Is there anything more frustrating than needing a very specific tool to finish a fix or a project, only to discover that you can’t get it in time?
In this article I’m going to share with you my top 3D printed tools, as well as tips for printing them, what they’re used for and why I love them so much.
Ready? Then Let’s dive in into the full list.
What Are The Best 3D Printed Tools?
Here is my list of the top 23 3D printed tools that you should create this year:
Let’s start out with these unassuming little guys because they have a really cool story and they actually beautifully articulate why 3D printing is so cool and so unique for creating tools.
These are called bench dogs, and where I live, I don’t have a lot of space to do work and projects, so I have this great folding table from Stanley Fatmax.
The only problem is this a folding table. Tables like that you would use for work on wood or other projects are made in America and therefore they have imperial measurements. I live in Israel. Nothing has imperial measurements, and so I had no way of finding these bench dogs.
I tried to find them online and they were like 30 or $40 for a few pieces of plastic plus shipping from abroad For a while.
I used different pipes or dowels and just jammed them in. Then I got a 3D printer, and now I can run off as many of them as I want, and they fit perfectly.
2. Speed Square
Here’s another tool you never knew you needed. It is called a speed square or a carpenter square.
I originally discovered this because I just needed a perfect 90 degree angle for being able to draw straight And get perfectly square cuts of wood.
But then I discovered a speed square and it turns out this has way more uses than just that.
Now, check out YouTube on this because there are tutorials and I only know about half of the features.
If you wanted to get a 45 degree, You can do that if you wanted to get various different angles, but one of my favorite ways to use it is actually for marking out pieces of wood.
For example, if I want a four centimeter strip, I can use this punch right into four centimeters here, and then use that flat edge to just draw across the piece with a sharper pencil than this. And get a four centimeter marking.
You can print them in PETG because you will knock them off the table.
Here’s one that’s absolutely essential.
If you like me, are a Gridfinity acolyte and love to keep your screws super organized.
You know how when you finish a project you have all these loose screws kicking around and some that you didn’t use?
Well, this tool basically lets you measure exactly what diameter and what length they are incredibly quickly so that you can put them back in their rightful place right away.
Now this tool is cool and all, but there’s actually a new and improved version that I have not yet printed out, which will also measure the nuts and bolts for you, and also your washers all in one panel.
By the way, it probably goes without saying, but changing the color of the filament right way through the print at the appropriate layer is something you can do in your slicer, and you definitely should do so that you can actually read the lettering on this thing.
4. Fillet Gauge
This is another tool that you need to print with two different colors of filament, but which you will find endless uses for. Given how small it is, it’s a surprisingly useful print, and it is called a fillet gauge.
Now, I didn’t know what a fillet was besides something that you put on the barbecue, but it turns out that a fillet is a rounded corner.
If you want to design things that would stuff other objects, such as a phone, or try to create a bracket for your keyboard or mouse or anything else that has a rounded corner in your life, you are going to need to know what the radius of that fillet is.
And this tool does exactly that in seconds.
If you do enough designing in your day-to-day life, you can actually download a key chain version of this, which is much smaller.
Next, lets talk about battery holders.
For my Makita drills, these are really, really great. I printed them off in basic PLA, I have spots for charged batteries and batteries that are not charged.
I actually even managed to find a holder for my Makita charger, which allows me to mount the charger here, and I printed a nice little cable wrap.
But what’s cool about this is I can pop the charger off at any time. If I want to take it mobile, it pops right out, pops back in, and I have my Makita charger mounted right to my toolbox.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, Jonathan, all your batteries are mounted on your toolbox, so where are you storing the actual tools? Well, right up here, I actually used to store them in the toolbox and waste space.
I’m now in the process of converting those shelves to Gridfinity, because I have a mounted all of the Makita tools, or nearly all of them right on the roof.
These were actually a flat bottom design that was meant to be screwed into a wall, but I simply modified them to hook onto the holes and the ridges of my arrow shed.
