The overall 3D printing market is growing rapidly in the industrial sectors. Growth rates range from 18% to 39% annually. This trend is expected to continue through 2030 and beyond. This growth has helped drive down the price of 3D printing technology, allowing the hobbyist segment of the market to take off. In 2020, the hobbyist segment was almost $1.7 billion. By 2030, the market is expected to grow to approximately $5.4 billion. This technological growth opens a new realm of practical and creative applications for hobbyists.

The useful items that a hobbyist may print include broken and missing parts around the home or office, customized items, decorations, props, and tools. The 3D printing hobbyist has a platform with the freedom to print products upon demand, including parts designed to user specifications. The popularity is not limited to hobbyists. Another fast-growing part of the hobbyist segment of the market is the student population. Already, 46% of college students majoring in engineering, computer science, and mathematics have worked with a 3D printer.

 The most popular type of hobbyist printer is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). FDM is easily the most popular 3D printing technology, followed by Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The most popularly printed materials include Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). PLA is generally recognized as the easiest material to print. Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG) has food-safe filaments available for projects that may come into contact with food.

Useful 3D Printed Items

Below are many of the more useful items that are being 3D printed:

  • Cell Phone Stand – These smartphone stands allow charging or positioning your phone for hands-free reading or a platform to watch videos.
  • Headphone Stand – This is a resting place for your headphones where they may be protected from accidental damage. They may also act as a base for charging. These stands can be customized to reflect your personality.
  • Camera Tripod – multiple components are printed and assembled to create an adjustable helpful item so you can position your camera or phone to take pictures or videos.
  • Cable Holder – For the technical hobbyist, cable organization is a must. A cable holder is an excellent tool for keeping cables organized in your workspace or home entertainment center.
  • Tool Hooks – Organization is not limited to cables. Tools hooks/holders allow easy access to tools ranging in sizes from wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers to rakes, shovels, and hoes.
  • Pen Holder – locating a pen or pencil can sometimes become an arduous task. A pencil/pen holder keeps your writing instruments organized and visible on your desk. As with most 3D-printed items, pencil holders can be customized. 
  • Universal Bottle Opener – This is a multi-functional tool to remove the lid off most bottles, pop rings on soda cans, and screw caps. This is a handy tool for the elderly.
  • Trash Bag Dispenser – Rather than fumbling around in a cabinet for a trash bag and pulling out half of the box, keep your trash bags handy with a dispenser that attaches to a wall or cabinet and easily dispenses trash bags.
  • Plant Tower – Plant Towers are printed segments that attach to form a tower for growing herbs, fruits, or vegetables. These towers are a space saver for the urban gardener or those with limited space.
  • Survival Whistle – These whistles can produce a deafening blast and are an excellent safety item for just about anywhere. Many of these whistles have a tough, rugged design.
  • Hairdryer or Curling Iron Holder – These haircare tools are used by most women and should be stored for convenient access.
  • Under Desk Drawer – These organizers are suitable for storing office items so you can keep your desk clean.
  • Smart Phone "Speaker" (Sound Amplifier) - This is a passive amplifier to improve the sound from a smartphone.
  • Bee Feeder – This honeycomb-structured tray helps to boost the bee population. The tray makes it easy for bees to land for a drink of water. A plastic water bottle attaches to the feeder to keep the bees hydrated for days.
  • Puzzle Boxes – Puzzle boxes are a great place to hide valuables and make great gift boxes.
  • Toothpaste Squeezer – These devices allow you to squeeze every bit of toothpaste from the tube.
  • Door Stop – This device allows you to prop open your door or act as additional security in case your door is kicked in. A softer material is advised to help "grab" the floor to secure the door stop.
  • Filament Clamp - This small clip clamp keeps the filament's loose end on the spool from unraveling and creating a mess.
  • Raspberry Pi Case - The Raspberry Pi is a popular electronic item for computer enthusiasts. It is a powerful device similar to a PC in a small package. These devices are often used for automation and can get in the way after they are used; the case helps protect a valuable item.
  • USB and SD Card Storage – If you have a personal computer, you probably struggle with keeping track of your USB sticks and SD cards. These organizers help keep you organized. 
  • Sanding Block - This block allows you to attach sandpaper. The block can be scaled to accommodate different sizes. Many models have ergonomic handle designs.
  • Battery Dispenser – Another storage organizer for all common battery size
  • Various Appliance and Household Items – below are a few examples.
    • Keyboard replacement leg
    • Knobs
    • Handles
    • Appliance parts
    • Water faucet replacement handle
    • Replacement handle for lawn mower pull start
    • Toilet flush handle
    • Wheel for outdoor grill
    • Customized container tops (i.e., Sugar, Salt, Flour)
    • Etc.
  • Kitchen Items – Some commonly printed kitchen items include:
    • Garlic Press
    • Measuring cups and spoons
    • Juicer
    • Spaghetti gauge
    • Bagel Slicer
    • Cookbook Holder
    • Knife Sheathes
    • Utensils
    • Utensil hangers
    • Wine bottle holder
    • Drink can dispenser
    • Cookie Cutter
    • Coffee carafe lid

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