Last week we heard a story about a young man who 3D-printed a prosthetic hand for a young family friend who is missing fingers on one hand. Using a local library 3D printer, 16-year-old Mason Wilde was able to provide a custom prosthetic, all for free, by downloading plans on Thingiverse.
Thingiverse is an online community and sharing space hosted by the 3D printing company Makerbot. It’s a place to share electronic blueprints of pretty much anything that can be printed with a 3D printer, from toy figurines to birdhouses. And all the designs are open source and free, which is how Wilde was able to customize a working prosthetic for his 9-year-old family friend, Matthew.
Many of the thousands of designs on Thingiverse are just for fun, and some are just a bit impractical. Others, though, are incredibly innovative, and incredibly useful, designs that could change the way so many of us live. Here’s five awesome and useful designs found on Thingiverse:
1. 3D printable bottle and screw cap – It’s exactly what it sounds like. While it may be the simplest design on this list, it may be the most practical too.
2. Crossfire 2 – Crossfire 2 is a design for a DIY drone. You can 3D print all of the necessary frame pieces and necessary attachments for free. Of course you’ll have to supply a motor and camera. A nice alternative to most drones that cost at least four figures.
3. Left hand robot InMoov – InMoov is an animatronic, controllable robot hand. It’s a great combination of 3D printing tech and robotic tech. While maybe not practical in its current form, projects like InMoov are the first generation of fully functional DIY animatronics. Promising for filmmakers, robot-makers and creepy animatronics enthusiasts everywhere. InMoov has a whole catalog of animatronics and animatronics accessories.
4. Bird Feeder – A bird feeder: how simple, right? But who doesn’t want a mini-ecosystem thriving in their backyard? This bird feeder may be one of the great 3D printing projects that can actually compel you to get outside and away from your computer. It’s also one of the only 3D printing projects that might get your grandfather interested in computers.
5. Buckle – You know those plastic buckles on your backpack or suitcase you’re always breaking? Well, with a 3D printer and these blueprints from Proto3000 you can print yourself a brand new one, or a few, or as many as you want.