You could use the original version and just mount them onto a wall. If you’d like, I printed these ones out in Asa filament because it has superior heat resistance, and the roof of the shed gets incredibly, incredibly hot. Hot enough to soften pretty much any other plastics except for ASA or maybe nylon.
Now, if you’re not a Makita fan boy or fan girl like I am, don’t worry. I have seen tools and options like this for DeWalt, Milwaukee, Stanley, and all the other brands.
If you have a modular system, you can probably find many different options for adapters and battery holders and grips and all of that for whatever tools you choose to use.
Corner guides are just one example of different guides that you could build, and these are just for drawing out your corners.
If you happen to have a router, you can come up with routing bits that will guide your router.
Let’s talk about clamps for a second. There are a lot of different 3D printed clamps out there.
You’ve probably seen, if you’ve ever looked at Prusa’s website where they sell their PETG, their prusament clamp.
This is a really cool print that they give us, as an example of the cool stuff that you can do with PETG.
It prints them three pieces And snaps together. You might think that this would be useless, but it’s actually very strong.
Really nice for gluing together your 3D prints and having just the perfect amount of softness. I also love that they’re plastic, so they’re not gonna scratch the things that you’re gluing together.
And by the way, for those of you who like me, create content, there is a remixed version of these that is so cool, which has cold shoe adapter. So you can mount all of your various different videography stuff using one of these clamps.
I used to always wonder how carpenters drill those clean holes to join a piece of wood without using angle brackets.
Well, it turns out there’s a tool called a corner hole jig, and entire kits that you can buy that are adjustable, but if you need one in a pinch, you can just print one yourself.
Then take the clamp that we printed before, clamp it in and drill your holes.
10. Drill hole guide
Another similar tool that you can print for angled holes is a drill hole guide.
I printed it in PETG and you can see my PETG needed a little drying, but it allows you to print direct 90 degree holes exactly, or 45 degree holes if you need some 45 degree holes.
11. Scraper Tool
If you bought a 3D printer with a carbon glass bed, you probably got one of these.
And then if like me, you upgraded to a powder coated steel sheet or PEI coated sheet, you quickly realized that this is not something you wanna put into contact with that.
Fortunately, this is something you can solve with 3D printing and you can 3D print your own scraper.
PETG is notorious for sticking too well to the bed and actually taking a piece of the bed off, and this tool can help you by using this chamfered edge to get right up in there and being soft enough to actually not damage the print or the bed.
Over time, the edge is going to wear. And for that reason, I am going to reprint this in PLA soon.
You know how your drill bits, especially your concrete drill bits, always get dull.
I discovered this really, really cool print on Thingiverse that allows you to re-sharpen your bits, and I’ve since found a better version, but I will demonstrate the old one and I will link the better version in the title of this section.
All you have to do, assuming you have these wonderful Dremel diamond headed metal cutting bits, is slide it onto the top. It screws onto pretty much any Dremel, including fake ones from Ali Express. You can then adjust the angle that you want to grind at, put your bit back on your cutting wheel, and simply slide the bit right in.
13. Hand Shovel
Over the last years have 3D printed all kinds of cool tools for my garden, usually because I got impatient waiting for orders from stores.
One of those tools is a hand shovel, and you would probably think that a hand shovel made of plastic would be lousy. But this one’s actually really, really good.
First off, it has a beautiful sharp edge, which I’ve kept sharp by printing it in PLA, which means I don’t keep it out in the sun.
It’s printed in two pieces so I can tear it apart to store it if I want to save space in my over crowded shed. Honestly, it works really, really well.
It’s got a nice little hole. And, if you need a shovel in a pinch like I did, and you’re too lazy to go out and buy one, well – go ahead and print it.
If you have holes in your life that you want measuring for to know what kind of drill bit you need, then you should definitely check out this very quick print.
It is a hole measuring tool, and it will tell you the exact diameter of any hole you stick it in.
