What Gets 3D Printed? [2024]


Have you ever wondered what can be created with a 3D printer? The possibilities are endless! From intricate jewelry designs to functional prosthetics, 3D printing has revolutionized the way we manufacture objects. In this article, we will explore the world of 3D printing and delve into the various products that can be brought to life with this innovative technology.

Table of Contents

Quick Answer

With a 3D printer, you can create a wide range of objects, including but not limited to:

  • Customized jewelry and accessories
  • Prototypes and models for product development
  • Functional tools and replacement parts
  • Architectural models and sculptures
  • Medical devices and prosthetics
  • Food items and confections

To explore the vast world of 3D printing, let’s dive deeper into the different types of products you can bring to life.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that transforms digital designs into physical objects.
  • Common 3D printing technologies include Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), Digital Light Processing (DLP), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).
  • 3D printers can use a variety of materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and even foodstuffs like cheese and chocolate.
  • The first 3D printer was invented by Charles W. Hull in the mid-1980s, and 3D Systems is a leading company in the industry.
  • The benefits of 3D printing include rapid prototyping, cost and material savings, and the ability to create complex geometries.

Background: The Evolution of 3D Printing

3D printer printing a vase

Before we delve into the products that can be 3D printed, let’s take a brief look at the history and evolution of this groundbreaking technology.

What Is 3D Printing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process that builds three-dimensional objects layer by layer. It starts with a digital design file, which is sliced into thin cross-sectional layers. The 3D printer then deposits or solidifies material layer by layer, following the instructions from the design file, until the final object is created.

How Does 3D Printing Work?

The specific process of 3D printing depends on the technology used. Here are some common techniques:

  1. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM): This popular 3D printing method uses a thermoplastic filament that is heated and extruded through a nozzle. The material is deposited layer by layer, gradually building the object.
  2. Stereolithography (SLA): SLA uses a liquid resin that is cured by a UV laser. The laser selectively solidifies the resin, creating the desired shape layer by layer.
  3. Digital Light Processing (DLP): Similar to SLA, DLP uses a liquid resin that is cured by a light source. However, instead of a laser, a digital projector projects an entire layer at once, speeding up the printing process.
  4. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): SLS involves using a high-powered laser to selectively fuse powdered material, such as plastic or metal, layer by layer. The unfused powder acts as support, allowing for complex geometries.

Who Invented 3D Printing?

The first 3D printer was invented by Charles W. Hull in the mid-1980s. Hull, the co-founder of 3D Systems, developed the Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) and introduced the concept of 3D printing to the world. Since then, the technology has evolved and expanded, revolutionizing various industries.

What Can You 3D Print?

Now that we have a better understanding of 3D printing, let’s explore the wide range of products that can be created using this technology.

Customized Jewelry and Accessories

With a 3D printer, you can design and create unique pieces of jewelry and accessories. From intricate necklaces and earrings to personalized phone cases and keychains, the possibilities are endless. You can experiment with different materials, colors, and textures to bring your vision to life.

Prototypes and Models for Product Development

One of the key advantages of 3D printing is its ability to rapidly prototype and iterate designs. Whether you’re an engineer, designer, or inventor, 3D printing allows you to quickly create physical models of your ideas. This enables you to test and refine your designs before moving on to mass production.

Functional Tools and Replacement Parts

Have you ever needed a specific tool or replacement part but couldn’t find it in stores? With a 3D printer, you can design and fabricate custom tools and replacement parts to meet your specific needs. From wrenches and clamps to brackets and gears, 3D printing empowers you to create functional objects tailored to your requirements.

Architectural Models and Sculptures

Architects and designers can utilize 3D printing to create intricate architectural models and sculptures. This technology allows for precise and detailed representations of buildings, landscapes, and other structures. It enables architects to communicate their designs effectively and bring their visions to life.

Medical Devices and Prosthetics

3D printing has revolutionized the medical field by enabling the production of customized medical devices and prosthetics. With the ability to create patient-specific implants and prosthetic limbs, 3D printing has improved the quality of life for many individuals. It offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for producing personalized medical solutions.

Food Items and Confections

Yes, you read that right! 3D printing has even made its way into the culinary world. With specialized food-grade 3D printers, chefs and confectioners can create intricate and artistic food items. From chocolate sculptures and cake toppers to customized cookies and pasta, 3D printing adds a touch of creativity to the culinary experience.

Where Can You Get a 3D Printer?

If you’re interested in exploring the world of 3D printing, you’ll need a 3D printer of your own. Fortunately, there are various options available for every budget and skill level.

You can purchase 3D printers from manufacturers, e-tailers, and specialized retailers. Some popular brands include Flashforge, Polaroid, LulzBot, XYZprinting, and Dremel. Each brand offers a range of models with different features and capabilities.

If you’re just starting, consider beginner-friendly models like the Flashforge Finder, Polaroid PlaySmart, LulzBot Mini 2, XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 2.0 Mix, or Dremel DigiLab 3D45.

What Software Do You Need for 3D Printing?

To create and prepare 3D models for printing, you’ll need specialized software. Here are some popular options:

  • Autodesk Fusion 360: A powerful 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE software that allows you to design, simulate, and fabricate your models.
  • Tinkercad: A beginner-friendly web-based software that lets you create 3D models using simple drag-and-drop tools.
  • Simplify3D: A professional-grade slicing software that optimizes your 3D models for printing and offers advanced customization options.
  • Cura: An open-source slicing software developed by Ultimaker, compatible with a wide range of 3D printers.

These software options provide a user-friendly interface and powerful tools to bring your ideas to life. Experiment with different software to find the one that suits your needs and preferences.

The Future of 3D Printing

As 3D printing continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more exciting advancements in the future. Here are some potential developments on the horizon:

  • Widespread Adoption: 3D printing is becoming more accessible and affordable, leading to increased adoption across industries and households.
  • Complex Creations: With advancements in materials and printing technologies, we can expect to see more intricate and complex 3D-printed objects.
  • Printable Electronics: Researchers are exploring the integration of electronic components into 3D-printed objects, opening up new possibilities for smart devices and wearables.
  • Space and Medical Applications: 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize space exploration and medical fields, enabling on-demand manufacturing and personalized solutions.

The future of 3D printing is bright, and we can’t wait to see what it holds!

Honest, Objective, Lab-Tested Reviews

At 3D Printed™, we take pride in providing honest and objective reviews of 3D printers and related products. Our team of experts thoroughly tests and evaluates each product to provide you with accurate and reliable information. Check out our detailed reviews and comparisons to make an informed decision.


a very large group of white cubes in a room

What types of products can be 3D printed?

A wide range of products can be 3D printed, including jewelry, prototypes, tools, architectural models, medical devices, and even food items.

Read more about “Are there limitations to 3D printing? …”

Why is 3D printing illegal?

3D printing itself is not illegal. However, there are certain legal and ethical considerations when it comes to 3D printing copyrighted or patented objects without permission.

Read more about “Why is 3D printing illegal?”

What is in high demand for 3D printing?

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for 3D-printed medical devices, customized consumer products, and prototypes for product development.

Read more about “Is 3D Printing a Good Thing? …”

What do you 3D print on?

3D printers can print on various materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and even food-grade materials.

Read more about “3D Printed Products in Demand …”


a black and white photo of a building

In conclusion, 3D printing opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to creating unique and customized objects. From jewelry and prototypes to tools and medical devices, the applications of 3D printing are vast and diverse. With the right 3D printer and software, you can bring your ideas to life and unleash your creativity.

If you’re ready to embark on your 3D printing journey, check out our recommended links for further reading and product options. Remember, the only limit is your imagination!


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