With Christmas coming up, we know gifts are on your mind!
This year, instead of buying people gift cards, which are boring and uncreative, you could 3D print your gifts.
3D-printed gifts are very inexpensive, especially if you already have a 3D printer. And this is something everybody’s wallets love to hear!
But besides their lower price, 3D-printed gifts are also more thoughtful than a gift card, phone charger, or another generic gift. There are literally millions of different 3D printable models you can choose from. Or, if you want to show even more thought in your gift, you can custom-design a model for a person and 3D print it!
What 3D printable gift you should choose is completely dependent on the needs and desires of the person receiving the gift. It could be a camping tripod, a fidget spinner, a custom keychain, or even a piece of jewelry!
I’ve scoured the biggest 3D model repositories and have compiled a list of the best 3D printable models that you can gift to someone. In the sections below, I’ve split the different models into a few different categories based on who they would be the best gifts for.
And, don’t worry if you don’t have a 3D printer. If you want 3D-printed gifts, you can always utilize a 3D printing service, such as Shapeways or Sculpteo. Feel free to check out our article all about the best 3D printing services to learn more.
Table of Contents
- 3D Printed Gifts:
- 3D Printed Gifts for Kids:
- 3D Printed Gifts for Friends
- 3D Printed Gifts for Occasions:
- Is 3D Printing Gifts Cheaper Than Buying Them?
- Best 3D Printers for Gifts:
3D Printed Gifts:
Our first category is for generic 3D-printed gifts. These options make for great gifts for basically anyone, no matter their relation, gender, or age!
First up, 3D-printed remote control projects make for the perfect gifts, especially for the people in your life who love a good DIY project. There are tons of different options when it comes to remote control (RC) designs because most RC cars, boats, and planes have a bunch of different components.
Moreover, you could gift someone a generic RC design, such as an RC car frame. Or you could go a little more specific and 3D print them a motor housing or electronic board holder that’s specific to their existing RC setup.
But what I find works best as a gift is 3D printing someone all of the 3D printable parts for an RC project so that they can use the parts you gave them to build something. For example, you could 3D print out all of the parts for the OpenRC F1 Car project or the OpenRC Quadcopter project and give them to a DIY enthusiast friend of yours!
Another great 3D printable gift is the pieces for a drone. Drones have become very popular in the past few years, and there are tons of 3D printable drone parts, including frames, board housings, and camera mounts.
If the person you’re gifting doesn’t have a drone, 3D printing parts for building a drone might be a good idea. This set of parts for a CineWhoop 3 and this 3D-printed T4 Quadcopter kit are great options.
Everyone loves going outside, so 3D-printed outdoor accessories are naturally a great gift for anyone on your list.
There are tons of different directions you could take this option, and I’d recommend finding a niche within outdoor activities to base your gifts around. For example, if your cousin loves skiing, look for (or design) 3D printable outdoor accessories that are specific to skiing.
Below, I’ve listed a few of the best outdoor accessories you can 3D print and gift to people:
Jewelry is often considered the best gift to give to someone, especially a woman. But, whether you’re gifting a guy or girl, if you think they’d like a piece of jewelry, then definitely consider 3D printing it.
There are a few different options when it comes to 3D printing jewelry. The easiest method is to just 3D print the piece in a normal 3D printing material, like PLA or ABS, and then paint and polish the model before gifting it.
However, the more professional approach would be to 3D print your jewelry piece, create a wax mold around it, and then fill the mold with precious molten metal, like silver or gold.
Unless you’re making a gift that matters a lot, like your wife’s 50th-anniversary gift, I suggest going with the former, easier method because the professional route can get very expensive. But it also depends on the fashion sense of the person you’re gifting; maybe they really like resin jewelry!
There are tons of 3D printable jewelry designs available in 3D model repositories. For necklaces, this dolphin pendant, this snowflake pendant, and this set of bubble jewelry pieces are all great picks. And, for rings, this organically-designed ring, this standard ring, and this “Hatch Flow” ring all look amazing.
Display items are any model that you would put on display, such as a trophy, piece of art, or anything else that you (or the person you’re gifting) value a lot. You can 3D print certain display items, and they make for great gifts, especially if you know the person you’re gifting is in dire need of stuff to put up around their office or house.
The best 3D-printed display item gifts depend on what the person you’re gifting likes. But some good all-around options include this World’s Best Boss mug (from The Office), this Megladon tooth design, this unique vase design, and this Darth Vader bust.
Our last option in this section is kitchen gadgets, which include anything that can help with cooking or organizing the kitchen space. Kitchen gadgets, while a little bit cliche, make for great gifts for basically anyone because most people have a kitchen.
There are tons of different 3D printable kitchen items to choose from. But, if the person you’re gifting has any specific kitchen interests or needs, then use that information to pick the best model. For example, if your coworker mentioned that their kitchen is a mess, look for 3D printable kitchen organizers, like a spice rack or cutlery separator.
