11 of the Craziest and Coolest Things You Can Now 3D Print
From taking close care of our loved ones to helping us make makeup to enhancing the IKEA furniture-building experience, our latest adventures in 3D printing have really hit close to home. They have also been, well, way out of this world. When our watercooler convos at Brit HQ are more about what member of Sesame Street you can print out than whether Andi is really the Bachelorette we need right now, we know we have a problem. Our solution? Rounding up a few of our favorite recent innovations in the 3D world! Geek out a little with us ;)
1. Say Hello to Snuffy: Sesame Street goes 3D as MakerBot’s first big name collaboration. Mr. Snuffleupagus (hmm, more of a dark horse than an obvious favorite) is the first in the series, but expect the rest of the gang to join him soon. “Can ya tell me how to print, how to print out Sesame Street?” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
2. Nescafe Alarm Caps: The best part of waking up is the smell of freshly brewed joe while you’re still stirring in bed— and this clever little hack is going to do it for you without having to call room service. With the help of Shapeways 3D printed caps and Arduino technology (all open source btw!), you can turn a bottle of Nescafe into an alarm that gets you out of bed with the sound of chirping birds, soft LED lights and no snooze option — instead, you have to unscrew the cap to turn off the alarm. Mmm, coffee smell.
3. Printed Nest: A team of architects and designers are using 3D printed nests to bring feathered friends back to urban areas — right now there are an impressive 31 nests in 19 cities across six countries. The project is open source and the plans for each nest are free to use and ready for customization so get going and invite Tweety to your apartment or office’s window sill.
4. Bike Printer That Prints Recycled Plastic: Combining 3D printing, incredible bicycle hacks, innovative design and recycling, designers in Taipei built their own 3D printing bike that eats plastic cups and turns them into 3D printer ink that THEN makes little decorations for bike spokes. We just might have to set up a stationary bike at Brit + Co SF to recycle 3D projects gone wrong into new spools for our printers. Thoughts? We think: HECK YEAH.
5. First Ever Printed Metal Furniture: Using MX3D-Metal printing (remember this guy?) Dutch designer Joris Laarman and Autodesk have created the first ever 3D printed metal furniture. Check out those organic shapes and the industrial look of the line — betcha think it’s impossible to DIY or buy on your budget, right? No, ma’am. Using the soon-to-be-open sourced blueprints for the above chairs, (which are made from tiled parts that click together like a puzzle) you will be able to download and print the pieces for less than $50.
The Dragon Bench might be our favorite, but we would gladly get comfy in any of these, especially considering their IKEA pricetag.
6. Printed Osteoid Cast: We’re seeing 3D printing revolutionize the world of prosthetics by opening up a completely customizable world, and now an industrial designer is applying those same ideas to fitted, 3D printed casts that help you heal faster, too. An attachable ultrasound system on the ventilated cast uses low intensity pulses to speed up the healing rate and reduce the overall healing process with short, daily sessions.
7. 3D Printable Luggage + Clothing: Yes, we’ve seen 3D printed clothing and accessories before — but not like this! Finnish designer Janne Kyttanen created these gorgeous duds in a project called Lost Luggage. In his vision of the future, the designer (who is also creative director of 3D Systems) is creating for a world where we have the option of printing over packing.
Instead of checking bags, he thinks we’ll be emailing ourselves files (or, more likely, stashing them in the cloud) of the clothing, accessories and other items we would normally stuff in a bag. Once we get to our destination, print — there it is. (Photos)
8. 3D Printed Houses Are Being Printed In Hours: In March, the first 3D printed house broke ground in Amsterdam. Wow, we thought, a 3D printed house. Can’t wait to see that bad boy go up over the next few months. Well, wait no longer, a Chinese company build 10 (!) homes in just 24 hours using a ginormous printer they spent millions and a dozen years developing.
9. Lamps + Color-Changing Bulbs: To complement their line of hue LED smart bulbs, Philips unveiled a look at these gorgeous 3D printed luminairies that would turn every switch “on” into a light show worth oo/ahh-ing over. An app will unlock light effects from a palette that boasts over 16 million colors, plus programmable light scenes so you could even make your Philips Hue 3D-printed luminairies rise and set with the sun. The opportunity to pre-order the printed art pieces is over, but this press release proves they weren’t just a filament (LOL) of our active imagination.
10. Test Drive Rings: Want to know your ring size… and your preferred carat size? Online engagement ring shop Brilliance now lets you 3D print trial rings so you can get a sense of the size of your dream diamond as well as its shape. And the size of the band, but who cares about the band, really? If you don’t have access to a printer, they’ll print out the 3D rings and send them to you to try out.
11. Franics Bitoni Cloud Collection: In what could be a major move for affordable interior design by way of 3D printing, designer Francis Bitonti is working with MakerBot to bring these beautiful pieces into your home for as little as $1 a file.
What 3D printing innovations caught your eye this month? Share them +/or what YOU are printing below!
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com