It is baffling to think that 3D printing would have been something straight out of a science fiction film a few decades ago.
But the future is here.
Printing technology continues to improve, and we can now implement our printer projects at home.
We will not print invoices or documents, but something far better.
Just like any other hobby, it is always best to start with something easy and simple.
You can familiarize yourself with your hardware and gain confidence with your new printer.
With that in mind, I would like to give you some 3D printing ideas to give you a sense of direction for your first printing models.
These 3D prints are perfect for complete novices, even those who are technologically illiterate.
Yes, all ideas will have links to download STL files, so you can try them at home.
These 3D prints are also useful as well since. You print them, you might as well use them.
How to Choose 3D Printing Projects as a Beginner
With so many projects out there, which one to choose?
I highly recommend you get your feet wet with the print ideas in this article first.
Of course, you will soon want to print other cool things once you get into it.
At the end of the day, whether you should attempt that particular project depends on one thing: confidence.
Your confidence comes from your experience, and one quick way to accumulate that is through practice.
Everybody has to start somewhere, so do not feel embarrassed to start small. From there, you can work your way up and choose projects based on complexity.
As a beginner, you should stick to 3d printing projects that do not require much or any functionality.
Why? Because making a photo frame using your 3D printer is easier than an RC tank.
The frame has no moving parts, and the most complex feature in that project is the round corners.
Difficulty scales with functionality, exponentially if there are moving parts.
3D printing a box to hold your pen is easy. But if you want the same box to serve as a battery dispenser, you need to design some sort of slide to push the batteries out.
Want to add a lid to that? You need to design the hinge and cover.
So, functionality equates to complexity.
Start simple for now and when know how to make 3D models, you can start to experiment and make elaborate designs.
Home Decor – Simplest 3D Printing Ideas to Start
To give you a bit of a 3D printing experience, we will start with small things with a simple design. A lot of people start here, so do not feel inadequate.
Here are some ideas for your first prints.
The Fin Vase
This vase could easily pass as an expensive luxury vase.
The sleek design makes it perfect in a modern workspace. The fin design enhances the rigidity of the vase, and you can easily scale it to whatever size you want.
Designed by: eponra
A simple container for your tea candle with grooves on all sides. A simple yet elegant addition to a workspace.
Designed by: 3DBROOKLYN
“Splaty” Outlet Cover Plate
Tired of plain white square outlet covers?
You can print this one to give your room a Nickelodeon/’90s touch.
It departs from the container-shaped 3D prints and challenges you to work with more complex shapes.
It is a fun addition to have in your home.
Designed by: Chris Caplan
Pen and Pencil Holder
Box or cylindrical shapes are easy to work with, but they are also boring.
Consider making a pen and pencil holder with an interesting touch of abstract/asymmetrical pattern for your desk.
It probably does not hold as many pens or pencils as a square box, but you probably do not need that many either.
This unique design involves a lot of complex shapes at varying heights as well.
Designed by: beeverycreative
A simple picture frame with a stand.
Supports both landscape and portrait variants.
No longer do you have to go out and buy a frame when you can just print one right at home. This easy project is perfect for beginners.
Designed by: LuluX
For your last challenge, try your hand at making this elephant.
The torso and legs consist of simple shapes and patterns, but the head poses a greater challenge, especially the snout.
This tiny elephant would make for a beautiful addition to your workspace as well.
Designed by: Le FabShop
Functional 3D Printing Ideas
At this point, you should get the hang of 3D printing now.
The last section is all about objects that are more about decoration than function.
Here, I will give you 3D printing ideas for personal use.
Cascade Card Wallet
It is as if the designer got their idea from smartphones when they put this together.
This card wallet/holder is about the size of a smartphone.
The mechanism at the front uses a front swipe motion, just like how you would unlock a phone.
The overall design is simple and user-friendly.
Can hold 5 cards. One version also has a cash slot in the back. The moving bits might need a bit of use before they move smoothly.
Designed by: Hugo
A simple box with latches, clamps, and external ribs for extra rigidity.
