3D Printing Thanksgiving for Happier Holidays

by Tyler Reid

Holiday season is upon us and with it comes lots of food, laughter, gifts, and family time. And, in our family, it also brings 3D Printing Thanksgiving games.

I love spending time with my family, and as I grow older I appreciate time with them more and more. To help me make the most of it, I follow a simple strategy – keep everyone happy!

thanksgiving (1)

That one simple rule really makes a difference, no matter how hard my brothers try every year to break it. For me, the most difficult bunch to please these days is the rapidly growing 7-and-under age group.

3D Printing Thanksgiving

This year, I’m coming to Thanksgiving dinner with a new crowd-pleaser – 3D printing!

There are two supremely contentious periods every Thanksgiving at our home. The first – getting the kids to eat my aunt’s “award winning” cranberry sauce. Begging, bribing, grounding – nothing seems to work.


Who can blame kids for not wanting to eat this? (Note: not actual product…)

And the second: somehow appeasing a dozen children with a single wishbone. I’m sure geneticists everywhere are working on ways to grow turkeys with more wishbones, but until then we’re left to fight a nearly hopeless battle.

3D printing solution for Thanksgiving Problem #1:

I decided to tackle the first problem with shapes. It works with chicken nuggets – if they’re shaped liked dinosaurs they’re suddenly 1000% more enticing! Will it work with questionably homemade cranberry sauce? I will find out this week, when I bring 3D printed cranberry-cutters in the shapes of a turkey and leaves.

3D printing solution for Thanksgiving Problem #2:

I’m feeling pretty good about my solution to the second problem. 3D printed wishbones for everybody! I printed them in small, regular, and even giant size. I’m sure there will be quibbles over who gets to take on the gargantuan wishbones, but at least everybody will have a turn. I might even have enough for a tournament!

Thanksgiving 4

A wishbone in every size. 3D printed on the uPrint SE Plus in ABS

A little preparation never hurt anybody, and on this Thanksgiving I think it might actually save the day. If the kids are happy, everyone is happy. And if they’re happy enough, they might even invite me to sit at their table. And surprisingly, I think I’ll say yes.

Thanksgiving 5

Phil and Lucas take on the giant wishbone. I think Lucas knows something the rest of us don’t.

2019 Wishbone Update

Since originally publishing this article in 2015, breaking 3D printed wishbones has become somewhat of a Thanksgiving sport for our family.

By changing the size and the material I’ve been able to create increasingly strong wishbones – it sure is fun trying to break Nylon12CF or ULTEM 9085 wishbones!

Last year I was able to take the game to an entirely different level with 17-4 PH Stainless Steel wishbones printed off our Desktop Metal Studio System. I brought 2 true-scale wishbones to Thanksgiving and, well, they surprised us all…

The winners of the plastic wishbone tournament (I told you we take it seriously!) had the chance to break the metal wishbone:

They didn’t…

Convinced their main impediment was grip rather than strength, they wanted a shot to break it on their own.

Round #2 looked promising, but the wishbone didn’t yield.

In Round #3, after a lot of grunting/sweating/swearing, the wishbone finally yielded. Bent but not broken!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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