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Saturday, May 18, 2013

10 Reasons you need a 3D printer now

It's not a good thing when the first article on a "3D print" website is an article that is not grounded in the reality of 3D printing at all. Food? Really? Because when we have the Jetson's food-o-matic if it's called a 3D printer it will only be to latch on to the hype. And "Random household items" on your list of household items? That's just lazy.

So instead of a top 10 reasons why the future might be cool, how about a top 10 (in no particular order) list of why you need a 3D Printer, the sort that you can get today, right now? Well, not so much a top 10 list, but a list of 10 things off the top of my head. But the important thing is these aren't things that might one day be useful, they're things that 3D printers can do today.

Robots, dolls, and playsets. Why go to the store when you can just download and print toys yourself? Sure they're a little do-it-yourself and project-y, but when you're saving a hundred bucks on a doll house it can be worth it.

Custom Toys
But why make someone else's toys when you can teach your kids and print a toy they made themselvesUnfortunately the greatest tool for that is going extinct, but a 10 year old could be taught sculptris or with a little more patience even Blender. Edit: Not anymore!

Replacement Parts
It sucks when something breaks. Then you've got to go to the store and look for a replacement part if they happen to have one or you've got to throw the part out. Not so for a 3D printer owner. Replacement bucklesdrawer guides, knobs a plenty and many more are available to download at a moment's notice.

Garden Equipment
Thingiverse is rife with ways people have enhanced their green thumb with technology. Gardening is already a project, why not let the 3D printer play with it?

Game Night
Dozens of Chess sets, obscure games no one has heard of for years, enhancements to current games, and of course Pocket Tactics. If you like playing board games there's no reason to play the same game ever again.

Custom rings, necklaces, pendants and bracelets to have a look all your own. Sure the things on thingiverse right now favor the childish, but other sources are less so and if you're a designer you can make a look all your own.

Technically an offshoot of the Accessories category but I'm including this one seperately because even if you don't like the idea of plastic fashions this one night a year you might be slightly more willing to print out a brain slug or horns to complete your costume.

Custom gifts
You can't buy a custom Lithophane nightlight made from a family picture in the store, but you can make one. Be the annoying sibling that shows up everyone else for once.

Household Decorations
I'm not one to put art deco lamp shades up around my house, but that doesn't mean that you don't have to be. Decor it up, it's your house and your 3D printer and you don't even need to make a trip to Ikea.

Get Organized
You like it when there's a place for everything and everything is in it's place? Then organize it up. Don't see something you need? Then make it custom, you don't have to wait for someone else to want the thing you need.

Make Music
Woodwinds work very well for 3D printing and... oops, that's 11.

So there it is, 11 things off the top of my head that a regular home 3D printer can do right now to make your life better. Every one of these are things I know work because I've done them. I didn't even need to get into the experimental stuff like emergency key duplicates or novelty weapons. Nor do any of these need an machine that hasn't been invented. 3D printing won't be cool one day, it's cool now.

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