In this article, I’m going to share over 11 3D Prints that are actually useful – or at least, gifts that you won’t be embarrassed to give to your friends, family, or coworkers, whether it’s for Christmas, Hanukkah, a birthday, or any other occasion.
Let’s dive in!
What Are The Best Personalized 3D Printed Gifts?
Without further ado, here is my full list, based solely on models I have personally created or printed:
1. Nespresso Wall Rack
Alright, let’s start the list off with a really useful one, and one of the prints that honestly gets the most compliments from guests in my home.
In fact, some guests have liked this one so much, they’ve actually asked me to print them out a set.
And the cool thing about these is, they print so fast, you can actually have them ready for your guests by the time they leave!
Now, I don’t know about you, but where I live, everyone has these Nespresso machines, but the thing is, they often store their capsules in a lame bowl or in the ugly cartons they come in.
These Nespresso wall racks come in a few different variants, including one that allows for magnets, so people can mount them on metal cabinets.
Personally, I just hot-glued these to the inside of my cabinet doors, using that battery-operated hot glue gun I talked about in my tools for 3d printing series.
I love these, and they really level up my coffee experience in the morning.
And with most of us so severely addicted to Caffeine that we hit the cup two or even three times a day, your loved ones are sure to think of you often as they go for their fix.
2. A 3D Printing Coupon!
OK, the last one was a really practical one, so now, let’s do one that is a bit silly, but still really useful for your friends and family.
It’s a 3D printed coupon, for 3D printing. So meta.
Basically, you can 3D print these out if you don’t have time to print a gift (or you just forgot), and give them to your friends.
They serve as IOUs, and that way, you don’t waste time printing something that they may not like.
3. 3D Printed Chess Sets
Remember a couple of years ago, when we were all locked indoors during COVID, and The Queen’s Gambit was all the rage?
Well, did you know that during that time, according to the research firm NBD group, unit sales of chess sets jumped 87% in the U.S? And why not?
I mean, even if many of those people got over it once they were able to, you know, go outside again, a nice chess set makes for a beautiful piece of home decoration that subtly but assertively tells visitors “I’m smarter than you.”
Fortunately, with our 3D printers, we can make truly incredible chess pieces, or even entire chess sets, that simply wouldn’t be possible with more expensive mediums like metal, marble, or wood.
Check out this organic set, for example.
Best of all, if you read my article on 3D printing hardware to keep on hand, then you already have various types of weights and magnets on hand, meaning that you can make the pieces feel ultra-premium, and even stick to the board, like the absolute finest of chess sets.
Chess is definitely a gift that only adults can appreciate – but let’s balance that out with one for kids.
Did you know that you can print out Lego pieces quickly and easily, both in the toddler-friendly DUPLO versions, and in the regular variant?
Personally, I was really shocked to realize just how expensive LEGO has become considering they’re just blocks of injection-molded ABS, but honestly, cutting costs isn’t the only consideration.
What’s cool about printing LEGO blocks is the same thing that’s cool about 3D printing as a whole – the ability to customize and create unique things that aren’t available in stores.
You could, for example, print the LEGO blocks that you know have already been lost, swallowed, or stepped on – and I’m sure that’s a lot.
You could print the blocks out of materials that Lego can’t or won’t offer, such as rainbow transition filament, glow-in-the-dark filament, and so on.
And even cooler, you can print parts that literally don’t exist.
My 2 year old son, for example, LOVES the LEGO Duplo I bought him, but whenever he makes a creation, he wants to carry it over to me to show me, and 9 times out of 10, he breaks or drops it on the way, resulting in a lot of tears and hasty reconstruction on my part.
So instead, I printed him these giant base plates, which to my knowledge are not even available in these sizes, that he can build directly on top of.
They’re super fast prints, and now, when he wants to show me his new creations, it’s as easy as picking up this base plate.
The sky is the limit, and there are all kinds of files available online, including OpenSCAD libraries that let you generate your own custom variants.
5. Planetary phone holder
If you’re really not sure what gift to give someone, maybe because you don’t know them all that well, have no fear, because the one thing you can comfortably assume is that they, like all of us, are addicted to their phone enough to look at it 150 or so times per day.
And as I mentioned at the beginning of this list with the Nespresso capsule holder, feeding someone’s addiction is a great way to make sure they actually like your gift, and maybe even you by proxy.
Enter this awesome Planetary gear phone stand.
Sure, there are a lot of phone stand designs out there, including pocket ones that fold down and go in your wallet, but honestly, none of them strike me as unique enough to make a useful 3d print you would be proud to hand someone as a gift, except this one and a few like it.
Just a word of caution, though, this design is not available for free, and you will have to pay $3.90 at the time of this writing to purchase the design files, but considering your only other cost is a little bit of filament, I think that this gift definitely still punches above its weight when it comes to price vs. reception.
