Mechanical parts. Game Accessories. Game Accessories. Signs and Logos. Our 3D community thinks these are a few of the best things to 3D print.
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Ferris Wheel – All Around Great
The Joy Robot – 3D Print a Pal!
Daniel Noree is a 3D Printing evangelist and Open Source advocate. Author of The OpenR/C Project and The OpenRailway Project.
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Mechanical Clock – A useful and practical 3D printer project
3D printing is taking off everywhere. Tired of simple 3DBenchy and other prints, makers are searching for exciting new 3D printer projects to tackle in their spare time.
When 3D printing at home, a case of analysis paralysis often leaves us wondering what 3D printing project to embark on next.
While many of the coolest things to 3D print include toys, clothing, and even car parts, there are also plenty of 3D printing engineering projects that require more assembly for those looking for a more detailed and creative way to use their printers.
Here we will look at some of the best 3D printer projects being made at home and in businesses everywhere. Also known as a Japanese Fountain, deer scarers are known for their place in zen gardens and their soothing water noises and satisfying clunks.
This neat water feature feels comfortable anywhere relaxation is necessary, and makes for a great 3D printer project for anyone wanting to sneak a little more zen into their lives.
- It’s worth noting that as well as the 3D printed pieces, extra parts are required to make the Deer scarer functional.
- 12mm screws, M3 nuts, and M3 Washers.
- Silicone sealant (though silicone caulk will also work).
- A DC power supply.
- The main thing to keep in mind when printing is that the main tube designer recommends that the main tube is printed using an infill of around 70% to ensure the correct balance.
Ensuring the pump fits is as tight as possible is important to avoid leakage. Following the instructions and files for this 3D printing project are available for free here, you’ll soon have your own 3D printed deer scarer is complete and ready to go anywhere!
Note: This 3D printer project uses both water and electricity. Caution is advised. Designed as an entertaining little companion for children’s hospitals, this adorable little Joy Robot makes for an excellent and rewarding challenge as a 3D printed project for engineers and robotics aficionados.
However, this project requires a lot more work than simply printing and gluing together. Motors are required to allow the robot to roam around and move its limbs and head, and the face is made up of an LCD display that can also be altered remotely to show various facial expressions and even make it blink.
More than a simple RC toy, the Joy Robot is an adorable 3D printer project that requires some good hardware and a fair bit of know-how, as some of that parts will be difficult to construct with smaller 3D printers.
What you will need:. Screwdriverand Bolts. Pliers and cutters. You will also need a wide array of different electronics, which are laid out in detail in the link below.
These include servo motors for movement. Remaining hardware required includes wheels, as well as nuts and bolts that can be found in most workstations.
Circuitry and software installation is the trickiest part of this project, but fortunately there are detailed tutorials available to ensure a smooth build of this project here, along with the free files.
A Mechanical Planetarium and Orrery – Out of This World
The creator simply asks that their creation be shared and a donation given if possible, which is a more than fair exchange for one of the coolest 3D printing projects we’ve ever seen!
And if you find yourself enjoying the likeness of this cute little guy, you can find the files for a statuette of the little guy to be used as a toy or a charm here.
If this 3D printed project has got you intrigued, you might also be interested in our article about 3D Printed Robotics.
The medical applications of 3D printing are currently being used to help in many forms of healthcare. 3D printing in the dental industry has seen numerous breakthroughs in recent years, and the projected uses of medical 3D printing could save millions of lives.
Among these medical applications are 3D printed prosthetics for amputees and people born with limb difference. Traditionally, a prosthetic limb took at least a week to make and cost thousands of dollars.
The fitting needs to be made with plaster shaped to fit the individual. These waiting times can be difficult for patients, and the high costs render some unable to afford the prosthetics they need to live comfortably in ways many of us take for granted.
Prosthetics — A 3D printer project to make a real difference
3D printing complements the creation of prosthetics to save both time and money, making them far more accessible to those who need them.
A CAD model is made from a simple scan of the affected area in as little as fifteen minutes. This scan can then be sent anywhere for printing.
