November 30, 2022

3D Printing is gaining more momentum and popularity than ever! Designers and architects all over the world are now adopting 3D Printing for the creation of almost all types of products and structures. It’s a technique that is being widely utilized in product design, owing to its simple and innovative nature. But designers aren’t employing 3D printing only to create basic models, they’re utilizing this technique in mind-blowing ways as well! From an electric violin with a 3D-printed body to a pair of 3D-printed shoes that’ll make you feel like Bigfoot – the scope of this dependable technique is unlimited! Dive into this collection of humble yet groundbreaking 3D-printed designs.

1. Karen Ultralight Electric Violin

While the name Karen Ultralight Electric Violin may not be the best moniker for this instrument, it’s definitely the kind you won’t be able to ignore. Envisioned by Anima Design for Katahashi Instruments the Karen Ultralight is a dynamic electric violin that ditches conventional wooden acoustic chambers for something more eye-catching.

Why is it noteworthy?

The violin comes with a relatively hollow body made through generative design, which still provides strength with minimal use of material. The 3D-printed generative frame sits on a carbon fiber body, with a birchwood fingerboard for an elevated yet familiar playing experience. Working just like an electric guitar, the Karen Ultralight has a 1/4-inch jack output, but even sports an internal 9V battery and a headphone jack so you can ‘silently’ play music directly into your headphones without disturbing the neighbors!

What we like

  • Uses a popular design technique called generative design
  • A slot on the back lets you put in a 9V battery and plug your own headphones into the Karen, giving you the ability to play silently, right into your ear

What we dislike

2. The Cryptide Sneaker

The Cryptide 3D Sneaker Sintratec

The Cryptide Sneaker was designed by Stephan Henrich for Sintratec. The German architect and designer came up with a pair of full 3D shoes meant to be laser sintered with a flexible TPE material. Using a Sintratec S2 System 3D printer, the shoes were formed and printed.

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Why is it noteworthy?

The Cryptide features a sole with an open design. The designer said it was made possible by SLS production (Selective Laser Sintering) and a material called Sintratec TPE elastomer. Simply put, SLS is an additive manufacturing that takes advantage of a laser to sinter particles into a more solid 3D structure. Henrich and Sintratec worked together to bring the sneaker design into reality.

What we like

  • The size and shape can adapt to the foot of the wearer
  • They remind us of the Adidas Futurecraft 4D!

What we dislike

  • They don’t rate high on aesthetics + style
  • The shoes will leave freaky footprints

3. Weaver+

We|aver+ or Weaver+, for example, 3D prints something that is akin to knitted fabric, except it uses elastic TPU as the material. The shoes that it prints out actually look more like chainmail rather than conventional fabric, and it’s not without reason.

Why is it noteworthy?

The hollow-loose knitting structure gives the shoes the flexibility necessary for supporting the growing feet of children. At the same time, however, the shoe also offers stable support to make sure the heels don’t lose their suppleness in the long run.

What we like

  • Designed to feel great but also look distinctive
  • The design allows the shoes to stretch in one direction while also providing stability in the perpendicular direction

What we dislike

4. The Vine Collection

The Vine collection includes a vase-like vessel, a dish tray, a basket, and a bowl that look like a series of wooden rods twisted to create pleasing curves and shapes. No adhesives or extra connecting parts were used to finish their forms, ensuring that the products were sustainable and recyclable from start to finish.

Why is it noteworthy?

The twisting shapes are a testament to the capabilities of Forust’s 3D printer, but they also serve as metaphors for the organic nature of trees that eventually end up as source materials for these products.

What we like

  • The technology does actually support recreating the appearance of different wood grains, including those from endangered trees

What we dislike

5. The Blizzfosser

Customized to each person’s interdental crevasses, the Blizzflosser is the brainchild of Chris Martin who has already made us fans with the weirdly productive toothbrush-sponge.

Why is it noteworthy?

The Blizzflosser comes with soft floss lined according to an individual’s denture. It is washable and reusable. The floss aligned on the contraption is thin to glide through into the gaps between the teeth and does not hurt the gums. Getting one of these tailored for you is simple; Blizzbrush sends a double-sided special paste tray to you that you bite into to leave about 5mm deep impressions of your upper and lower dentures. You then snap pictures of your production and send them to the company that based on the images customizes and 3D prints a complete denture flosser for you.

