15 3D-printed gifts you could make at home for free

The holidays tend to sneak up on most of us, which is interesting given the proliferation of holiday-themed stuff that surrounds us this time of year. They most noticeably sneak up on our bank accounts, as we scramble to get everyone from our boss to our brother the perfect gift. This year, though, why not take advantage of the whole DIY craze that's taking our country by storm? Instead of buying a gift, just print one. Heck, if that's not what 3D printers are for, then I've haven't the slightest idea why we've got them.

Below are fifteen things you can make with a 3D printer, with a link to the files needed to do so. Most are free (minus, of course, the cost of materials), and a few cost pennies on the dollar compared to buying the real deal. So save some cash, and everyone likes a "homemade" gift, right? It's Okay, we won't tell.

If doing your own printing isn't to your fancy (or you just don't have a 3D printer at home), there are on-demand online printing services, like Shapeways. Some places, such as Cubify, give you the option to download source code or to just buy the printed item. Word to the wise: if you only want one of something, go with having them print it. The code is often significantly more expensive.

If you buy them outright, gifts come in many different sizes, shapes and prices. Depending on materials, these can take up to a couple of weeks, so shop early. For those who don't have a 3D printer but want to print their own stuff, you can also check a local Staples near you: the store is starting to offer 3D printing services.

Need more geeky gift ideas? Click here.

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