Below, I’ve listed some more examples:
3D Printed Gifts for Kids:
In the sections below, I’ve gone over some terrific 3D printable gift options for kids, whether your own children, nieces, and nephews, or your neighbor’s kids!
Toys & Figurines
If you’re gifting kids, a toy or figurines is basically a surefire way to make sure you’re the favorite dad, uncle, or family friend. And there are literally thousands of 3D printable toys and figurines to choose from.
Perhaps the most hit option today is 3D printable fidgets. There’s nothing that entertains kids more than a good ol’ 3D-printed fidget spinner or fidget cube. On top of you winning the hearts of these kids, they’ll also be distracted for at least 15 minutes.
Another option is to gift 3D-printed figurines, and this is especially a good idea if the person you’re gifting is into tabletop games or loves a certain movie, TV show, or video game. Some good options include this Dungeons & Dragons character piece, this set of fantasy figurines, and this Batman figurine.
Besides toys, 3D-printed games are another great gift for kids and will also win their hearts through entertainment. Like with toys, there are many 3D printable games you can choose, but sticking with classics, like a chess set or a Kendama, is always a safe bet. I’ve also found this balance game to be tons of fun!
And, if you want to inspire a little mischief, this 3D printable catapult will definitely do the trick.
3D Printed Gifts for Friends
Our next category is gifts for friends. These gifts include keychains, gadgets, and tools and are a little more useful rather than sentimental.
First, in our section for gifts for friends, we’ve got keychains because who doesn’t love a little pendant that hangs off their backpack or keys?
There are tons of different keychain designs online, so you have many options! If you want a unique gift idea, I recommend choosing an artsy design, such as this geared heart keychain.
And, if the person you’re gifting is a 3D printing enthusiast, then this mini filament keychain is perfect! I’m also obsessed with this functional propeller keychain! And this snowflake pendant looks spectacular on a keychain!
If you know your gift recipient is big into a certain movie series or video game, you could get them a keychain that fits their interest. For example, if they like Star Wars, this Millenium Falcon keychain or this Stormtrooper helmet pendant are all thoughtful gift ideas!
And, if you really want to make your keychain gift thoughtful, you could customize it. Not many 3D models are easily customizable, but this text keychain is compatible with Thingiverse’s Customizer app. Moreover, you can change the text on the keychain to make it custom to the person you’re gifting.
Gadgets & Accessories
Sometimes it can be hard to find a gift for a friend that’s not too generic but also not too sentimental. But 3D printed gadgets and accessories make for the perfect gifts for friends because they’re actually useful!
A 3D-printed gadget or accessory could be anything from a special phone stand or whistle to a handheld fan or mechanical wallet. Below, I’ve listed some super cool 3D printable gadgets and accessories that you can use as gifts:
- Folding Phone Stand
- Cascade Wallet (like the Ridge Wallet)
- 3D Scanner Assembly
- Loud Whistle
- Apple Watch Stand
- Press for Heated Inserts
- Beer Counter and Bottle Opener
3D printed tools are yet another terrific gift option for friends, providing a lot of utility while also showing you thought about the person specifically instead of just getting a gift card.
There are tons of 3D printable tools and tool accessories available online, including screwdrivers, calipers, Dremel attachments, and more. I suggest getting some info about the person you’re giving the gift to and finding out what tool would be most useful for them.
For example, if your friend’s birthday is coming up and you notice that their bike is broken, getting them a bike tool, like a lockring removal tool, is a good idea.
Some popular 3D printable tool designs are below:
- Rotary Tool Stabilizer (for Dremel)
- Centering Tool
- Handheld Sanding Tool
- 3D Printer Nozzle Removal Tool
- Parallel Marking Tool
- Handheld Drill Bit Screwdriver
- USB Mini Drill Project
3D Printed Gifts for Occasions:
Our last category is 3D-printed gifts for occasions. These gifts are meant for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions that would require decorations or gifts.
For every special occasion, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or another special occasion, there’s always a sign that you can 3D print and gift. Honestly, when I’m stumped on a gift for someone, I always use a sign as a backup.
It could be a simple sign that read, “Happy Birthday Joe”. Or it could be a more specialized one that has a unique shape and says something more specific, like “Happy 51st Johnny!”. Typically the latter needs to be custom-designed, but you can find many simplistic sign 3D models online.
Decorations are the key to making every holiday a blast for all your family and friends. 3D printed decorations are very popular and are perfect gifts to give to someone looking to spice up their workspace or home for a certain holiday.
On any large 3D model repository, you can find tons of different decorations meant for special occasions, whether it’s Christmas, Easter, a birthday, New Year’s, or another big event!
Some examples of 3D printable decorations that you can gift include the following:
Finally, we’ve got cosplay items. Cosplay items are 3D printed models, including masks, armor pieces, and (fake) weapons, that are meant for costumes. Usually, cosplay items are designed after a character from a movie, TV show, or video game, and they make great gifts for special occasions, such as a comic-con conference or a themed birthday party.
