3D printing is gaining more momentum and popularity than ever! Designers and architects around the world are now adopting 3D printing for the creation of almost all types of products and structures. It is a widely used technique in product design, due to its simple and innovative nature. But designers aren’t just using 3D printing to create basic models, they’re also using this technique in mind-blowing ways! From an electric violin with a 3D printed body to a pair of 3D printed shoes that will make you feel like Bigfoot – the reach of this reliable technique is limitless! Dive into this collection of humble yet groundbreaking 3D printed designs.

1. Karen Ultralight Electric Violin

While the name Karen Ultralight Electric Violin might not be the best nickname for this instrument, it’s definitely the genre 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 this remarkable?

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

What we like

  • Uses a popular design technique called generative design
  • A slot in 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 in your ear.

What we don’t like

2. The Cryptid sneaker

Sintratec Cryptid 3D sneaker

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

Why is this remarkable?

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

What we like

  • Size and shape can adapt to wearer’s foot
  • They remind us of the Adidas Futurecraft 4D!

What we don’t like

  • They are not highly regarded in terms of aesthetics and style
  • Shoes will leave weird footprints

3. Weaver+

We|aver+ or Weaver+, for example, 3D prints something akin to knitted fabric, except it uses elastic TPU as the material. The shoes he prints actually look more like chainmail than conventional fabric, and for good reason.

Why is this remarkable?

The hollow-loose knit structure gives the shoes the flexibility to support children’s growing feet. At the same time, however, the shoe also provides stable support to ensure that the heels do not lose their flexibility over the long term.

What we like

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

What we don’t like

4. The Vine Collection

The Vine collection includes a vase-shaped vessel, dish tray, basket, and bowl that resemble a series of twisted wooden rods to create pleasing curves and shapes. No additional adhesives or connecting pieces were used to finish their shapes, ensuring the products were durable and recyclable from start to finish.

Why is this remarkable?

The twisted shapes testify to the capabilities of Forust’s 3D printer, but they also serve as metaphors for the organic nature of the trees that eventually become base materials for these products.

What we like

  • The technology actually makes it possible to recreate the appearance of different grains of wood, including those of endangered trees.

What we don’t like

5. The Blizzfosser

Suitable for everyone’s interdental crevices, the Blizzflosser is the brainchild of Chris Martin who has already made us fans with the oddly productive sponge toothbrush.

Why is this remarkable?

The Blizzflosser comes with a soft wire lined to suit everyone’s prosthesis. It is washable and reusable. The gear-aligned flosser is thin to slide into the spaces between the teeth and won’t hurt the gums. Getting one tailored to you is simple; Blizzbrush sends you a special double-sided paste tray that you bite into to leave approximately 5mm deep impressions of your upper and lower dentures. You then take photos of your production and send them to the company who, based on the images, customizes and 3D prints a complete dental floss for you.

What we like

  • Replicates manual flossing techniques

What we don’t like

  • People used to flossing may not like this new technique

6. Mini pouches

These mini pouches are obviously 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 this remarkable?

Ironically, it is costlier and more expensive to produce complicated designs like these in small quantities. These kelp-inspired fashion accessories, however, are not only intricate but also durable, and they’re made possible by another marvel of human ingenuity, the 3D printer.

What we like

  • Organic models are based on 3D scans of natural topologies from kelp collected from the Malibu coast of California
  • The voids created by the patterns not only allow you to have a slight view of what’s inside the bag, but also make it lighter

What we don’t like

7. Otrivin Air Lab’s 3D printed products

Mother Nature already has her own tiny air purifiers, and not only can we use them to clean the air, but we can also harvest them to create products that won’t harm the planet. This is the proposition that the interactive exhibition Otrivin Air Lab in Londo tries to present, and it encourages visitors not only to observe the process, but to actively participate in it. The space is enclosed in a light, reversible wooden structure, and one of the walls houses twelve “photobioreactors”. These are large glass containers filled with ten liters of live photosynthetic microalgae that absorb CO2 and release oxygen while producing biomass. Every day, this wall can absorb 240 g of CO2 and spit out 180 g of oxygen as well as 84 g of biomass.

Why is this remarkable?

Visitors to the lab can take part in the daily harvesting of this biomass product which is then transformed into bioplastics, bio-rubbers and 3D printing filaments. These raw materials can then be used to create biodegradable and sustainable products, such as vases and even stools. Some might find this a bit unsettling, but the fact that you’re sitting on what’s practically CO2 and air pollution should give you some power. We may not be able to completely eliminate impure 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, which collaborated on this exhibit, will use this process to create its Fibonacci NetiPot nasal sprays.

What we don’t like

8. The polyformer

The Polyformer sounds interesting right off the bat, and its name sounds like something pulled from fictional literature. Its translucent white appearance is due to the fact that it is made from recycled PET plastic bottles, giving it a look that also matches its purpose.

Why is this remarkable?

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

What we like

  • Offers an alternative to the traditional way of recycling PET bottles
  • The designer has made available all the necessary information to recreate it yourself

What we don’t like

9. Inclined brackets

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

Why is this remarkable?

While each helmet mount is 3D printed (and you can even see the lines on some of them), they also contain an amazing amount of detail. Take for example the Chewbacca headphone stand just below. Indeed, Angled partners with designers and artists to release new variations and models online. Artists create detailed models that are approved by the Angled team based on size, proportions and their ability to be printed without any flaws/errors. Once a design is approved by the Angled team, it travels to their store and for each sale the artist receives a commission.

What we like

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

What we don’t like

10. Wabo

Wabo is a collection of handboards created from plastic waste from 3D printed prototyping. Eight million pieces of plastic end up in the ocean every day. That’s a lot of plastic. While some brands are engaging in fancy sustainable practices that have more to do with marketing than carbon-neutral manufacturing, other brands are learning how to make something out of the plastic waste they produce.

Why is this remarkable?

Multidisciplinary design studio Uido Design is a studio known for its catalog of 3D printable product designs and its team does something about the waste they produce during the design process. Shredding the plastic waste produced from 3D printing into pieces, Uido Design uses the waste to create handboards that allow users to surf the waves of the ocean.

What we like

  • Hand boards are made by hand

What we don’t like

  • Not a necessary product, but still fun!