From this scan, the print can be made in any color or style.
There are many different ways these 3D printed prosthetics can be customized. From realistic limbs that match the patient’s skin tone, to Iron Man arms and gauntlets; all suited to the tastes and needs of the patient.
This printing process is fast, though printing times depend on complexity. For example, it takes as little as 14 hours to 3D print a fully articulated prosthetic hand.
Once the 3D printed prosthetic is finished, it can be fitted to the patient to ensure correct size and comfort.
From there, the patient can then begin physical therapy as necessary to acclimatize themselves to their new limb.
Drawing Machine – Print to Sketch
A major benefit of 3D printed prosthetics is that the CAD files from the initial scan can be kept forever.
This means children who receive 3D printed prosthetics will be able to have their scans simply resized and newly printed as needed so their prosthetics can continue to comfortably suit them as they grow.
3D printing medical applications are seeing use all over the world, and 3D printed prosthetics are already changing the lives of millions of amputees.
These 3D printing projects make much needed prosthetics far more accessible to many people in need. Robot arms are intriguing things, it’s fascinating how a few servo motors and the right amount of artificial ligaments have changed the way we look at factory lines and mechanical workshops.
This designer took it up themselves to create a motor-free (i.e., fully mechanical) robot arm that fits comfortably on a desktop. Anyone wishing to learn about or teach mechanical engineering should find this to be a satisfying and rewarding 3D printer project.
As it’s a completely motor- and electricity-free design, this robot arm works very well as both an example of basic technology as well as being an impressive print in its own right.
The files are available for free here. Those with more knowledge of circuitry may also be able to alter the design to fit a motor if they wish.
Maneuvering the arm may seem tricky at first, but this is a 3D printer project that would make a cool addition to any desk.
3D printing engineering projects don’t get much more satisfying than fitting together working gears. Because of this, orreries are one of the best, and most intricate, ideas for a 3D printing project available, and our favorite is this mechanical planetarium (Pluto optional).
The Smart Alarm Clock – Potential Takes Time
Your creativity can shine when printing the planets, as each one can be painted to be either realistic or look however you want. Any filament should work, as long as they’re consistent to ensure the parts all fit and work together.
Because this is a working mechanism, it’s very important to ensure steadiness and precision when preparing the pieces to fit together. Fortunately, the 3D printed parts all come with markers to show what gear needs to go where. Simply follow these markers and all the parts should fit without any hassle.
Some tubes need to be bent to attach the planets. Fortunately, the files linked below include a handy template for what tubes need to be bent for each purpose if printed on A4 at 100% zoom. The moon can be adjusted after mounting, but ensure they’re as accurate as possible avoids collision and locking.
It’s important to make sure that the moon’s distance from Earth remains equal. Once you’re sure you have the moon where you want, secure it with super glue and wait for it to completely dry before resuming.
Now that you’ve got every part of your 3D printed engineering marvel in place, simply get the planets to align and you’re done!
This orrery is a great talking piece, a satisfying pastime, and a great educational 3D printing project for students of mechanical engineering (or astronomy).
This mechanism is significantly more complex than most 3D printer projects, and therefore needs many additional components on top of your 3D printed parts, a list of which is included alongside the files here.
If you’re looking for something simpler, a more basic 3D printed orrery project can be found for free here.
Combination Locks — Easy and useful 3D printing project
Few things are as satisfying as literally letting a 3D printed project take flight. Because of this, 3D printed drones are an excellent project for anyone to undertake. Due to their differing designs that vary in both complexity and capability, drones of all shapes and sizes can be made regardless of hardware, and with very little engineering knowledge.
There are many 3D printed drone files available for purchase, like the sleek one found here, but if you’re confident in your engineering skill, you can design one yourself or find and tweak prototypes that others have posted.
See also: our article on 3D printing drones. The LEAF, named after its resemblance in flight to a fall leaf, is a prototype drone with a simple enough design for anyone who may not have the deftest of hands when it comes to remote controls. It requires only a few extra parts and is durable enough to handle a few bumpy landings.
