Make Money With 3D Printing – 8 Easy Ways in 2022!


latina woman placing her 3d printer How to Make Money with 3d Printer verycreate.com

3D printers have revolutionized the way that many look at the world of manufacturing and customized printing. They offer unlimited opportunities for designers and entrepreneurs to create whatever they want and sell their crafts to the public. You can also start your own business and making money with a 3D printer.

In this guide, we look at 8 ways for creators to start and run their 3D printing business to make money with a 3D printer and generate a decent income.

8 Ways to Make Money with 3D Printers

With the costs out of the way, let’s take a look at different industries that have been transformed by 3D printing and how you can make money with a 3D printer.

Homemade Products and Crafts

Let’s start with the most obvious and common uses of 3D printers. You can use 3D printers to make money by crafting homemade products and personalized crafts.

These include everything from smartphone and tablet stands to cups, vases, dustpans, desk holders, eyeglass cases, keychains, bag clips, handles, and much more. You can sell these items online through your business page or get orders for customized objects that your clients want to buy.

planter how to make money with 3D printer verycreate.com
Customized planters are a perfect fit for 3D printers.

Creative businesses have gone out of their way to design and market beautiful home décor items using 3D printers. The 3D printed items we have seen in recent years include everything from furniture and cutlery to unique lighting fixtures and plumbing.

Creativity is the real key here. Look around your household. You are bound to find things you can design on your printer that you cannot find online. Some of the most creative examples we have seen include citrus juice squeezers and universal bottle openers. Simple yet efficient!

Jewelry and Toys

If you start an online business with your 3D printer, there is a good chance that you will get orders for customized prints that are not commonly available in the market.

For example, an action hero fan may be looking to buy a superman miniature with their name’s first letter across the shirt. But they won’t find that in the market. That is where you can offer a customized print.

Similarly, people looking to buy a customized piece of jewelry can order a 3D print from your business. Some jewelry businesses are starting to use 3D printing to make custom jewelry for customers. They report that they can significantly cut the cost of the process due to reduced labor.

The owner of one company cites a case where they used 3D printing to design and produce a piece that they sold for $105,000, where traditional costs would have been over $250,000.

red toy dinosaur how to make money with 3D printer verycreate.com
From basic to complex, 3D printers can create lots of toys that are marketable

It is important to remember that marketing is important here. You may not always get people to approach you first. Instead, you will have to proactively market your crafts and give people ideas on what is available. When they see good quality wares that can be highly customized to their liking, they are more likely to place an order.

You can also craft decorative items such as customized Christmas tree ornaments or shelf items that your customers can buy. Give people ideas on what they can buy, and you are more likely to get orders. The key to success with 3D businesses is to focus on experimentation,

Commercial 3D printing and selling items

Several businesses and individuals want to buy objects produced through 3D printing, but don’t have the equipment. It is not worthwhile for them to buy a printer for only one or two items that they want.

Additionally, many of them lack the skill to work as a 3D designer. This is where you can create a business to make and sell items for them.

overhead 2 printers and man laptop How to make money 3d printer verycreate.com
You can double your output with two 3D printers photo credit: shutterstock

Several freelancing sites have been set up online where freelancers can list their 3D printing services. The creators get an order for customized prints and get paid for the items that they produce with a small commission for the listing website.

These platforms are easy to join and the site also offers many resources, including design libraries to help out new businesses. All you need to do is start an account with a valid email address, list some details about your printer the type of projects you want to make and you are basically ready to start taking orders.

Some of the popular sites for this purpose include ‘Beyond 3D Hubs’, ‘imaterialise’, and ‘Shapeways’. These services are easy to join and also offer many great opportunities for people that are interested in making money with 3D printing.

You can join the one that meets your needs best, or even join multiple platforms to explore more possibilities.

Apart from 3D printer listing sites, you should also market your crafts and skills on social media. As we noted previously, proactive marketing is necessary for success. You never know where the next order will come from, so promote your business as much as you can on all available media.