Its utility value comes from the fact that you can, and should, tinker with the parameters to suit your need.
A simple container for all your storage needs.
Designed by: Whity
An easy support-free and printed-in-place clip. Its spring action is a semicircle of the same material instead of a metallic spring.
The grip strength is not as strong, but it can hold food packaging and a few other things in place.
Designed by: IL3D
An elegant phone stand, minimalist in design. It does not have holes to route your charging cable through, however.
Designed by: Jiří
If you work with a lot of electronic devices, then cable management is key.
It is not fun having to untangle all the USB cables to find the jack.
Well, no more of that when you have this cable organizer.
It keeps all the jacks in place, and you can use it to tidy up your cables, so your desk setup is nice and clean.
A simple design with lots of utility. You can slap this at the front of your table or in your car for quick cable access.
Alternatively, you can secure this to the back of your table to route wires from your peripherals to your PC. There are 5 variants with 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 clips.
Designed by: LordTalon34
Furniture Connectors System Kit
These little pieces help hold furniture pieces together.
Particularly useful if you have more than one table or shelf that you want to seamlessly and securely connect.
Designed by: Churuata3D
An interesting cylindrical container of different colors with a screw-on top that can pass as a birthday gift.
Features a diamond pattern that is not rough on the hand as the tip is flat. It can hold small things such as pills.
It certainly looks better than an ordinary plastic prescription vial.
There are plenty of variations for the container and the top itself.
One of them has a hole for a lanyard. If you are not happy with the dimensions, the author included OpenSCAD files so you can customize the height as you see fit.
Designed by: Marty Keil
Door Handles Set
A set of 3 door handles with a minimalistic design.
Two with a cylindrical grip and one with a square grip.
Designed by: Aljaz Mrak
A nice addition to your kitchen and arguably the best way to store your spices.
This compact pull-out spice rack keeps all your spices and everything nice in a convenient location.
The design of this rack allows you to line them up side by side.
You can slide the rack out and rotate it for easy access.
Its range of movement is 90 degrees in either direction.
The rack has 2 shelves, one for tall containers and the other for shorter ones. There are lots of customization options to suit your needs.
Designed by: SpongyBob
Toilet Paper Holder
Your toilet paper does not have to be plain and boring.
Give your bathroom a touch-up by printing yourself this toilet paper holder.
The design is of an enemy from the retro arcade game Space Invader.
Assembly is easy. Just apply glue on the groves and put the left and right parts together.
Designed by: Sebisebman
A simple and easy-to-use clamp for your workspace.
Designed by: Dape
Gravity Broom Holder
This broom holder uses the power of gravity to keep your broom in place.
It utilizes a rolling gear and the broom’s weight to create a clamping force on the handle.
Just lift the handle a bit when you push it in place to move the gear, and let it move back down to lock it in place.
To get your broom, simply lift the handle again and the gear should slide right out.
The designer included 2 versions of the holder.
One that mounts with standard drywall screws and another one with Drywall Anchor Nubs.
This holder might struggle to hold metal handles but a few loops of rubber bands on the tapered part of the gear should give it the extra grip.
Designed by: LoboCNC
Zippy Bag Clip
This is basically a large zipper that you can slap on food packaging.
They have rows of little fingers to keep the bag shut. In terms of utility, you are probably better off printing a few clips instead of this zippy bag clip. Both can get the job done.
In fact, this zip-up bag clip is hugely impractical as it is comically large.
But I say that it is a fun way of sealing your bag.
It might just be a good gift.
Another handy feature is that you can make it as long as you want.
As for assembly, it requires some elbow grease on your part.
Make sure to follow the author’s instructions carefully.
Designed by: LoboCNC
Wine Glass Holder for Dishwashers
This handy little gadget attaches to the dishwasher’s rack to keep your wine glass in place.
There are 4 different designs to choose from.
Designed by: Gabor Penoff
Think of it like a clamp that can join pieces of wood diagonally, saving you the hassle of drilling and screwing things together.
