Welcome to the fascinating world of 3D printing, where creativity meets innovation, and the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re a hobbyist, a small business owner, or simply someone intrigued by the potential of this groundbreaking technology, this blog post is for you.
The rise of 3D printing has revolutionized the business model worldwide. From manufacturing to healthcare, architecture to fashion, this technology has disrupted traditional production methods and empowered individuals to bring their ideas to life. With a 3D printer at your disposal, you hold the power to create customized products, prototypes, and even art pieces with remarkable precision and efficiency.
So, how can you turn your 3D printer into a source of income? Let’s dive right into this business model.
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing is a method of creating solid objects from a digital design by using a 3D printer. It is additive manufacturing in which an object is created by laying down layers of material. 3D printing is the opposite of traditional subtractive manufacturing in which the object is created by cutting down the material.
3D printing wastes less material than traditional manufacturing processes. Materials used in 3D printing can be plastic, ceramic, concrete, metal, paper, and edible materials like chocolate. 3D printers need materials in the form of wire, powder, filament, or liquid resin.
How Much Money Can You Make With 3D Printing?
This depends on various factors like the amount of time you spend in this field, your knowledge and expertise, and your niche. It depends on niches like:
3D print designing
3D print service
3D print consulting
Selling 3D printed toys
Creating 3D prototypes
All of these niches have different earning potential. Prototyping work will be on the higher side while making toys will be on the lower side. If your 3D printing solves a big problem, then it will make more money and vice versa.
For example, Adam wants to print his broken door handle and Ken wants to print a prototype for the products that he will sell. Who do you think will pay more? Of course, Ken’s product is more valuable than Adam’s and he will be willing to pay more.
Top 10 Awesome Ways to Make Money With 3D Printer
These are the best ways to make money with a 3D printer. Some of these ways even don’t require you to spend money on a 3D printer or run your own business. However, you need to know that these are not quick rich schemes. Instead, these are real business ideas that require your time and effort.
1. Start a 3D Printing Service
Many businesses don’t have in-house facilities for 3D printing and they require these services. People will send their 3D designs and you will have to print and ship them. Many industries pay good money for creating custom items, digital files, and replacement parts.
Starting a 3D printing service is easy and costs low. You only need a 3D printer to sell prints. In the beginning, you can start with a basic 3D printer. If you don’t have enough budget, then you can rent it.
This is a (POD) print-on-demand business, which means you only print when you get an order. There is no need to maintain the inventory. The rate of 3D printing will depend on the following:
Shipment costs, etc.
There are different 3D printers and software available in the market. Before starting a 3D printing service, you need to do some research on 3D printers and software to use so that you get the best 3D printer according to your needs. You also need to market your services to attract clients and sell prints, especially at the beginning of your business.
2. Sell 3D Printed Products on Online Store Like Etsy, eBay, Amazon
The second on our list is to sell 3D-printed products on Etsy, eBay, Amazon, or your own online store. For those who don’t know what Etsy is, Etsy is a global marketplace just like Amazon and eBay but its specialty is handmade goods, crafts, and vintage items. Along with handmade items, there is a big target audience for 3D-printed products.
You can sell 3D-printed products like:
Home decor items
Stands for laptops and smartphones, etc.
Personalized items like keychains, soap dishes with the customer’s name on them
A quick search on Etsy, eBay, and Amazon will give you a long list of 3D printed items. You can also sell 3D-printed products to local businesses.
3. Make and Sell 3D Print Designs
Many 3D printer owners don’t have the skills to design 3D prints so they constantly look for new designs on various platforms. You can design 3D prints and sell them to those who need them and make more money.
You will need graphic designing skills to design 3D prints but if you can’t design yourself then you can hire people with this skill. You can find skilled people on online marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork.
You can design 3D prints for:
Home decor items
Electronic accessories and the list goes on
There are always people who are ready to buy those designs so finding a few potential clients is not an issue. But make sure to print the 3D print designs before selling them to check their accuracy. Print design errors can sometimes occur while printing and the output may not look the same. If you want to save money, you can rent a 3D printer first to test your designs and before you sell online.
4. Provide Design Services for 3D Printing
If you don’t want to design 3D prints and wait for them to sell, you can cash your skills by designing 3D prints for others. There are many marketplaces that allow you to provide your 3D design services like Sculpteo, Fiverr, Upwork, etc. You can also create your own website and find clients outside these platforms to avoid platform dependency.