6. Toilet Timer
Now that we’ve acknowledged the hard truth that we are all hopelessly addicted to our smartphones, let’s acknowledge another hard truth.
Nowhere is this more apparent than when we’re sitting on the toilet.
Come on, get over yourself and admit it: you’ve definitely caught yourself zoning off on the internet so long that you forget you’ve been sitting on the toilet for a solid 30 minutes. In fact, I’m willing to bet that at least 20 percent of you are literally on the toilet right now.
Well, pinch it off, junior!
Toilet humor out of the way, there’s a fun, fast, and silly print we can give our friends and family: the toilet timer!
Beyond being a genuinely good laugh due to it’s design, this also has a pretty ingenious design.
It uses salt, plus a spare desiccant pack from your filament, and packing tape to achieve it’s effect – without the need to cut acrylic or glass.
It’s sure to get a laugh, so I recommend that if you’re going to give one away, you print out a bunch of them, and set up a little assembly line on your workspace.
7. Self Defense Keychain
This innocuous little cat keychain is very cute – so cute that most of the women I know would proudly display it on their keychain, especially in this fancy silk pink PLA.
But what you may not realize, is that this keychain doubles as a semi-lethal weapon.
Simply stick your ring and index fingers through the eyes, grip on to the chin as a handle, and you have the ultimate thug-basher.
It’s sharp – sharp enough to do some serious damage, frankly, and if you want, you can even print it in carbon fiber nylon.
I give these away to all of the women in my life, and I’ve been told they feel much safer walking around with it at night clutched in their hands.
Print off a bunch of these, and hand them out, and maybe, together, we can get a few women out of some very bad situations unscathed.
8. Piggy Bank
While we have the silk pink PLA out, let’s lighten up the mood, and talk about another one of the prints I’ve given away most consistently: this awesome 2-piece piggy bank.
Coming in 3 different sizes, it’s great for newborns, kids, or even adults, and it stores a good chunk of change!
It’s not a fast print, by any means, but the design is just so cool, And literally every single person I’ve given one to has absolutely loved it.
Pro tip: because these are such a universally cool and beloved gift, I usually print off extras when my printers aren’t otherwise occupied, and keep them kicking around.
That way, when a friend unexpectedly invites me to their kid’s birthday party, I’ve got a gift already ready!
9. Custom Guitar Picks
Here’s another 3D printed gift that is so easy to do, but has gotten some major responses from the musical people in my life – custom guitar picks!
To make this happen, all you need to do is generate some text or initials in Blender or any other design software, and then add it into the design in your slicer.
You could add the text as embossing by changing the filament at a specific layer, but I chose to set up a mock dual-extruder setup in PrusaSlicer, and print each part in a different virtual extruder.
This meant that I had to sit next to the printer and change the filament in the middle of the first layer, but the finished product was simply awesome, and by the way, this is a great way to customize any of the gifts on this list and give them that premium “made for you” feel.
I gave one of these to a kid in my son’s daycare who is extremely musical, and his mom was soo moved, she actually went out and had it framed. It’s now hanging in his bedroom!
10. Custom Planters
If the custom guitar picks are too “small,” or if you just want to add another gift to make your completed present seem a little more substantial, I highly recommend searching through Printables or Thingiverse and finding a custom planter.
I’ve talked a lot about 3D printed planters in previous lists, such as my 50+ useful things you didn’t know you could 3D print, and it’s because I just love how they turn out.
I mean, think about it, you can imagine your friend’s house, and pick out the exact room that you think needs an extra plant.
Then, you can print out a planter in the exact color – and design – that matches that room.
No more giving them a lame, generic ceramic planter that they will bring out only when you visit, and tuck away any time you’re not around.
With this gift, they’ll know that you custom-tailored the gift to their home or office, based on your knowledge of their tastes and preferences, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what makes the absolute best received gifts?
11. Game and Movie Props
This is such a big, broad category, that I simply couldn’t whittle it down to just one or two prints.
Like I mentioned a moment ago, the best gifts come from adapting the gift to the recipient, and when it comes to doing that, 3D printing makes it easy.
Say, for example, your friend or loved one is a huge Marvel fan…
No worries! Just print out this awesome Spiderman bust, or maybe this deadpool one, or an iron man wall decoration…
You could even print them out a complete iron man helmet, if you really like them.
Or maybe they’re a kid, and they’re obsessed with Among Us, Roblox, or any other game kids are into these days.
And these gifts aren’t just for kids, either.
I know more than a few adults who would go nuts over a custom-made Harry Potter wand in their own favorite colors, especially if it used Wood or dual-extrusion filaments, like the ones I covered in my list of unique and exotic filaments.
The sky is the limit here, so simply think about what exactly it is that your friend is always talking your ear off about, hit the search button on Printables or Thingiverse, and revel in their appreciation at how thoughtful a gift you made them!