You’ll need 4 brushless motors amongst other hardware to ensure this project takes flight, all listed in the link above.
Drones – From Printer to Sky!
However, substitutions can be made if you chose to alter the LEAF from the original files. Assembling the LEAF should be a straightforward yet rewarding 3D printed project for beginners, but its status as a prototype leaves it open for tweaking or even use as a simple base model for bigger, more complex drones.
One of the more practical 3D printing projects, combination locks are simple to print and come in very handy. The first step in creating your combination lock is deciding the combination, namely how many numbers you want to open your lock and the order they should go in.
If you want to add a chain to the project, print the two halves of the lock separately and slot the chain link when it reaches the desired height.
Take care not to let the metal collide with the print head.
Kit Cards – Fun DIY 3D printing projects for all ages
The designer recommends using only the normal rings (not LT) for any combination over two digits. Once printing is completed, this lock can be assembled following the instructions linked below and used to store money for safe keeping, or have a chain attached for some extra security wherever you need it most.
Once you’ve decided on your combination, you can begin printing. When printing, be sure to include the correct number of cylinders and chambers for your desired combination. Available hereas changeable digit locks, padlocks are an easy 3D printing project for beginners who are looking for something a little more complicated than standard prints.
Big 3D printer projects don’t necessarily need big 3D printers. This motorized Ferris Wheel (seen in action in the video below) is a great project for anyone with smaller 3D printers who don’t mind a lot of post-print construction.
It’s hard not to compare the assembly of the Ferris Wheel to the building of a model miniature or 3D puzzle. With hundreds of parts to print and a lot of work, this is a project for which you’ll need to dedicate some serious time, but the results speak for themselves.
The designer of this project has included and in-depth explanation of both the printing and assembly, right down to bed leveling and attention to screw placement. This beginner-friendly approach to detailed instructions have been well received in the comments, though you will need to brush up on your French if you want to read some of the more complicated replies.
If you’re looking for a new 3D printing project but want to leave the assembly until later, or are just looking for a fun project to share in later, kit cards are the way to go.
Deer Scarer – A Traditional Japanese Fountain 3D Printing Project
From the Millennium Falcon to a Da Vinci-inspired catapult; many 3D printed kit cards are available. The beauty part of kit cards is that they’re printed in one go.
Simply by selecting your desired material and color, you can set your 3D printer to work. PLA can be used as well as the rougher materials, as long as they can be easily snapped off the card. Most kit cards will require glue to be assembled.
Though some, like the Da Vinci catapult, will only need to be slotted together, using only wire or string for tension.
Different projects have different instructions, but most CAD files will come with these. Or you could wing it and see how you do flying solo! The best part about 3D printed kit cards is their potential to bring out your inner hobbyist.
Whether you’re looking to keep your hands busy or spend some creative time with a loved one, kit cards make for great educational exercises!
Electric Coffee Maker – Morning Brew
Once assembled, just decorate the completed structures to your liking. If you didn’t need glue, they can be disassembled and reassembled for further practice. 3D printed Millennium Falcon kit card here / 3D printed Da Vinci catapult kit card here.
This open-sourced project, simply named ‘Smala’ is a Wi-Fi connectable alarm clock that auto-adjusts and can be built and modified to act as far more than a simple clock. While only the case is 3D printed, and the engineering involved is more electrical than mechanical, Smala makes for a great 3D printing project that’s loaded with potential.
Beginners to engineering can simply follow the detailed instructions here, while more advanced engineers will find the included files to be malleable enough to tweak and change this alarm clock to be almost anything you want.
Software and coding specialists will also find the use of the Raspberry Pi to be of great use in modification, and can enable features such as Bluetooth connectivity and even voice activation!
While the files can be found here, you can find much more information in the main wiki. Where would we be without coffee? Even if you’re one of the lucky few who doesn’t need a good caffeine kick to get your day on track, it’s difficult to ignore the economic and social significance of those little magic beans.
