Jan 14, 2018 | By David

Here’s another round-up of some fun DIY 3D printing projects that have been shared online recently, as a new year for the 3D printing world starts to kick into gear. Our selection of five impressive hobbyist 3D printing efforts includes a modified Nintendo Switch controller, and a wave lamp that can forecast the weather, amongst others.

1. Nintendo Switch Joy Con controller modified with 3D printing

As the world of gaming makes more of an effort to be inclusive with its content, introducing more unconventional and diverse characters and narrative content, there are still some practical limitations with the hardware itself that may be leaving certain demographics behind. 3D printing hobbyist and gamer Julio Vazquez recently came across a blog post that identified a particular problem with the Nintendo Switch’s new Joy Con controller, which is that it is aimed solely at able-bodied gamers. He set out to modify the controller for people with motion disabilities, using 3D printing technology.

Vazquez tried out two different prototypes before reaching the final version, which is a 3D printed add-on that holds the controller in place so the buttons can be pressed, with either hand. The accessory was designed to be relatively simple to put together, and he used a Flash Forge Creator Pro FDM 3D printer to build the structure out of widely available plastic filament. The total assembly time should be no more than 3 hours, and the design files are shared on Thingiverse.


2. 3D printed drone propellers

A hobbyist and drone enthusiast with a Youtube channel called RCLifeOn has posted the results of some of his 3D printed propeller experiments online. The type of propeller used for a drone is one of the key factors affecting its performance in terms of flight time and amount of vibration, amongst other things. This user wanted to see how he could optimize his drone’s flight by creating his own propeller designs.

The designs were put together in Fusion 3D, before being 3D printed. They are all relatively simple three-bladed structures. They were built using a 3D printer in both PETG and PLA filament to test the performance of the materials, with no major differences noted between the two.


3. 3D printed nuclear button

Responding to recent stories in the news of U.S President Donald Trump’s nuclear button, and its size relative to that of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a group of makers over at the Garage Geeks site decided that they wanted their own button, too. Not only is their 3D printed nuclear button a worthy symbol of power, it’s also an effective anti-stress device and one that brings an element of humour to what is a potentially terrifying international situation.

A video posted on Youtube shows the button in action, and there’s a link to the STL files in case you want to put together your own. The thing consists of just three parts- the body, a cover, and the button itself. The team recommends using yellow filament to 3D print the structure, before finishing it with a hot glue gun and black marker for "a big, badass button". They also posted instructions on how to put the circuits together, in order to add working LED lights to the button.


4. 3D printed netting wearables

A maker known as RobotMama, member of the ‘’Sew Easy!’’ Thingiverse group, has been using her skills to make some really unique wearable items. A 3D printed necklace, which could be also used as a neckline for a garment, is the first part of a new project that she has embarked on, known as ‘Print On Fabric’. She uses her 3D printer to create fashion items, in a much simpler and more straightforward way than has been seen in the past.

She made use of an Ultimaker 3D printer to make her piece, along with FDM filament and a special net-like fabric called Organza. Organza is often used to make wedding gowns. The unique element of RobotMama’s method is that she can 3D print fashion designs directly on to fabric, negating the need for any sewing knowledge. This is made possible using Organza and potentially with other high-temperature, netted fabrics. The trick is to print a few layers, pause, and then insert the fabric under the printer before resuming the print.

The first design she has made is composed of an array of small, dimpled 3D shapes. There are pyramids and cones as well as more straight-edged shape. The overall effect is charming and quirky, and it points the way forward for many more simple 3D printed fashion designs in the future.


5. 3D printed weather forecasting wave lamp

A wave lamp is always an impressive thing to have around the house, lending a touch of psychedelic geometry to a room. The decorations are relatively common and often modified online, and one Thingiverse user called Dushyant Ahuja found an example that was particularly pleasing. He decided to print his own version, but with a bit of extra functionality built in to it. The 3D printed wave lamp that he was putting together would also be something that could forecast the weather, killing two diverse but equally important birds with one 3D printed stone.

The base for the lamp is designed to take a strip of addressable LEDs, and he also modified its design to mount a small PCB containing an ESP8266 module and a level shifter chip. As for the weather forecasting feature, this is much more straightforward than it might seem.The code for the ESP relies on the OpenWeatherMap API, and changes the LED color based on the rainfall forecast.

Ahuja’s lamp design and instructions are posted on Instructables. His total print time was around 30 hours, and it was a relatively complex process. Despite not using any support structures, he recommends sending off to 3DHubs to get it printed, as this would be a lot easier. The lamp was printed in PLA filament.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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