15. Nozzle Wrench
For those of us who don’t yet have the wonderful E3D Revo nozzle system, anything we can do to make that process easier and take steps out of it is better.
I found that it was really frustrating for me to need to lift the entire hot end all the way up to change the nozzle, and fortunately, I found this little guy.
It’s a super, super short adapter for the socket that allows me to only lift the nozzle a little bit and then simply twist it, and bring it out.
It’s still kind of a pain in the butt to change nozzles, but now using this, I find it’s a lot faster and easier than waiting for the Z axis to go all the way up and all the way down every time I want to change the nozzle.
I don’t know the exact name of this tool, but basically it holds your sandpaper.
What’s cool about 3D printing them is you can 3D print them in any size that you want. They’re really, really fast to print and assemble, and then you don’t have to hold the sandpaper and risk burning your hands or just tiring out your fingers.
This is a fun one.
Recently, we are in the process of potty training my little boy, and so I decided to build him this custom made beautiful bamboo stepping stool, which even slides in.
It is made of this gorgeous reclaimed bamboo that I put so much effort into maintaining the nice, beautiful surface. There’s only one problem.
I vastly overestimated how accurate I could be with the drill and ended up drilling right through it in, not one, but two places.
There’s actually a solution for this, and it is called a drill stopper, which limits how deep you can go with the drill.
For the sake of durability, you probably wanna print these in PETG, which is less likely to break with the flexing that this entails, but because it has so much retraction going on, you’re definitely gonna wanna dial in your settings.
And also, unlike me, you’re gonna wanna dry your PETG filament before you print these out, and your drill bit is fixed. You probably also should do a random seam so that the seams and weak points aren’t all on one part of the print.
This is a tool that I actually debated including on this list because I’ve had a lot of difficulty with it.
It’s a bit holder for your drill, and I have tried printing this out in ASA. ABS, PLA, PETG, and even TPU.
I still haven’t found a model that works well enough that I don’t break it after time, but I haven’t given up because I love this idea and Makita does provide bit holders, as are other drill manufacturers.
19. Glue Spreader
I’m going to be completely honest and admit that I did not know that a glue spreader was a thing until I watched another YouTube video by Alexander Chapel, who used a glue spreader to make sure that he had perfect distribution of the glue on the piece that he was working on.
Turns out that there are different densities of glue spreaders for different projects. So print as many of these as you want and use it to distribute your glue as well as you would like.
Hose fittings and vacuum adapters really could be a category on their own.
I’ve printed out specialized adapters for drilling into walls so I don’t muck up my Dyson and can use it with my shop vaccum.
But the really cool print and killer app here was printing an adapter to match my shop vac to the Makita size hose, which is not the same size, and printing it with an angle bracket.
Just make sure that you print this one in PETG because well, things tend to get real hot in the tool shed or in the sun.
21. Deburring Tool
Up next, we’re gonna get a little bit made up because this is actually a 3D printed tool to aid your 3D printing workflow.
For those of you who’ve never seen one of these things, it is called a deburring tool, and it is basically a tool for cleaning up your 3D prints more easily and getting rid of all the nastiness on there.
Of course you can buy these tools on Ali Express or Amazon, and there are nicer ones such as metal ones, but I use the plastic cheapy ones because I like to have them everywhere.
At some point I realized that I can just 3D print them just as easily and then just buy the replacement knife cutter, and they honestly turn out just as good.
This soldering jig is another useful tool to hold your pieces of wire at various different gauges while you solder them.
This lazy Susan is a really, really cool design and it was a lot of fun to print and assemble, but it is not fully 3D printed.
In fact, you need to have some bearings and screws.
Recently I had to move some filament off of another spool so that I could empty out the Prusament spool.
I don’t know about you, but I hate ending up with little bobs and bits, so I wanted to merge that onto another spool.
What I ended up doing was downloading and printing this awesome filament welder, which allowed me to put that same filament on another spool so I didn’t have another couple meters kicking around.