3D Printed Trinkets for The Holidays

I’m always looking for things I can make with my 3D printer and during the holidays it can be cool to make some things for friends and family vs buying something from the store. Last year I printed a Christmas stocking shape with family names on them and used them as the name tag on gifts. This year I’m printing a batch of stands for smart phones.

After searching Thingiverse I found a plain phone stand I could easily customize with some lettering.  You could also put a type of logo for the brand of phone they have. The software available for manipulating 3D objects has gone through a lot of iteration in the last year or 2 but it does help if you have some AutoCAD or Sketchup experience. If you are just getting started with 3D printing there is plenty of free software out there you can get your hand on. Windows 10 now comes with a 3D Builder program good enough to mess around with and Autodesk has a service called Autodesk 123D.

It’s important to keep in mind actual size vs relative size when tweaking a 3D object. My brother regularly makes digital assets for VR games and tried to make his own printable phone stand the same way he makes game assets. His phone stand looked cool but its actual size was only 4 mm when a functional phone stand needs to be around 30 mm to 50 mm.  The other thing to be aware of is what your printer is capable of when it comes of over hangs as some designs may require support structure to print correctly. When looking on Thingiverse for objects to print or other places online check the comments for tips on suggested print settings like layer height or infill density. Most 3D slicing programs can auto repair flaws in designs and add the supports. If you don’t have a printer of your own you could check out your local library, another maker in town, or even a UPS store.

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