3D printing creates objects out of melted filaments of plastic by layering thin layers on top of each other. All that is needed is a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of what you would want to print. You can design this on specialized software or get a pre-existing virtual model on a file.
Wait, but could this still be considered crafting? Absolutely yes. You still play a big part in deciding what is designed, the colours used, and any other embellishments you would like. The 3D printer actually expands your potential as a crafter as ideas and designs that may still be beyond your expertise, but vividly in your mind’s eye, can be brought to life. You will not need to spend a fortune on a sculpting class when you could simply design your winding statuette and print it out in a few hours. You still remain the master of your designs.
3D printing can also be used to create custom crafting tools, from knitting needles, pin holders and even scrapbook elements like stickers. You can also use the 3D printer to replace items you have lost or damaged. This will allow you to add to, and maybe step into, the already variety saturated world of crafting items with your own unique innovations.
Although 3D printing ensures your final product is precisely what you envision, managing the designing at the software level takes some practice. You will need to learn how to manoeuvre around the different design tools available, and even experiment with different software. In the end, this effort will be greatly rewarded.