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What we like

  • Replicates the manual flossing techniques

What we dislike

  • People accustomed to flossing, may not like this new technique

6. Mini Clutch Bags

These mini clutch bags are evidently inspired by organic patterns and structures, like something from underwater flora and fauna. Such designs are extremely difficult and expensive to produce using traditional methods.

Why is it noteworthy?

Ironically, it is more expensive and more wasteful if complicated designs like these are produced in small amounts. These kelp-inspired fashion accessories, however, are not only intricate but also sustainable, and they are made possible using yet another marvel of human ingenuity, the 3D printer.

What we like

  • The organic patterns are based on 3D scans of natural topologies from kelp collected from the Malibu coastline in California
  • The voids created by the patterns not only let you have a slight view of what’s inside the bag, but it also makes it more lightweight

What we dislike

7. Otrivin Air Lab’s 3D-printed products

Mother Nature already has its own tiny air purifiers, and not only can we use them to clean the air, but we can also even harvest them to create products that won’t harm the planet in turn. That’s the proposition that the Otrivin Air Lab interactive exhibit in Londo is trying to present, and it’s roping in visitors not only to observe the process but to actively take part in it. The space is enclosed in a lightweight and reversible timber structure, and one of the walls holds twelve “photobioreactors.” These are tall glass vessels filled with ten liters of living photosynthetic microalgae that absorb CO2 and release oxygen while also producing biomass in the process. Each day, that wall can take in 240g of CO2 and spit out 180g of oxygen as well as 84g of biomass.

Why is it noteworthy?

Visitors to the lab can take part in the daily harvesting of that biomass product that is then turned into bioplastics, bio-rubbers, and 3D printing filaments. These raw materials can then be used to create biodegradable and sustainable products, like vases and even stools. Some might find it a bit unsettling, but the fact that you are sitting on what is practically CO2 and air pollution should feel empowering. We might not be able to completely eradicate unclean air, but we can at least turn them into something harmless and useful.

What we like

  • The lab is intended to showcase the viability and sustainability of a circular economy
  • Nasal healthcare company Otrivin, who collaborated on this exhibit, will be using this process to create its Fibonacci NetiPot nasal sprays
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What we dislike

8. The Polyformer

The Polyformer looks interesting from the get-go, and its name sounds like something taken out of fictional literature. Its translucent white appearance is thanks to the fact that it is made from recycled plastic PET bottles, giving it an appearance that also speaks to its purpose.

Why is it noteworthy?

In a nutshell, the machine slices up PET bottles and melts them to turn them into filaments only 1.75 mm in diameter. These recycled plastic threads can then be used in normal 3D printers to create more things, probably with the same distinctive translucent appearance as the Polyformer.

What we like

  • Offers an alternative to the traditional way PET bottles are recycled
  • The designer has made available all the information needed to recreate it yourself

What we dislike

9. Angled Stands

Designed to easily become the centerpiece of any geek’s table, these stands are 3D-printed pretty much to scale, and are designed to easily fit most standard headphones (and even VR headsets!)

Why is it noteworthy?

Although each headphone stand is 3D printed (and you can even see the lines on some of them), it also has a stunning amount of detail. Take for instance the Chewbacca headphone stand right below. This is because Angled partners with designers and artists to release new variants and models online. Artists create detailed models that get approved by Angled’s team based on sizing, proportions, and their ability to be printed without any flaws/errors. Once a design gets approved by the Angled team, it makes its way to their store and for every sale, the artist gets a commission.

What we like

  • They can be customized and painted to make them all the more realistic
  • Has stands that hold your Xbox or PS controllers

What we dislike

10. Wabo

Wabo is a collection of hand boards that are created from plastic waste produced from 3D-printed prototyping. Eight million pieces of plastic make their way into the ocean on a daily basis. That’s a lot of plastic. While some brands commit themselves to gimmicky sustainable practices that have more to do with marketing than carbon-neutral manufacturing, other brands learn how to make something out of the plastic waste they produce.

Why is it noteworthy?

The multidisciplinary design studio Uido Design is a studio known for its catalog of 3D printable product designs and its team is doing something about the waste they produce during the design process. Shredding the plastic waste produced from 3D printing into bits and pieces, Uido Design uses the waste to create hand boards for users to ride the ocean waves.

What we like

  • The hand boards are handcrafted

What we dislike

  • Not a necessary product, but still fun!