Coffee comes in all shapes and sizes, as does the apparatus used to prepare it. This 3D printing project idea is open for optimization and customization, so just like a good cup of joe it’s great project to fiddle with to get just right.
Fully Mechanical Robot Arm – Reach for the Stars!
This is once again a 3D printing project that will require caution during assembly, as it involves both electricity and water.
With a little metalwork and some creativity, the 3D printed coffee maker can make a great addition to your kitchen. Coffee tastes all the better for having been made through equipment you’ve made yourself! An important thing to keep in mind is the printing material you choose. While most PLA filaments are considered food safe, it’s always a good idea to double check that your final product is safe to us for food and drink.
Because the electric coffee maker requires electricity, it does need some additional parts, which are listed with the files and instructions found here. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined a CNC machine with a 3D printer?
Well, the answer would probably be this partially 3D printed drawing machine! While the extra parts may not be cheap, the end result is hard to argue with. This drawing machine is not only a great 3D printing project to get your creative juices flowing, it’s also a great addition to any garage or studio.
The video below outlines in great detail the process of getting this project up and running from scratch. When you’re done, your new drawing machine can be set up to draw works of art, placemats, or anything else you need from pencils, pens, markers, chalk, or anything else you can clamp onto the holster!
The files and instructions for this awesome 3D printer project are available here. As we’ve already seen with the orrery, 3D printing projects are not only for statues and ornaments.
3D printing can also be used to achieve working mechanisms, and what better mechanisms to make for your next project than a clock? Like a good 3D puzzle, the different gears slot together once printed.
Held together with screws and kept in motion with an anchor escapement, this 3D clock project is not only satisfying to put together, but very cool to see in motion. The designer has even optimized the files so that even older printers will be able to make a working model.
So even if you’re a 3D printing veteran with some outdated equipment, that shouldn’t stop the mechanical clock from being your next awesome 3D printer project.
The materials and guidelines can be found here, and assembly is very simple. Because of the relative simplicity, the clock is a great addition (not to mention talking piece) for your home, but can also be made to sell.
Any color and design will do, and the design can be tweaked for size, so any manner of customized clock can be made for yourself, or for online shoppers!
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Apart from that, there are also tutorials and a blog section in case you feel that you are out of your depth or need answers to any questions when you start 3D printing for the first time.
We have selected this hand-shaped office desk pen holder for 3D printing.
Redpah has a large community of contributors and you can both upload and download your 3D print models and stl files here. It is possible to use this site as an open-source library as well as a repository of free print files.
Alternately, you can simply use it as a vehicle to reach out to other 3D printing enthusiasts who would be interested in your amazing work with stl files!
Apart from accessing the vast library of free 3D models and stl files, you also have the great option of buying and selling these models. The good people at Redpah are committed to the creation of a free and fair marketplace. This personalized keychain’s stl file can be downloaded and 3D printed from their free 3D to print model section.
XYZ 3D Printing Gallery
This site is very heavy on the colors and graphics. However, you will still have to search for the content. Once you scroll down you will get to access the different types and categories of 3D models and stl files.
This is, by and large, more of a paid site rather than a one hundred percent free one. Clicking the ‘explore’ icon will take you to the multiple categories of models on offer. You will also be able to check out the many designers whose wares are available on the site. From toys for kids to cartoons to gadgets. In fact, everything is available on this site.
This is a 3D model of a toy tower that is available on the free section of this site. Take a look:
The Zortax Library aims to bring people closer to the art and science of 3D printing. Their library is part of a dedicated ecosystem that also includes the Zortrax M200 3D printer as well as fully compatible printing materials.
They have also thrown in a dedicated software Z-Suite. They have multiple categories and each model shows the number of times it has been downloaded as well as the total views for that specific image.
This will give the end users an idea of its overall popularity before they decide to download and print it themselves. The core purpose is to introduce people to the joy of materializing their own ideas. These happy face keychains are ideal for car and home keys.
This is a no frills, plain vanilla 3D model repository without a single extra feature or design element. You log on to the site and there are heaps of designs to choose from, and they are all scattered into different categories.