If you’re going to gift a cosplay item to a person, you should first find out what movie or video game characters they like, such as Batman, the Joker, the Mandalorian, or someone else!
Once you’ve figured that out, you can find a 3D printable cosplay model on any of the big repositories that fit the interest of your gift recipient. Or, if you can’t find the right cosplay model, you can custom-design one, such as a pair of gauntlets or a special (fake) laser blaster.
Below are some examples of cosplay items that make for excellent gifts:
- Iron Man MK6 Suit
- Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmet
- Batman Bat-a-Rang
- Mandalorian Rifle
- Yoda’s Lightsaber
Is 3D Printing Gifts Cheaper Than Buying Them?
Moreover, the marginal cost of a 3D printed gift is usually just a few cents because of how inexpensive 3D printing filament (or resin) is. This is a lot less than the typical cost of a traditionally-manufactured gift because you’re not paying for any company’s profit margins or any shipping expenses.
However, if you don’t already have a 3D printer, then you’ll need to 3D print a few gifts to make the cost per gift lower than if you just bought the gifts online. That’s because buying a 3D printer is a relatively-high fixed cost, and making more gifts will split the cost in more ways to make the purchase worth it.
Best 3D Printers for Gifts:
If you’re going to be 3D printing gifts for people, then you’ll need an adequate 3D printer.
Obviously, a super high-performance machine isn’t necessary, but something that’s decently reliable and offers good print quality would be nice.
In the sections below, I’ve gone over three of the best 3D printers for printing gifts. These machines are also just overall good for 3D printing in general, so definitely take a look!
Creality Ender 3 V2
First up, we have the Creality Ender 3 V2, easily one of the best 3D printers to ever be made. Released in 2020, the Ender 3 V2 is an i3-style 3D printer with an aluminum extrusion frame, which helps with lowering the cost (under $300).
But what makes the Ender 3 V2 so amazing, especially compared to the original Ender 3, is the number of small features on the machine that contribute to the performance and usability of the printer. For example, Creality added a tool drawer, extruder knob, and belt tensioners on the Ender 3 V2.
The printer also has a decently-large build space of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, which should be more than enough for your small and mid-size gift prints. Plus, you can print in PLA, ABS, and PETG due to the 260 °C max nozzle temperature of the Ender 3 V2.
Personally, the Ender 3 V2 is my favorite printer from my farm, and I strongly recommend it if you’re looking to start 3D printing gifts.
Elegoo Mars 3
When it comes to resin 3D printing, it’s hard to beat the Elegoo Mars 3. For just above $200, the Elegoo Mars 3 offers you insane 4K resolution 3D printing. This means 3D prints made on the Mars 3 have detail equal to 4K pixel resolution, which is insane; just check out the example prints below, which were made on the Mars 3:
Besides its print quality abilities, though, the Elegoo Mars 3 is an overall great machine for making gifts. Its build volume measures 143.43 x 89.6 x 175 mm, which is relatively small but definitely enough for making small, detailed gifts, like jewelry.
Just be prepared to spend some time post-processing your prints because SLA models need to be washed and cured even after the Mars 3 finishes printing them. But if you want to print detailed 3D models and need a budget-friendly machine, the Elegoo Mars 3 is perfect!
Creality Ender 5 Pro
The Ender 5 Pro follows a Cartesian frame structure, making the 3D printer a lot more stable than its i3 counterparts, like the Ender 3. And, because it’s more stable and uses a different belt motion system, prints are known to come out better on the Ender 5 Pro.
Additionally, because it’s the Pro version, this 3D printer has an all-metal extruder, meaning printing will be a lot more reliable, and you won’t have to worry about extrusion issues. Plus, it’s got a built-in silent motherboard to lower the noise level of 3D printing.
So, if you need a printer for making gifts and want to spend the extra money to get features like silent printing and reliable extrusion, definitely go with the Ender 5 Pro.
Easily one of the best uses of a 3D printer is for making gifts. They save you a ton of money come the holiday season. And 3D printing enables you to make special or custom-designed gifts that are a lot more thoughtful than store-bought items!
There’s no single 3D print that will be a good gift for everyone on your list. But you do have many options – millions of options, actually!
The best 3D printed gift for someone depends on who they are, their interests and hobbies, and how you know them.
For some generic gift options that will work for a wide variety of people, 3D-printed outdoor accessories, jewelry, and kitchen items work great! This could include a 3D printed tripod, planter pot, ring, necklace pendant, spice rack, or a bag clip.
If you’ve got kids on your gift list, whether your own or relatives, then 3D-printed toys and games, like a fidget spinner or board game piece, will be perfect and very entertaining.
And, finally, for friends, like work colleagues or high-school besties, customized 3D printed keychains, gadgets (e.g. phone stands), and tools work great!