Upcycling and 3D printing: How to give a second life to objects | Sculpteo Blog

Upcycling and 3D printing: How to give a second life to objects

Posted By Amandine Richardot on Jan 22, 2018 | 0 comments

Today, we have invited the founders of Cults, the website to download STL files, to talk to us about a topic related to the upcycling trend. Through this article, we will discover 5 examples of upcycled objects thanks to 3D printing. These examples are all from this library of 3D models for 3D printers. If you are interested in some of these objects to reproduce them at home, you can download the 3D files and transfer them to Sculpteo to obtain the finished product directly at home in the material of your choice, or you can directly print the parts if you have access to a 3D printer at home or at the office.


What is upcycling?

Upcycling consists of recovering products or materials that are no longer used in order to magnify them. Products that would have been thrown in the garbage can have a second life thanks to upcycling.


Products are revalorized by highlighting them: the “up” means that they are recycled “from above”. This is the difference between recycling and upcycling. Recycling is limited to recreating a new object from an old obsolete product in order to have a quality as good as possible as the original one. With upcycling, we will try to have a higher value than the original object. We will imagine a completely different use, something different from the initial use.


One of the challenges of upcycling is that it sometimes takes a lot of effort to revitalize something old into something new. 3D printing can then become interesting because it will make it possible to easily 3D print some new parts of the object. The 3D printer is an innovation that offers designers the opportunity to show their creativity and imagine new uses for objects already in use.



Turn a jar of jam into a mug  

Upcycling Jam of Jar 3D printing

This creation conceptualized by leFabShop proposes to 3D print a handle that can be easily screwed on a jar of jam, preferably empty. This handle has a screw thread that fits perfectly into standard jam jars. Enough to impress your colleagues at the office or your grandmother, who will be surprised to see the original hijacking of her jam jar!

Link to download the free 3D model


Reuse cork caps to create funny little animals

Upcycling with 3D printing to create animals

The Polish creation studio UAU Project is behind the super concept “Cork Pals” (cork buddies). Like many, when the bottle of wine is finished, it goes straight to the garbage can. But if you had the good idea to keep your wine cork, you can simply connect them with 3D printed parts to make nice little animals. UAU Project then designed a monkey, a lion, a bear, a rabbit or even an axolotl and frequently completes this small family! They are toys that will delight children and can bring a very original decorative touch to your tables, furniture, and shelves.

Link to download the 3D files


Create planters with watering from old cans

Upcycling to create plant pots with 3D printing

The famous print designer Flowalistik has created this brilliant object which consists of 3D printing an adapter able to be fixed on an old Campbell tin can or on a soda can for example. This new object will make it possible to have a privileged location to receive plants. The piece prints without supports and has watering slots. A very nice and ecological way to reuse your waste.

Link to download the free 3D object


Make a vase from a test tube

Upcycling to create a vase with 3D printing

The designer Ilimp imagined a very special and ingenious reuse of the specimens used for experiments in chemistry. He conceptualized a whole base capable of integrating a standard size specimen, creating a vase to accommodate a pretty flower. By putting some dye in the water we immediately have a very modern and minimalist rendering to sublimate the specimen and give it a completely new function.

Link to download the STL file


Turn a skateboard into a seat

Upcycling to create a seat with a skateboard with 3D printing

For the fans of skateboarding, there is a very cool creation to do since it is about reusing an old board to make a small bench. The designer Fonzy has 3D modeled connectors capable of fixing themselves instead of the wheels of a skateboard. To make the legs of this very original stool, you can take standard broom handles that will have to be cut in equal sizes. A few screwdrivers and it’s done! According to the designer, the bench can easily support loads of more than 70 kg!

Link to download the free 3D model



Here are 5 different examples that show the full potential of 3D printing in terms of upcycling. But there are still many other applications and concepts. If you are interested in this topic, please take a look at this selection of the best STL files related to upcycling or post your ideas in the comments of this article. Use Sculpteo’s 3D printing services if you wish to acquire certain 3D printable parts to give a second life to your everyday objects!

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