The site does require registration, but it is nonetheless, one of the most straightforward repositories out there. You can click on the explore tab to check out the various features or alternately, you can simply upload any of your own 3D models on the site. It is all up to you.
You can download this simple vintage steam iron model here.
This site prides itself on the fact that all of its 3D models are a hundred percent compatible with most standard 3D printers. Apart from that, it also offers an awesome selection of 3D designs that are verified beforehand, so that they would print whenever you want, wherever you want. No more disappointments due to failed prints!
There are around 17 categories in total and most of them consist of paid imagery. The average price is around $2 or so, so this is not a particularly pricy website. And yes, you can find some pretty cool designs here.
This 3D benchy is from their free section and would make a good benchmark for your machine.
This is the one-stop go-to place for anyone who is a devout supporter of any sort of open-source 3D printing. Libre3D is widely considered to be a really dedicated resource for all sorts of 3D printing needs.
Apart from the paid segment of the site, there are well over 400 free stl files that you can download from the site. They have dozens of categories ranging from vehicles to office equipment to music and a search bar to help you find what you are looking for, as soon as possible. This ‘do it yourself’ toy is available at the site in both stl and scad files.
This particular content repository is truly unique due to the fact that it features the exclusive work of a lone designer. The prolific Zheng3 is well known for his useful and funny 3D models and many 3D printing enthusiasts love to work on his designs.
His work is purely a creation of his own mind and he is justifiably proud of the sheer quality and quantity of his output. If you want to print something truly unique by a really talented individual, log on to the forge. Since Shang’s personal site is down, a lot of his stuff is currently available at Cults including this magnificent ballista model.
FAB365 is one of the more popular product marketplaces for all kinds of 3D printable files. Here, duly registered users are allowed to buy, sell, and even download different kinds of 3D models that they can easily make at home on their personal 3D printers.
The paid designs have been grouped as per specific themes such as home, gadgets, art, and architecture. However, these designs are both quite dashing as well as sophisticated. The people running the site try to infuse humor in as many designs as they can.
This is primarily a paid site and you will have to download them as per your own personal budget. However, they do maintain a small database of fully printable files that are available for free.
This foldable trailer truck is available at a nominal price of $2.79.
NASA – for great space-based object files
NASA has one policy. If it ain’t space, it ain’t a priority.
I used to work the Moffet Federal Airfield NASA campus – you could easily shoot a zombie survival movie on campus without moving a thing.
But did you know that NASA has a library of 3D models that are ready to print?
They do… but this site is like Moffett Field. It’s ugly.
So if you want roughly 100 very cool, completely free (for educational use) space-based 3D print models and STL files, go here. Just don’t expect a mobile-friendly, responsive new-aged website.
This site ain’t space, so it ain’t pretty.
Models include many landmark objects important to the history of space exploration, such as this image of the Apollo 1 landing site.
Dremel Lesson Plans
The US manufacturers Dremel have their very own curated portal of diverse lesson plans designed to complement their state-of-the-art Builder line of 3D printers.
Since the idea Builder platform can only 3D print various objects in PLA filament only, their wide assortment of 3D printable files have been optimized for a truly frustration-free experience.
In fact, these 100 percent free stl files can be printed in classrooms and at the home. Many of them are also bundled with education material for teachers and parents alike. This measurement kit is available as part of their education package. It has been expressly designed for young school-age children.
The Polar Cloud is a petty well respected online social platform that offers 100 percent free STL files along with various 3D printer models. They lay a very strong emphasis on both education as well as collaboration.
This is done in the form of regular challenges that are designed to stimulate engagement. They also have well-explained tutorials that will show you how it’s done. However, you can only explore their content once you register; otherwise, it is not open to the general public. This is a 3D astronaut that has been used to benchy their products.
Yeggi – an STL search engine
Yeggi.com is a dedicated search engine that will actively search for and find 3D printer models by crawling through multiple 3D printing websites. It also shows the more popular searches by your fellow enthusiasts so that you will get an idea of the trends that are rocking the 3D printing world.
