3D printing may have reached every household, but there’s still time for it to take off as a design tool. Designers use printers today to validate concepts that will be mass produced using other, more traditional methods of manufacturing, but using the 3D printer as a basis to create designs is rare, and with Makerbot spearheading the movement, well worth the effort. To celebrate this year’s NYCxDesign, MakerBot hand-picked 17 New York City designers and put them to the test of designing and prototyping an object to improve daily life. Armed with a Makerbot Replicator and a few rolls of filament, the designers were given 5 weeks to create products that solve problems, showcase creativity, and champion the process of 3D printing. The results were put on display at Makerbot’s headquarters in Brooklyn and here are a few that stood out.
1. The Flyer Birdhouse by Nicholas Baker (above) is a simple yet contemporary birdhouse that can easily be fastened to utility poles via screws, nails, or zip-ties. Its design resembles traditional birdhouses, while transitioning into a curved surface that allows it to be fastened against the curved surface of a utility pole. Easy to install, the Flyer Birdhouse not only gives birds a place to stay, it also brightens up the neighborhood with its quirky yet alluring aesthetic!
2. The MUJI pen holder by James Connors turns penstand into pen-rack, hanging your pens on display, letting you easily pick one and begin writing right away. The cap can be docked on the side of the pen’s attachment, while the loop isn’t just for hanging, it’s perfect for looping around your finger and fidget-spinning too!
3. The Cup With a Hole Through It by Kyle Laidlaw is a great example of a product that champions 3D printing. The design can’t be produced using any traditional molding method other than 3D printing. The simple cup comes with a hole/channel running through it, allowing you to segregate the cup space into two halves, while the channel itself can be used to stash an item too. Perfect for the kitchen or bathroom, the cup also features a clever texture optimized for 3D printing that hides printing defects defects and is easy to clean and grip while wet!
4. The oVo Clip-on Wheels by Juhi Solanki features a clip and rotating wheels that make mounting and wheeling of printed foam-core boards easy. The clip and wheels are both made from PLA, a biodegradable thermoplastic capable of high tension, allowing the clip to flex and accommodate boards of varying thickness. The rotating wheels are designed in a single piece and have rotating parts that are created using print-in-place mechanics.
5. The 3DBK Wall Organizer by Will Haude is a universal hold-it-all storage system that lets you stash, place, hang, your belongings, as well as decorate your area with a touch of greenery. It features an easily installable cleat, an acoustic amplifier for your phone, slots to hold carabiners, and is modular to support hooks or trays.
6. The Super Hooks Adapter and Socket by Lizz Hill transforms your boring looking metal hooks into something more imaginative. The hooks are load-bearing, and are designed to look mythical/mystical and add a dash of wonder and excitement to an otherwise boring looking wall.
7.The BLADESNAP by Yuval Philipson gives a common blade a fresh avatar by not just giving it a handle that’s ergonomic and comfortable to hold, it also elevates the blade by integrating a simple blade-guard, and borrowing a spring from a pen to create a retracting mechanism for the blade, making an ordinary product easier to use and safer too.
8. The Dustpan & Brush Reimagined by Logan Good and Alyssa Burris is a rather inventive product that uses 3D printing’s intricacies as a design detail. The dustpan and brush plug into one another perfectly, but what’s incredible is the fact that the bristles on the brush are actually created through 3D printing too, and are integrated into the brush in a way that makes the entire brush a single-part product!
9. The Portable Photobooth by Deren Guler is a neat little mount that lets you click perfect overhead shots, making it a cheap yet great addition to your smartphone photography arsenal for your social media page. It mounts to your phone’s popsocket (if you have the accessory mounted to the back) to secure your phone in place and click images without your phone toppling over.
10. The Trouble Light by Dan Grossman models itself around a regular incandescent bulb and socket, turning rudimentary lighting fixture into a pretty neat torch that also doubles up as a night-light. The torch comes with a handle that fits perfectly into your grip, while the grill around the bulb can be used as a stand to mount the torch on the conical base, while the other end has the wire coming out of it that goes into a plug-point.
11. The Primitive Keychains by JungSoo Park and Adam Wrigley is printed around magnets, allowing your keychain to easily attach to metal surfaces around your house, eliminating the need to have a key-bowl or a key-rack. These tiny yet capable designs fit within your pocket quite comfortably, and stick to your fridge or metal doors just as easily too.
12. The Great American Clip Hanger (GACH) by Rama Chorpash combines several hangers together to turn them into one thicker superhanger that’s ideal for holding the shape of (and the weight of) blazers and jackets. The GACH works well with heavy jeans and strap dresses too, while giving a renewed life to cheap hangers that usually find their way into landfills.