SLIDESHOW

3D printed gifts you can buy or make

If you have a 3D printer, you can make a lot of really great gifts yourself, and there are plenty of services that will print them for you as well.

3d printed boxes
Credit: Joe
Give some unique gifts this holiday season

3D prints make unique presents that can easily be customized for whoever is on your gift-giving list. You can make them yourself or have a 3D printing service whip up something using high quality materials. Your options are generally limited by what you can design (or find a design of), and how deep your wallet is.

3d printed bauhaus chess set
3D printed chess set

You probably know somebody who enjoys playing chess. While a nice chess set can make a great gift, a 3D-printed set lets you customize it pretty much however you want. Need inspiration? Consider the Bauhaus set, a Dr. Who set, and of course a Robot Chess Set.

3d printed lens cap holder
Camera accessories

If you know a special someone who enjoys photography, you’ve got plenty of cool 3D printed gift options. This lens cap holder can be customized to work with just about any camera. There are also pinhole lenses for both Canon and Nikon available. I've personally played with a lens extension tube, with surprisingly impressive results, and it doesn't cost you hundreds of dollars either (Canon and Nikon).

3d printed guitar
Credit: Cubify
A guitar with a 3D printed body

It’s not for the faint of wallet, but a 3D printed guitar could be an amazing gift for the musically inclined. Cubify has partnered with Olaf Diegel to produce custom 3D printed guitars. I briefly spoke to a professional guitarist hired to play 3D printed guitars at a conference, and he said they performed just as well as conventional guitars.

attachment to make soda bottle into a bike fender
Bike accessories

If one of your friends likes to bikes, there are tons of different things that you can print for them. Akong the options: a mount for a water bottle fender, a clip for their pants, or, if your friend carries their bike frequently, why not a handle to make it easier.

mario star tree topper
A 3D printed Mario star tree topper

Update that star at the top of your Christmas for the 21st century with this Mario star, the perfect topper to tie the decorations together. Some Mario themed ornaments will go along with the star for a themed tree. Refrain from jumping onto the tree to grab the star, as it doesn't actually make you invincible. Your cat probably won't listen to reason though...

assorted 3d printed puzzles
Credit: George Hart
3D printed puzzles

No, not 10,000 piece puzzles—those would take forever to print. I'm talking about brain teaser puzzles. They won’t match the complexity of the Rubik’s Cube, but they're a fun way to pass the time and a great addition to your coffee table. There’s a set of 5 you can print, ranging in complexity. A Bedlam cube includes a bunch of shapes that, when arranged properly, form a cube. Of course there are some more traditional puzzles you can play with—here's one of Africa, with links to other continents.

doge. very realism. such 3d. so printed. wow
Miniature figurines

With 3D printing getting more refined, more intricate prints are becoming available. Twinkind will print you insanely detailed miniatures of yourself, though it's expensive and you have to make the trip to its studio in New York. There's also Makies, which can 3D print you a customizable, posable doll. There are also plenty of pre-composed miniatures you can buy, like a tiny sad Keanu or Doge (you know, the meme).

two 3d printed action figures. one male, the other female
Credit: Jason Welsh
Toys, for kids or adults

Sure you can go out and buy some lame toy or action figure, but there's a better way. Jason Welsh has created stunningly intricate action figures on Thingiverse which you can print and assemble. There are both male and female models, and he includes some tips on assembly.

hydroponic planter pots 3d printed from compostable pla
Gardening gifts for your loved one with a green thumb

Gardening can be relaxing and rewarding, not to mention a great way to enjoy fresh herbs and vegetables straight from your backyard. ProtoParadigm has an article showing how 3D printing can make gardening easier, from simple hooks to hang trellis netting, to hydroponic plant pots that can be composted if you print them with PLA.

two pieces of 3d printed jewlery
Credit: Nick Graham
Designer 3D prints

If you like the concept of 3D printing, but aren't a fan of the rough feel that tends to comes along with the final product, there are some designer options to check out. Nick Graham has a collection of designer 3D printed fashion accessories for those willing to spend the money. Spaho Design has a shop on Shapeways where you can pick up some super-high-quality prints, and also a miniature President Obama riding a raptor with a machine gun while you're at it.

screenshot of the www.shapeways.com ring creation page
Credit: Shapeways
Pretty much anything you want, and can design

Many resources can turn your design into a 3D reality. Shapeways has a bunch of online tools to help you make various things. Sculpteo can 3D print your designs as well, and has an app that can help you create them. i.materialize does much of the same, with a focus on high quality and fine detail.