Rent a 3D Printer-Is It Feasible For Your Business? We’ll Show You!

four people two printers rent a 3d printer

Commercial grade printing machinery like 3D printers can be leased. They are quite expensive and every person cannot afford to buy one.  If you get occasional printing projects, you can rent a 3D printer for some time.

3D Printer rentals are a booming business right now and for good reasons!

Freelancers and hobbyists get complex projects from time to time that can only be completed on a high-end 3D Printer. However, such projects are not consistent. Sometimes you get 4 or 5 in a few days and sometimes you go for months without landing a job.

If that is the case with you, then consider renting out a printer without investing a lot of money into the printer. Therefore, this helps keep your overhead low.

In this guide, we look at ways to rent a 3D printer and how to make a good profit from them.

Who Rents A 3D Printer?

The 3D printer renting industry is booming among hobbyists, students, crafters, gamers and miniature collectors. Even corporate businesses are getting into 3D printing for their product launches.

Commercial business researchers use 3D printers for creating prototypes of their new products for testing and surveys. This has been common in the engineering, construction and vehicle manufacturing businesses. Toy manufacturers are also adopting 3D printers for prototyping.

Although the price for 3D printers has come down in the last decade, it is still not a viable investment for businesses that only need to make a few prints every now and then. Instead of paying a huge sum upfront, you can lease out the machine for a fixed-term contract.

3D printer renting is fast becoming an appealing solution for rapid prototyping. It is ideal for users who are on a short deadline and don’t have the money to spend on purchasing a 3D printer.

Finally, 3D printer leasing is particularly attractive for small batch production companies that produce customized objects and prototypes. 3D printer leasing offers greater accessibility to users from all parts of the world

Renting also helps businesses stay up to date with technology.

What Is a 3D Printer Rental?

There are two ways to rent a 3D printer. The first involves an agreed lease term where you will buy out the printer at the end of the term period. The second involves only paying the rent for using the printer, without buying it out.

The Buy-Out Lease for 3D Printer Rentals

The 3D Printer purchase rental consists of a leasing contract between the buyer and a banking/leasing company. The leasing company purchases the printer from the manufacturer and leases it out to you for use.

You will need to make regular payments to the leasing company for the agreed period of time. Leasing terms are generally from 1 to 5 years, but could be longer or shorter, depending on your terms.

The leasing company will add a premium to the cost of the printer.  This will be based on their interest rate. The total amount of premium is based on several factors.  For example,  the initial cost of the printer, duration of the lease and interest rate used.

The good news is that interest rates are relatively low right now, so your total premium payment is likely to be low.

Since the loan is secured against an asset, i.e. the printer, you get a relatively low rate of interest. At the end of the lease term, the printer is transferred in your name.

The Rental Lease

This type of lease is similar to the first as the leasing company pays the supplier’s invoice and purchases the printer. They lease it out to you for regular monthly payments.

The main difference with this type of 3D Printer Rental is that you do not get ownership of the machine at the end of the leasing agreement. The lease can be short term like 2 – 3 months and the printer may be rented out to different parties throughout its life of use.

The monthly payment for this type of lease also tends to be lower than a buyout where you are paying both the principal and interest.

Benefits of 3D Printer Rentals

Everybody benefits from the 3D Printer Rental arrangement. The manufacturer is able to sell their product more easily. The leasing company gets a profit for their risk in buying the printer. The user benefits by getting access to the printer without paying the full price upfront.

If you have a stable printing operation going on, you can easily make enough money from the printing jobs to cover the costs of leasing.

Many commercial equipment leasing companies also offer ongoing service agreements, warranties, trade-in programs, and other benefits (including tax benefits). This is because leasing companies have service contracts with suppliers and manufacturers that can benefit buyers.

You may not get similar agreements when you buy the printer on your own.

3D Printer leasing is a great way to gain entry into the printing industry. If you don’t have enough money for investing in a 3D printer, leasing can help you get started and save enough to buy your own printer in time.