The user interface (UI) is not very simple but it is however, pretty effective at what it does best. Aand that is finding free stl files for all of your 3D printing needs. You can also check out the section for new and upcoming free 3D printable files. As of now, you can access almost three million images there.
This adorable baby Groot docking station has been picked up by Yeggi from the Cgtrader site.
Stlfinder – another search engine
The term ‘Stlfinder is pretty self-explanatory. This is a search engine that will find the relevant stl file for you by crawling all over the web and bringing you the right results for absolutely free STL files, along with various other models as well.
If you want, you can also create your very own account on the site in order to bookmark your favorite files for future use. There are millions of 3D printable images out there, and it will help you find the one you want. Since it is a search engine, you can simply enter the term and let it do the rest of the work.
Once it finds what you are looking for, it will display multiple hits on the same page. Here, you would have the option of visiting the site and checking to see if it free or not, so that you can make an informed decision accordingly.
This is a platform that has been designed to share, publish, buy discover, and ultimately sell all kinds of 3D content. You can view different models on WebGL and WebXR technologies.
They allow various users to display multiple3D models on any mobile browser, or Virtual Reality (VR) headset. It is possible to join this site for free, but you will still have to pay at least a nominal amount for the models.
This is a picture of a fire hydrant available on this site.
Print Me a Sheep
This website has over 100,000 3D images in over a dozen categories, each with its own subcategories. The site is to the point and there is no extra fluff here, just 3D images, that’s it.
The site can be viewed in Italian, English, Spanish, and French and you will have plenty of free material as well as paid premium content for any project you like. This is a 3D print version of a Greek temple from the antiquities category.
Apart from Greek and Roman civilizations they also have Egyptian and other cultures available in this category. The same applies to most of the other categories as well.
The good people at Hum3D have a very simple and unique tagline. “We make what others miss” Keeping true to their word, they have a very carefully curated collection of 18,000 3D printable models.
From cars to electronics and from animals to weapons, they have it all, in 20 different categories. However, the 3D printable files are available as paid options, albeit at very nominal charges.
This 3D test car can be downloaded for around $5.
3D up and Downs
Their stated goal is to make 3D printing available for everyone. They have created over 20 categories and a huge number of 3D printable images In pursuit of this goal. Unlike many other sites of a similar nature, their free and paid sections are very clearly marked and you can easily download a few trail prints to see if you like the content. Once convinced, you might opt for their high poly premium content.
There are plenty of stl files as well as other models and content available, and it is bound to satisfy even the most ardent enthusiast. This highly detailed 3D printable male white hand is available in their free section.
We no longer recommend 3D Warehouse for finding 3D printing models. Here’s why.
3D Warehouse is a vast repository of free 3D models.
However, while they used to allow STL downloads, they now only offer .SKP (Sketch Up), .DAP (Digital Asset Exchange), and .GLB files (VR/AR asset files, only with a paid subscription).
It looks like the only way to get an STL file from 3D Warehouse now is to
- Download Sketch Up
- Download and open the file in Sketch Up
- Install an STL conversion plugin
- Export the file to STL format
Too. Much. Work.
If you’re looking for 3D Models for VR/AR, graphic design, or architecture, 3D Warehouse is a good bet. But for 3D printing – there are better options.
Specific Free STL file roundups – From fishing to RC Planes to Pokemon, all of our best collections
Looking for something specific? We’re creating roundups of our favorite categories. More are being added regularly.
3d printed games – 13 free, expert-picked tabletop games and toys
3d printed fishing stuff – 8 expert-picked lures, reels, & more
60 classy 3d printed home decor to make your home beautiful, fast
Super unique 3D printed fidget toys you can print for free by tonight
28 Free 3D print pegboard models to make and get organized by tonight
16 Fantastic, free Pokemon 3D print files and models
You don’t have to CAD it to make it and there are plenty of alternatives to Thingiverse.
As you get further along, you can also use these sites to get your work out there or even make a buck or two.