Educate and Teach Your Skills to Others

man learning or teaching online How to make money with 3D printer verycreate.com
Teach online, in person or create a ecourse using a 3D printer

It is possible that you will struggle to get a steady stream of printing orders at first. You should not let that discourage you and find other possible ways to make money. One thing you can try is to educate the public on how to make 3D prints and what options are available for crafting.

The benefits of 3D printing are not very clear to a lot of people. The technology has mostly struck with the younger generation and techies. The general public is unaware of the benefits. Yet these are the exact people who can benefit from 3D prints and more likely to place orders.

There are very few sources to learn 3D printing so people don’t know what they can or cannot produce. This is precisely what can give you the upper hand in your area.

Focus on advertising yourself on various social media platforms by creating 3D printing tutorials and custom print videos. This can benefit you in two ways. First, this will help you market your business to more people. Second, this will help you build credibility and expertise in the market.

Once you establish your reputation as an expert, you can also offer online classes or make arrangements for regular classes to others who want to learn.

These simple advertising steps will spread awareness, and curiosity to learn. Moreover, you can teach others how this technology can help them earn a regular income as well. Establishing a teaching business takes some time but will be very productive if you have the skills to train others.

The truth is, it is easier (and more lucrative) to sell skills than selling end products. In addition, it is a respectable niche. So, go for it if the option suits your strengths.

Offer Design Services and Your Own Creative Projects

You don’t always have to sell hard products and prototypes. Software design and prints sell like hot cake in the growing 3D market.

There are plenty of online 3D websites where you can sell your designs. Some of them are computer graphics traders like Shapeways, Cults3D, Etsy, etc. These websites work on a “print-on-demand” model. That means printing businesses pay them a fixed amount each time they use a design.

man using design program How to Make Money with 3d Printer verycreate.com
Creating an original 3D program that you can sell is just one way to make money with a 3D printer. Photo credit Shutterstock

The more complex and useful print designs you can create the greater fee you can charge. The 3D print designing industry is still undergoing a lot of development. Establishing your brand as a cutting-edge designer can give you the necessary exposure as a business.

Blogging/YouTube Channel about 3D Printing

3D printing is mesmerizing and considered a new form of art. You can create amazing videos and tutorials that can attract an audience and give you a chance to earn sponsorships.

A number of 3D printing enthusiasts went this route and they have already built a respectable audience. They write blogs, on their own site and blogger or post-YouTube videos about their latest project that gets tens of thousands of views.

You can monetize these videos and blogs to start making money through marketing sponsors.

To become a blogger you will need to have some good writing skills and the ability to capture audience attention. You will have to post regularly, at least a couple of blogs each week, to build a substantial audience.

If you are good at writing and crafting blogs, this shouldn’t take a lot of time. Some 3D printing professionals publish blogs almost daily on what new projects they are working on, or the latest 3D printer to hit the market.

Making a YouTube channel is a bit more complicated. You can create videos as a monologue or add shots of the printer as it works on a craft. You can add tutorials on setting up the printer and how to fix printing errors. You will need to have a little confidence and good speaking skills to attract a regular audience.

The goal of blogging or a YouTube channel is to build a consistent audience that regularly comes to your platform. You can partner with YouTube or find other direct sponsors to help. Once you reach the stage where you are getting a regular audience on your content, you can sign up with sponsors to produce your content.

Prototyping Services

Another great way to make money off of 3D printing service is to offer prototyping services for other businesses, inventors, and academic projects. Prototyping is high in demand among professionals, business innovators, and academic researchers that work in architecture, design, engineering, and construction.

The 3D printing technology allows us to create accurate prototypes to scale that can be used in meetings and conferences. These 3D prints can be used to show the design of proposed products and/or construction work, or test the viability of an end product.

gazebo prototype 2 men How to make money with 3d printer verycreate.com
Collaborate with other creators to help them generate a prototype for their business

You can offer 3D prints that offer the following benefits over other traditional prototype models.

  • 3D printing decreases the time and cost of producing prototypes.
  • They reduce the probability of errors in the design or fabrication of the prototype.
  • They give you more control over adjusting and improving the design.
  • 3D prints allow you to create more variants of the same design.
  • These printers allow designers to create more complex end products from pre-existing prototypes.

