Amazon's new 3D printing store has its share of straight-up bizarre flotsam, like an $66 decorative egg cup that absolutely no one in the world needs. I can't mislead you: A lot of the stuff on offer is overpriced and weird. But some of the store's offerings are solid. Here are our top picks.
I'd consider buying this slim money holder even if it wasn't 3D-printed... which is a good test of whether something is worth purchasing, or just appealing for the gimmick quotient.
These wallets are durable, and under a centimeter thick, so they're great to throw in your pants pocket.
Mixee Labs is one of the more prolific sellers in Amazon's store, and they teamed up with Amazon to make a widget within the store to let people personalize 3D-printed items. They know what they're doing, and these wallets are functional and attractive.
If you like science and jewelry, you will like these matte nylon earrings. They are inspired by elementary particles, but are pretty enough that even people who DISDAIN science will be like, "Hey, stylish earrings." You should reject their commendation because people who disdain science are awful.
These earrings are not awful, though. They're subtle and cool and you can customize them.
Mayim Bialik probably already owns several pairs, which sounds like a diss, but in this particular case, it is a compliment.
Yeah, phone cases are kinda boring. But they're a good way to to experiment with purchasing 3D-printed objects without shelling out too much money. The Amazon 3D printing store has a bunch of different designs available.
3D printing still has enough of a curiosity factor to make these cases a conversation starter, although, if you're using your phone case to start conversations you have much larger problems than deciding which 3D-printed items to buy from the Amazon store.
Nevermind about using these as a conversation starter. You're better than that. But they make good gifts due to the utility/novelty combo.
Raspberry Pi Cases
These will obviously only appeal to you if you have a Raspberry Pi or are looking for a gift for someone who owns a Raspberry Pi. There are a few different cases, but I'm particularly impressed by this one. It is flamboyant in a good way, like Liberace, or Kelsey Grammer. It's literally covered in raspberries and kind of looks like a brightly colored mold, which is appealingly gross.
Remember when I said the gimmick factor shouldn't be the reason you buy something? In this case it should be, a little: Raspberry Pi celebrates DIY tech, so it might as well have a case made with a 3D printer that looks like a science experiment gone wrong. It really just needs glitter.
Brain Teaser Puzzles
They're inexpensive, they look cool, and if you know a kid, they'll give you something to talk about with said kid. Imagine this scenario:
Child approaches your desk/table/other surface. Starts playing with the brain teaser puzzle. Hopefully does not put in mouth; do not leave brain teaser puzzles around children under 5.
You approach: "Hey Asher/Harper/Finn/Penelope, did you know that was *3D-printed*?"
Child: "What's THAT mean?"
You: [deftly explain 3D printing in clear age-appropriate terms]
Boom, you have something to talk to a child about. This will be very helpful to childless aunts, uncles, friends, coworkers... anyone who is unaccustomed to entertaining youths. To be honest, only some kids will be genuinely interested in 3D-printed objects. Others will think you're a dumb nerd. But at least you tried, right?