Practical Magic: Customize It

So you don’t quite have the knack for 3D design.  Maybe what you have in your head comes out more a misshapen blob or distorted block with too many angles—we’ve all been there a few times.  But if you have the desire to take some of the awesome things on Thingiverse and make them more your own, we’ve got the solution.

Thingiverse has a neat feature called Customizer, which essentially lets you make very specific changes to a certain object.  For example, you can change the text on this keychain so that it says anything you want, from your name to what the key opens.  Handy, no?

Well, of course we here on PPL’s 3D printing team thought so, and as we’re all about experimenting and playing with technology, we had to try it. A simple one to start with is this iPhone case from Makerbot, which lets you choose your phone model and alter the geometric pattern on the back.  By using the drop down menus and sliding scales, you can create the phone case of your dreams—or the one you need to keep your screen intact.  You can keep it fairly basic, like my experiment on the left, or get a little more intricate, like the one on the right, if you want something a little sturdier.


If you’re more the desk-accessorizing type like one of our team and want a tiny forest of your own, this tree from Thingiverse is probably right up your alley.  This design even lets you get a little more creative, and you can make changes to everything from the radius of the trunk to the number of branches and their shape, and a whole lot in between.  Customizer, though it gives you an overwhelming number of options, also provides a little explanation for each alteration and updates as you make changes, so you won’t be left with a surprise lump of plastic.  It will be an intentional lump of plastic, and you’ll see it coming!


Ready to make your own?  Check for “Open in Customizer” on any design (not all designs can be customized, but many can!), adjust the settings, click “Create Thing,” download, print (or have us print it), and brag about your cool new design.

If you want something with a little more guidance, check out our 3D printing workshops for kids and adults.  Or if you want to level up, keep an eye out for our upcoming three week 3D design workshop!

Check our events calendar and Facebook events page for 3D printing updates!


Gutenberg enjoys humming, getting crafty, and causing mischief around the library. Ada enjoys reading up on the latest 3D printing technology and researching tips and tricks to make life easier. Gute and Ada’s people enjoy tinkering, making, and discovering ingenious solutions to everyday problems. If you have questions or suggestions for future Practical Magic posts, please feel free to email us at

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