Plenty of businesses and product designers have started using rapid 3D prototyping to test their products in the real world. The modeling technique has already proven to show a huge improvement over traditional methods.

For example, a European company YLE Engineers used a 3D printer from ZMorph to prototype the design of a bridge that they building. The ability to make a reliable, real-world prototype with little effort helped them test the model quicker and at a lower cost. It helped them test the finalized construction plan against simulated conditions that exist in the real world and helped refine them before building their construction.

Creating architectural prototypes is a long term project. It can take from several days to weeks or even a couple of months to finish. Make sure you charge the appropriate price beforehand so that you can cover the costs of time and resources invested.

What Makes 3D Printing Cost-Effective?

Before we start looking at ways to make money, consider the cost of inputs. 3D printing should cost you less than the price at which you can reasonably sell your crafts.

Thankfully, the price of 3D printers has been going down and you can get a professional-grade machine for a few thousand dollars. Even the most versatile, high-grade 3D printers are available for less than $10k. You should be able to recover the cost of the initial investment within 3 to 4 months.

Let’s consider operating expenses. 3D printing is based on additive manufacturing technology. It allows you to produce objects with a high level of customization and complexity while also bringing down costs. You don’t need to install a lot of heavy machinery or invest in very expensive production equipment.

dollar sign in 3d printer How to Make Money with 3d Printer verycreate.com
There are many ways to generate income from your 3D Printer

More importantly, the technology has advanced to a stage where we now have multitool 3D printers that are more versatile than ever. Some users even call these printers an all-in-one machine. These machines can be used to print everything from jewelry and decorative pieces to toys, desk objects, and a variety of useful household items.

Popular Platforms for Making Money with 3D Printers

Most self-employed individuals and small businesses making money with 3D prints are doing so online. It is easier to find both customers and print technology this way.

Here are some of the popular platforms that you should use to build your business.

Shapeways

Shapeways is one of the more popular online platforms that are dedicated to 3D printing online. A lot of printing freelancers are active here and businesses post orders for completion.

A good quality printer and decent design skill is a must here. You will often need to create customized models for clients that will have to be built from scratch. Registration is free for freelancers and businesses, and you only pay a small percentage of your earnings as commission. It is a good place to start.

Treatstock

This is another online hiring platform that focuses specifically on 3-D printing. The platform provides manufacturing services for the global market and technology infrastructure to optimize the way companies sell and operate.

Most of the service providers active on the platform are manufacturers that can print and supply a variety of projects. The only thing you need is to create an account and start bidding on orders for 3D products.

Fiverr

Fiverr is like the HQ for freelancing work online. The platform has freelance designers, writers, accountants, and a variety of service providers. Joining and leaving the platform is easy and you can offer services for 3D prints.

Customers that have worked with you can leave reviews about your quality of work. A good rating means a good reputation that can help you get more customers over time. A bad rating will turn customers away so you will have to provide a great service.

It takes time to build a reputation on the platform but once you get going, it can give you all the clients you will ever need.

MakeXYZ

This is a simple platform for 3D designers and printing businesses. It helps connect people looking for 3D prints with a printing service close to their location. Customers can place an order and then pick up their print at the designated time.

The platform is very easy to use and orders can be booked on your mobile. It has a rich interface and impressive features for clients and service providers.

3D Hubs

Last but not least, 3D Hubs is a freelancing platform similar to Fiverr but designed specifically for 3D prints. Buyers can place orders for a variety of parts and components for their needs and printing businesses can offer their services.

It offers all kinds of on-demand manufacturing and rapid prototyping from 3D prints to metal fabrications and injection molding. Give it a try if you offer professional-grade prototypes and prints.

Final Thoughts

3D printing is a serious business that offers plenty of ways to make money. The market is still developing and new entrepreneurs can adapt their services accordingly to offer a variety of prints.

You need to have creative design skills and printing knowledge to succeed in this potentially lucrative market. The competition is heating up so don’t think you will have an easy time with customers.

Still, there is a shortage of skilled designers and creators who can fulfill orders on time so you should be able to operate a successful business with an entrepreneurial mind. If you have more questions or want to add something let us know!

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Anita HC

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