How often do you actually get flowers and need a vase to put them in? On your birthday, maybe? When a family member passes? So why bother storing a rarely-used fancy vase when this clever 3D-printable plastic widget turns a party balloon into a decent place to keep a few flowers alive?
Designed by Evan Gant, the simple BalloonVase looks precarious, but once filled with water the base of the balloon expands, giving it more than enough stability to keep a few flowers upright.
You can buy one from Shapeways, or just print your own -- if you're comfortable with 3D modelling software and desperate to find a use for that 3D printer you spent a few hundred bucks on. But as clever as this creation is, it's yet another reminder that the 3D printer isn't exactly the replicator that Star Trek promised us. Instead of churning out hot meals, tea, or tools on demand, the consumer-ready versions of these machines have been mostly relegated to creating plastic novelty items with minimal functionality.
If balloon vases are the real future that Star Trek incorrectly predicted, a handful of fresh cut flowers aren't going to relieve our disappointment.