Not only can leasing be financially beneficial to your business, in addition, it can also give you the ability to get ahead of other businesses and remain current with technology.

Finding A 3D Printer Rental Program

Several leasing firms offer 3D printer rental programs for users. For example, companies like Airwolf 3D, iMakr and Vshaper offer 3D printer rentals with a buy-in or return option at the end of the lease.

The companies do have some requirements that must be fulfilled before you can buy a printer. For instance, you need to rent the equipment for a minimum period of one week. You also have to pay a deposit amount.

The deposit will be refunded as long as the printer is returned in its original condition. Some rental programs also offer education and training.   3D printing training sessions may be available before renting the printer.

In order to lease a more expensive commercial printer, your company may need to have been in business for at least a few years. Some companies may also ask for your financial statements and income statements.  In addition, you may also be required to get loan insurance if your credit score is low or you only qualify partially for a printer.

Things to Ensure Before You Rent a 3D Printer

Unless you own a 3D printer as a hobby, chances are that you will be renting a 3D Printer for commercial printing purposes. If that is the case, then make sure that you will be making enough money from the printer to cover the installment costs.

Commercial printers cost around $20,000 to $250,000. If you are buying a high-end model for better print quality, your monthly installment could be around $1,200 to $4,000. Ask yourself, do your regular printing jobs justify this additional cost each month?  Check with your accountant to see if rental costs can be deducted as a business operating expense.

Successful printing entrepreneurs who rely on custom print orders each month can make $60,000+ each month. However, they also have to spend money on printer filaments, design purchases, electricity, promotions and other costs for their business. These expenses must be taken into account before you start calculating your take-home income.

In most cases, you will have to complement your 3D printing operation with other related products and services to turn a decent profit. Whatever the case, make sure that you are generating at least twice as much in profit as the monthly cost of your printer rental.

In addition, bear in mind the seasonal fluctuations in the industry. Some holiday seasons like Valentine’s Day, Comic Con and Halloween etc. see an upsurge in demand for custom-made props while the demand goes down during exam seasons.

If your printing operations see demands ups and downs like that, consider short-term or even weekly contracts for 3D printer rentals.

Boost in Productivity for Corporations and Schools

Printing businesses are not the only beneficiaries of renting a 3D printer. Corporations that regularly need to develop prototypes for testing can also lower their current expenditure on printing.

3D Printers can also benefit schools and educational institutes that provide 3D printing training to students. Here are some of the major benefits to consider.

  • 3D Printers can help reduce your production costs. The overhead cost of 3D printing is significantly lower than setting up machines for special production orders. They are also cheaper to maintain and service due to fewer moving parts.
  • 3D Printers offer much greater customization than any other production machine. Simply change the input design and the printer will adjust itself to produce what you want. The printer can be easily adjusted to produce different component parts for larger projects
  • If you compare 3D printers to the traditional manufacturing units, 3D printers occupy a much smaller space. Yet, they produce similar and even better final results.
  • 3D Printers do not require a lot of labor to operate. Most of the recent 3D printers are 100% computer-controlled and built with Smart technology. They can be operated by a single person and you can even time them to operate remotely.

Other Options

In the final analysis, you may decide that purchasing a 3D printer is the best option.  If you don’t need a heavy output, commercial 3D  printer, please read my recommendations for Delta 3D printers here.

If your purpose is small items, please read my recommendations for the Best 3D Printers for Miniatures.

Final Thoughts

Many businesses and educational institutes are switching to 3D printing for learning and product development. This is particularly the case in the high-tech and prototype development industries.

In the past 10 years, printer prices have come down significantly, making them an attractive option for purchase. Printer leasing companies have also established their business in the market.

This has lowered the capital cost for buyers. Since you no longer need to make an upfront payment, you can simply lease out a printer and pay the costs over the lifetime of the printer.

This ensures your business remains up to date with modern technology, without tying down your funds. That is a perfect solution for high-tech firms and educational institutes.


Anita HC

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