The design takes after the PLY90 which is reminiscent of a wing/fly nut except that the pieces have grooves or teeth to help them bite into the wood better.
With a few wooden panels, you can easily assemble a shelf and reconfigure it down the line.
With these connectors, you can put together a lot more than just wooden shelves, though.
You can make a chair, a dog house, a table, etc. This is a great example of simple projects that have a lot of utility values.
Designed by: DEGH1004
Let’s face it. We all know what it feels like.
Getting the last bit of toothpaste out is hard work, but not doing it feels so wasteful.
You can try to squeeze it out but this tool makes the job feels like a breeze. Easily one of the best 3D objects you can print.
Designed by: Spidersky1489
Screw and Nut
Simple but practical screw and nut combination. What is there to say?
Designed by: Ysoft be3D
An elegant and functional key holder on a hexagonal platform.
Double-sided tape should be enough to secure it onto a wall.
The author included a variant with holes for screws if you want to use those instead.
They also look nice as well.
Designed by: XYZ Space
Though simple in function, it gives your desk a face-lift with its beautiful hexagonal pattern.
Suitable for iPad, laptop, and e-book readers.
Make sure to follow the author’s directions if you want to modify it to fit your device.
Designed by: Adrián Vidal
Challenging 3D Printing Ideas for Beginners
With some experience to your name, consider taking on more challenging 3D projects.
What makes these challenging is not the complex shapes or moving parts alone.
These involve other parts that you need to acquire separately, usually electronics. So, you need to make sure that these separate pieces of different sizes go together.
Here are some print ideas to test your skill.
This little air cooler fits an 80x80x25mm PC fan.
It keeps you nice and cool on a hot summer day at the office.
Though the fan blows upwards, the interior of the chassis deflects the air out through the side. The file is only for the chassis.
You will need to buy a PC fan that hooks up to your laptop via USB.
For extra cooling capacity, you can take the cap off, flip it around, and you will find a hole to put ice packs or a cold water bottle in.
Designed by: RIVERFAMILY
Magnetic Spool Drawer
This plain-looking cylindrical container actually has intricate designs and fancy features.
For one, the drawer swings open to the side instead of coming straight out, which should be interesting in and of itself. But it gets better.
There are two drawer variants, with and without a divider, to help you organize your things.
The best part is that you can stack this as high as you want.
The author used Neodymium magnets (10 mm in diameter, 10 mm in height), 1 for the baseplate and 2 for every spool, as well as some M4 x 25 mm screws to hold it together.
Designed by: MALKEM
Want to print musical instruments? How about a violin?
This is a full-size, fully playable violin. It should be compatible with most violin fittings, though you still need to buy those separately.
When assembling your violin, make sure to follow the author’s instructions in the PDF file.
Designed by: bchan
A wall clock with a minimalist and beautiful design.
One of the best things about this clock is that the author could go with a simple and flat clock and it would still look clean.
But they took it one step further and raised the dials to support a second circle. From the front, you could not tell that there are 2 circles sitting on top of each other.
The author included 2 materials, so pick one that suits your needs.
Designed by: LIM JIA HUI
An RC quadcopter chassis with friendly and round edges, though you need to supply the electronics yourself.
In terms of design, this is about as simple as it can get.
The author wants to make this as lightweight as possible without compromising its structural integrity.
Designed by: Daniel Noree
Yes, I know what you are thinking. Fidget spinners are not mainstream anymore these days.
But this does not make this project any less fun.
Print a couple of these and you have yourself some great gifts for your sibling or cousin’s birthday.
The author provided files to print the caps, pins, and base, but you need to buy the bearings yourself.
The author used a full ceramic bearing for the center and other 9x26x8mm bearings as the weights.
Designed by: Nick Rimmer
And there you have it – all the fun and useful 3D printing ideas to help you understand the 3D printing process.
There are many cool things that you should check out on the internet, so look around and see if something catches your eyes.
At some point, you might even want to create your own design to solve your particular problem.
You can upload that and contribute to the ever-growing 3D printing community!