Right now, you have 2 choices when it comes to crochet hooks. You can go to a store and purchase a hook that’s been made in the millions by a manufacturer or you can purchase a hand-carved, custom crochet hook.
In the future, I think there will be a third option. Hang on to your crochet hooks.
What’s wrong with the current options?
When a manufacturer makes a crochet hook, they’re trying to make one that will appeal to a large number of people. Their goal is to sell them by the thousands/millions.
While there are lots of different designs, there might not be a hook that’s perfect for you. Especially if you have small hands or a unique crocheting style.
The hand-carved hooks can be personalized (for example, to fit a smaller hand), but they are pricey. This makes purchasing one ‘just to try out’ out of reach for most consumers.
Crochet Hooks and 3D Printing
Have you heard of 3D printers? They’re basically printers that use a resin (instead of ink) to create a 3D item.
Less than a decade ago, these printers cost tens of thousands of dollars and were only used by researchers and companies. Now, though, there are a selection of 3D printers available in the $500 range, meaning they’re becoming practical for home use.
You probably have purchased a pdf pattern online for knitting, crocheting or sewing. These are usually patterns made by independent designers (like me!) that can be produced without the costs involved with printing & distributing a book.
This model allows independent designers to create patterns for niche markets. For example, a giant company might not be interested in spending thousands to produce a squid pattern, but as a pdf pattern (without much cost overhead), designing an adorable squid is practical! Yay, niches!
I predict the same thing will happen with crochet hook designs. You will be able to purchase 3D Printer Plans for a crochet hook, that you can print on your printer at home.
The cost of these plans would be similar to purchasing a pdf pattern, and would allow the customer to purchase a crochet hook almost exactly to their liking. Independent hook designers will cater to different hand shapes and styles, exactly as they do now with stitching patterns.
Isn’t that such a cool future?
What do you think? Do you see print-at-home hooks in your future?
Yes I can see more sales of 3-D printers for hooks and probably for many other things.
And not just crochet hooks or knitting needles either. Lost a stitch marker? Just print out a new one!
Personally, I think the money maker is in stitch markers. We’re always losing them and they’re small enough to not need a ton of plastic to print them. And you can make either plain round ones, locking ones or dangly cute ones. Or any combination of those three.
…and tatting shuttles, and spindles! How cool would it be to have custom-made tools to suit everyone’s hand and style!
Yes, everything! That would be awesome!
This is Portuguese product!! IÂ´m so proud!! It is possible to do a lot of things, even do iphone and tablet cases. Almost everything. I saw it working and its amazing 😀
I *love* this post, thanks Stacey!
Oh my gosh you’re so right! Even though we’re planning to get a 3D printer (my husband designs boardgames) and I’ve waxed lyrical about how 3D printers can be used to print on demand tools in the third world (my background’s public health) somehow it hadn’t occurred to me to dream of all the ways I could use it in my hobbies. Personalised 1/8th dressforms, a new flyer for my spinning wheel, custom ratio whorls, so many stitch markers lol
As regards your idea of the PDF 3D way of doing crochet hooks is a fabulous idea we would all get the exact crochet hook to suit us without a problem and having to pay for a designer one.
Good for you Stacey
Wouldn’t that be so awesome! Personalized for you and made right there at your home! It sounds so futuristic-but I guess that is where we are now. I sure could have used it over the weekend when I lost my J hook and had to drive 15 miles to go get a new one (and a back up!).
As the owner of FiberArts Cafe a LYS (local yarn shop) here in Millville NJ, 3D hooks are of great interest to me. It of course would depend on the cost, easy access and much work is needed to make them fit any hands. I’m always open to new ideas and items that will help my customers enjoy their fiber arts better than ever.
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A guy who’s into 3D printing that I happen to teach how to crochet was telling me that he’s thinking of creating a crochet hook using a 3D printer. I told him that would be really cool and that he should show me if it materializes. What a coincidence that you wrote about this as well.
Wow! That is a coincidence! Keep me posted 🙂
My son’s STEM class this past year received a 3D printer as a donation from a local organization. It was very cool to see all of the things that they had printed. I spent about 4 months hinting to him that I sure would love to have a 3D printed crochet hook but sadly it never happened. My youngest is hoping to get into the same class in 2 years when its available to him so I am going to start working on him now!