Being a handy and creative person around your home used to mean lots of trips to the hardware store and figuring out the compatibility of various tools and hardware. 3D printing, in particular a line of consumer products called Parallel Goods, could change all that with a variety of functional 3D printable goods designed for less expensive personal 3D printers.
The distinction between Parallel Goods (which is named after a term for gray-market goods) and the massive cache of printable objects available on websites like Thingiverse is the professionalism and reliability of the designs. While professional printers often have features that can compensate for deficiencies in designs and just have more accurate printing, a home-printed design must be able to withstand any inaccuracies, such as warping, that may occur.
The 2015 Desk Collection includes well-designed, sleek accessories that would cost many times the price of their designs if they came fabricated and assembled. A self-watering planter for your desk (just $1.99) consists of a carefully shaped pot and reservoir that interlock and distribute water to plants over time. A small version is also available on Thingiverse for free.
A PLA push-pin organizer, meanwhile, resembles something that would cost $15 or more from a Scandinavian designer with its intricate engineering; it can attach to a variety of surfaces using just push pins and features a tray at the bottom for loose items like paper clips.
As a surface for all these lovely objects, you can also print four sawhorse brackets for $1.99 that only require screws, a screwdriver, and some lumber to create a DIY desk and work surface that can hold up to 150 lbs.
Parallel Goods was developed through a partnership between creative strategist Joe Carpita and industrial designer Craig Stover. “We both have backgrounds in industrial design, coupled with entrepreneurial spirits,” said Stover. “The limitations and affordances of 3D printing on low-cost printers was part of our design constraints, and a motivation to launch our company." It will be exciting to see what design themes they will tackle in the future.