3D printing design is in-demand because not all 3D printer owners can design and they need someone to do this for them. That’s where you come in.
5. Create 3D Prototypes
The next one on our list is creating 3D prototypes. Businesses use 3D prototypes to see a 3D representation of products before manufacturing them commercially. This helps them to see how the product will look before investing in its commercial manufacturing and to get feedback on how to improve the product.
In the beginning, you can provide your services to local businesses and when you get some solid skills and expertise, you can then approach international companies. There is a lot of room for growing and scaling your business.
6. Create Content on 3D Printing
If you have a passion and expertise in 3D printing, you can create valuable content on your own YouTube channel. 3D printing is a new skill and there is a large audience who want to learn it. You can make video tutorials teaching people how to use a 3D printer, clips of printing products using a 3D printer, and videos that teach 3D printing designing and CAD software.
Creating a Youtube channel may seem easy but it’s not. It requires time and effort. You need to be consistent in creating and posting videos on YouTube. The growth can be slow but it’s scalable. As 3D printing is a relatively new avenue, you need to be consistent and creative to establish your channel and attract viewers.
Once you grow an audience base, you can promote affiliate products and collaborate with manufacturers to promote their own products and 3D printing. You can also create a paid course on 3D printing and your loyal audience will happily buy it.
There are a few different ways to create content on 3D printing. You can also choose to blog about it if you prefer writing to shooting videos. But just like a YouTube channel, creating and monetizing a blog requires time and effort, too, along with consistency.
7. Write Books on 3D Printing
If you are a 3D printing expert, another great way to make money is to write books or ebooks about 3D printing. Keep in mind that your content should be valuable so that people will buy it. Writing a book requires a one-time effort in the beginning and will make you money month after month once it’s published.
After writing a book, you need to publish it somewhere. You can try contacting local publishers to publish your book but most good publishers usually don’t publish new writers. Another way is through Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Through Amazon, you can self-publish your book and become a published author instantly.
You can publish two types of books through Amazon KDP, one is a paperback which is a physical book, and the other is an e-book which is a digital book. People prefer ebooks because they are cheaper than physical books but provide the same value.
Another benefit of writing an ebook is that you can use it as a lead magnet. If you have a blog or planning to create a blog on 3D printing, then you can use it to get leads and subscribers. Ebooks can also be used to show your authority in the field of 3D printing. If you provide other 3D printing services, then you can send your ebook to your potential client to portray your authority and expertise. This will lend you more clients.
8. Create an Online Course on 3D Printing
Another way to create passive income through 3D printing is to create an online course on 3D printing. Creating an amazing course on 3D printing will require time and effort initially, pretty much like writing a book. But it will make money for you passively whenever someone buys your course.
You can sell your course on platforms like Skillshare, Coursera, and Udemy. These online learning and teaching sites will not only host your course but also market it to their prebuilt audience base. However, keep in mind these platforms will take a certain percentage of your sales.
9. Become a 3D Printing Consultant
Another way to cash your 3D printing skills is by becoming a 3D printing consultant. 3D printers are relatively new and expensive. Many businesses are thinking of adopting them. But they may be confused about various things like the type of 3D printer they need, or whether they need it or not in the first place. You can help them decide which printer they should buy, how they can get maximum output from their 3D printer etc.
You can charge per hour for consulting. Finding clients, in the beginning, will be difficult, as you don’t have any consultancy experience and reputation yet. You can participate in Facebook groups on 3D printing and LinkedIn to provide guidance on 3D printing. This will help you to build a reputation and attract potential clients.
10. Rent Out Your 3D Printer
If you have a 3D printer and you are not using it, then you can earn passive income by renting it out. You can loan it to schools that need it for printing education models or to engineering students who are looking for 3D printers for their academic projects.
There are many people who want to start a 3D printing business but can’t afford it, you can also rent out your 3D printer to them.
You can make money with 3D printers in many ways. It is a new avenue with a lot of opportunities. You can sell 3D printed products, help businesses to make 3D printed products, and teach 3D printing through your Youtube channel or blog. It can be a good side hustle or a full-time business.
Consider these suggestions on how to make money with a 3D printer and choose the one that appeals most to you. Remember that the method that worked for someone might not work for you. So you may need to go through trial and error.
Earning through 3D printing is not easy but you can definitely succeed with the right effort, skills, and consistency.
Note: You can only sell 3D-printed products by following copyright guidelines. You can not print copyrighted products.