There are quite a few useful things that you can make with a 3D printer, and those things have gotten quite a bit of news coverage. These things include but are not limited to padlocks, lamps, clips, small, rare replacement pieces for mechanical objects, kitchen tools, iphone cases, guns, guitars, etc. We want to talk to you today about all the useless chotchkies you can make with a 3D printer that will bring pure joy to your life. The possibilities are endless. We say, try your hand at printing an alien skull, a tiger figurine, or a Princess Leia style bikini. We’ve even seen some incredible art come out of 3D printing. Here are our top 10 non-utilitarian uses for 3D printing.
1. Living sculptures
An artist has created a series of spectacular sculptures which appear to ‘bloom’ like living flowers. John Edmarks created his pieces of art, which he calls Blooming Zoetrope Sculptures, using a 3D printer.The infinite blooming effect is achieved by spinning the sculpture and photographing it with a camera with a fast shutter speed.
2. 3D Printed bikini
Chinese designer Zhang Hongyu launched a 3D printed swimsuit collection series using a 3D printed silicon polymer feedstock at Shanghai Fashion Week 2014.
Hongyu says that 3D printing technology allows the addition of extremely delicate elements to clothing designs, enhancing style while maintaining a soft look: “This is not just a swimsuit, it also makes the people who wear it feel happy and look charming.
3. King Richard III’s face
Archaeologists discovered the long-lost King Richard III under a parking lot in England, so naturally they gave it’s skull measurements to a facial reconstruction expert. She then sculpted computerized flesh to computerized bone and then 3D printed the resulting bust — a lifelike look at a man dead more than 500 years.
4. An actual human skull, for the most part.
A few years ago, surgeons replaced 75 percent of a man’s skull with a plastic one made by 3D printing.
5. Adult Products
While not exactly useless products, the adult industry has adopted 3D printing technology to much success. The adult industry has already harnessed the technology to print dildos, vibrator sleeves, and other accessories.
6. This alien skull from Thingiverse.com. No need for explanation. It’s just cool.
7. You, but smaller
Berlin-based company Twinkind makes 3D-printed miniatures based on 360-degree scans of you. Not creepy at all. Learn to love yourself. You can print out as many copies as you want—you can create a small army of figurines to play with.
8. Inflatable flowers
Richard Clarkson has designed 3D inflatable flowers for 3D printing. Clarkson has your back in case you’re the type of person who screws it up with your girl on the weekly. Clarkson says the following about his designs, “Forcing air into the cavities of the print causes it to ‘bloom’ and thereby reveal the complexity of its physical structure”. Check out Clarkson’s video explanation for the design here.
9. Human masks
Heather Dewey-Hagborg extracts DNA samples from trash or swabs, then sends the samples to be sequenced in a lab and enters the information she receives into a computer program that creates a 3D image of the DNA donor’s face.
Dewey-Hagborg hits print, and voilà: 3D-printed human masks.
10. 3D colored sugar sculptures
3D Systems created a 3D printer prototype called a ChefJet. The Chefjet turns loose sugar into gorgeous geometric confections.