Three 3D printing designs that push the envelope

If there's one field in the world of design that's moving at breakneck pace, it's 3D printing. Not only are 3D printers now readily affordable, but the range of products you can create with them grows daily.

For those wishing to exploit their design skills to create saleable 3D-printed products, CGTrader (opens in new tab) is a great resource of information and ideas. And the winners of their latest competition shows just how far 3D designers have come with the technology.

Co-sponsored by 3D World magazine (opens in new tab), CGTrader's 3D Makers Challenge involved submitting 3D printed designs with the wow factor – namely: "anything that involves engineering, building, creating, constructing, has that crazy vibe of invention and innovation and consists of at least three components". Here are the winning entries... but could you do better?

01. 3D-printable gearbox

A working gearbox from a 3D printer

A working gearbox from a 3D printer

The winner of the Best 3D Maker/DIY Model category was Freekd (opens in new tab) with his 3D printable gearbox (opens in new tab) model – a fully engineered example of a 3D printable machine part.

A few additional metal parts are needed for construction

A few additional metal parts are needed for construction

The gearbox was designed using Autodesk Inventor (opens in new tab). As with all the models shown her, the files can be downloaded from CG Trader, along with details of a few additional metal parts you need to construct it.

02. 3D-printable water tap

This water tap is aimed at the developing world

This water tap is aimed at the developing world

Robitkar (opens in new tab) came in 2nd in the competition with a universal 3D print water tap (opens in new tab) model, designed with the undeveloped areas of the world in mind.

The design is purposely simple

The design is purposely simple

A universal water tap, for five different holes, it's purposely a simple design with few parts.

03. Scissor snake

This toy is fun for kids of all ages

This toy is fun for kids of all ages

Second runner-up was Richard Swika (opens in new tab) with a fun 3D printable model – The Scissor Snake (opens in new tab).

A specially engineered crossover bearing boosts its strength and durability

A specially engineered crossover bearing boosts its strength and durability

The design uses an exclusive, support-less crossover bearing, engineered for this project. This results in a strong and durable toy cable of lifting many times its own weight.

Like this? Read these!

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.