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A 3D printer that isn’t useless

Finally, a 3D printer that isn’t useless

Design a cannon on your iPhone, print it out, then shoot up enemy pirates on the high seas

Design a cannon on your iPhone, print it out, then shoot up enemy pirates on the high seas

Tim Martin | June/July 2018

Original Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer
£699 kit, £899 built, shop.prusa3d.com
No longer prized only by militant futurists, 3D printers are getting increasingly useful. They are capable of pumping out anything from games consoles to glasses frames. The Prusa i3 is among the most popular models for a reason: it’s reliable, competitively priced and, in this third iteration, offers clever innovations that bring this hobbyist technology ever closer to the mainstream. Like many of its competitors, the MK3 heats plastic filament and pipes it in layers to create objects. Unlike many, it runs fast and quiet, and can recover from interruptions to power or filament flow without destroying prints or printer.

Sea of Thieves
Xbox One/PC £49.99/$59.99
Frenetic, salty, camp and brazenly ridiculous, this multiplayer pirate adventure from the British developers Rare offers a delightful antidote to a zillion grim-faced military shoot-’em-ups. On foaming waves, you’ll assemble crews to raid fortresses, hunt chickens, unearth buried treasure, swim with sharks, dance on the bowsprit, exchange cannon fire, dodge marauding skeletons and play “Ride of the Valkyries” on the hurdy-gurdy. Sea of Thieves is a hectic and sometimes frustrating game but it’s hard not to succumb to its self-spoofing jollity and sense of fun.

 

Onshape
iOS/Android free
Anyone with a 3D printer will eventually get tired of downloading stuff to print. Many large computer-aided design programs provide free versions to hobbyists but the mobile apps usually don’t contain all the functions. Not so Onshape, which lets you throw together 3D models using a straightforward and friendly interface on Apple or Android. The catch is that anything you design is public – “free” in this case means available to everyone – but there is a paid option for customers who want to preserve their intellectual property and the learning curve is smoothed by a decent string of tutorials. You may fiddle to start with, but it’s surprising how quickly your creative juices start flowing.