Nov 16, 2015 | By Kira

As far as holidays go, Thanksgiving is one of my favorites. Unlike Christmas, which comes with gift-giving stress, Valentine’s, which can be a landmine for old and new couples alike, or even Halloween, which wreaks havoc on our diets with its leftover candies and sweets, Thanksgiving is strictly about food, family, and for many, football.

Turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie steal the show, and cities across America top off the weekend with parades and football games. Of course, at its heart, thanksgiving is about gratitude, about thing thankful for everything that we have—our parents, our jobs, the food on our table, open source 3D modeling software…

And even though Thanksgiving is seen as a distinctly American holiday, and indeed is steeped in US history, the idea of a celebration centered on gratitude and the harvest exists around the world. The Ancient Greeks had a three-day festival to honor Demeter, goddess of corn and grains. There is China’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, Korea’s Chuseok, and Canadian Thanksgiving, all of which are celebrated by the sharing of food, stories, and traditions amongst families and loved ones.

The point is, no matter where you are in the world, there’s something to be thankful for. And this week, we’re thankful for these great 3D printed projects, which are all geared towards enhancing your holiday feast, bringing together families, friends, parents, and children, and well…the power of 3D printing, of course.

1. 3D Printed Center Pieces

The highlight of Thanksgiving is without a doubt the dinner—stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, and cranberries piled around a roast turkey and swimming in gravy—and yet, no dinner would be complete without warm, opulent ornaments and an eye-catching center piece to set the mood.

Two great fall nature-inspired examples are the Maple Leave Bowl, whose 3D files are available for purchase on CGTrader, or this elevated tree branch plate, which could be used to spotlight candles or a cheese platter. Called the Nature Plug, it is available from French company The M Family, who designs modern, artistic home objects, and either sells them as finished 3D prints, or as 3D files, so you can modify and print them yourself at home.

2. 3D Printed Placeholders, Napkin Rings, and Table Accessories

These 3D printed accents will put the final touches on your Thanksgiving dinner spread, whether you’re going for a more refined look to match the nature-inspired center pieces above, as with the 3D printed Olive Branch placeholder (that will do double-duty on Easter), or if you want to be a little cheekier and surprise guests with a 3D printed name card in the shape of an actual roast turkey.

For a family-friendly project that could get the kids involved too, check out these Festive and colorful 3D printed turkey napkin rings/placeholders.

3. 3D Printed Silverware

If you want your dinner to have an even more elegant and polished feel, with pieces that combine form and function, take a cue from New York-based architect and designer Francis Bitonti, who uses advanced technologies like algorithmic form generation and 3D printing to create pieces such as this beautifully sophisticated set of 3D printed Setae Flatware.

“Four independent strands cohere and separate creating a landscape of fibers nestled into the hand. The separation and cohesion of these long linear elements is used to produce local difference to beautifully satisfy the demands of a functional set of flatware. The Flatware is manufactured with the latest 3D metal printing technology and finished with sterling silver.”

Or, for a ready-made 3D model you could replicate at home, there’s this beautifully ornate 3D printed spoon available for purchase on CGTrader.

4. 3D Printed ‘Menurkey’

This 3D print is a little more fun, and a great way to combine two cultural celebrations into one. Invented by Asher Weintraub when he was just nine years old, the 3D printed Menurky is a menorah shaped like a turkey—the two biggest symbols of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah and American Thanksgiving, respectively.

The idea came to him in 2013, when for the first and only time ever, the first day of Hanukkah coincided with Thanksgiving, leading to the inevitable and clever portmanteau Thanksgivukkah.

5. 3D Printed Pumpkin Earrings

Beyond sprucing up your home for the holiday, why not give your own wardrobe a seasonal accent? These 3D printed Pumpkin Earrings are festive, can be made in a variety of colors and materials, from spicey orange to rose gold, and will definitely excuse your going for a second helping of pumpkin pie.

6. 3D Printed Turkeys

Although 3D food printing technology is still a few years away from being able to make a real roast turkey, these 3D printed turkey sculptures make decent stand-ins. They also make for great a great kid-friendly 3D printing project that can get the whole family together. And since no real turkeys are harmed in the making, they’re totally animal-friendly, too, if that’s your concern. In the meantime, lab-grown, 3D printed beef is in development and expected to hit shelves by 2020. Perhaps 2025 will be the year of the 3D printed turkeyburger?

Images from top to bottom: detailed Turkey Model by Caleb Ellefson, traditional Thanksgiving Turkey by Zbrushingmx, and an adorable 3D Turkey model by BioPlastic3D.

7. 3D Printed Pig and Veg Toothpicks

Preparing and serving a massive Thanksgiving feast isn’t anywhere as easy now as it was for the pilgrims. Well…since the advents of microwaves, oven timers and sliced bread, it’s probably much easer, but there are an increasing number of dietary restrictions to consider, including food allergies or vegetarianism. These handy 3D printed Pig and Veg toothpicks can be used to clearly identify what is what and avoid potential health issues later in the night.

8. 3D Printed Thanksgiving Cookie Cutters

These 3D printed cookie cutters shaped as turkeys and wish bones are a great way to bring parents and young children together, whether they are involved in the 3D printing process (with adult supervision), the baking process (also with supervision), or the cookie-devouring process (no supervision required).

9. 3D Printed Apple Gear Puzzle

The 3D Printed Apple Gear Puzzle, uploaded to Thingiverse by Andrew Pilgrim, is another great project that is sure to bring the family together and introduce them to 3D printing—even the perpetually bored teenager of the family, constantly glued to their smartphones, won’t be able to resist the challenge of putting each piece together.

10. 3D Printed Football Fever

For the Football fans, Thanksgiving is one of the most momentous weekends of the year. Teams from every level, high school to college to the NFL, play football on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the weekend…even the Canadian league (CFL) gets in on the action during Canadian Thanksgiving in October.

To get in the mood, whether you’re a player, a fan, or just want to show off your 3D printer, you can go the whole nine yards with these 3D printed football accessories, from Andrew Cross’ 3D printed fantasy football trophies, to i.Materialise’s gold plated, polished brass football ring, to Stratasys truly impressive multi-material 3D printed football. It was created on an Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-Material 3D Production System using three different materials, all in a single 3D print job.

Bonus: Give Back

Finally, while Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for what we have, it’s also an important opportunity to acknowledge and give back to those in our community who may not have as much. For example, last year, a team of volunteers from the Limbitless Solutions Foundation created a custom, 3D printed prosthetic arm for a seven-year-old girl in Lynchburg, Virginia, just in time for Thanksgiving.

In order to give back this Thanksgiving through the power of 3D printing, you can contribute to TOM and MakerBot’s open source collection of 3D printed assistive technology devices, or volunteer to design or 3D print a prosthetic for someone in need. It may not seem like much, but it would mean a world of difference to somebody this Thanksgiving.

There are so, so many things to be thankful for, no matter where you are in the world, and whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional way. The 3D printing projects above just a few of the many ways you can show off and share your gratitude this year with friends and family. If you think we've missed anything or have your own 3D Thanksgiving prints to share, let us know in the comments section or our Facebook or Twitter.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive