3D Printers have been all the hype in the past decade. So you’ve bought a 3D printer, now what? You’re probably panicking about justifying your new purchase to your spouse, but have you ever thought about making money instead of simply looking at it with wonder?
3D printing is an innovative way of producing new products. The process involves making a model of your desired product, which allows your 3D printer to produce items according to the set specifications.
How profitable is a 3D printer?
Let’s go over this first. Is it really possible to make money with a 3D Printer? The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no.
It all comes down to your niche. If the general consumer is your target audience that you’re 3D printing for, your profit margin won’t be as high because you would be making day-to-day things for personal use. Making cheap things will barely cover the costs and won’t be worth the labor and the amount of time you’re investing in it.
But, if you’re 3D printing something that replaces a pricey item or solves a rather costly issue, your customers would be more than willing to pay you a lot more.
3D printers make great gifts for consumers that can scintillate creativity and encourage entrepreneurship. The options are almost limitless, including the ability to make a hefty profit with your printer.
So, to get you started, here are some ways you can use your 3D printer to make some decent income.
Ways to make money with 3D printing
1. Sell your 3D items on Etsy
One of the biggest marketplaces for 3D-printed items is Etsy. Professionals and many hobbyists prefer Etsy because of its large following of people into handmade things. Whether you’re selling something pre-made or customizing it to your customer’s specifications, Etsy has it all.
Etsy is a great way to start an online shop and gather profit from Etsy’s large audience, especially when you can save a lot because the ad features on Etsy are cheaper than Google’s.
The only disadvantage here is that, just like any other business. It takes time for a store to build a loyal customer base and the profit margins are low in the beginning. Plus, the majority of your business is in Etsy’s hands.
2. Offer specialized 3D printing
This is great if you can find a specialized area of work that interests you and offers good profit margin. There are a number of niches that you can choose to offer your 3D printing services for, like:
- Jewelry Designers
- Toy Makers
- Architecture Firms
- Engineering services with prototype models
- Miniature designers
3. Start your own 3D printing business in your local area
Starting your own business with 3D printing as your niche is one of the trickier and more challenging options on this list—but it’s not impossible. If you live in a major city, you will need lots of capital and a solid online presence through which you can build a strong customer base.
You can also shift your business model and offer your services to local businesses as a side hustle. It will allow you to work with them on an as-needed basis and help you enhance your experience, while also helping you make good money. You can be as involved or uninvolved as you like.
For your 3D printing business to bloom, it’s a significant first step to launch a website and maintain a presence on social media so people can find you and navigate through what you have to offer.
Keep in mind that to have a business, you don’t necessarily need to have a designated shop in a building to be official. Start from your garage or a spare room. You can upgrade as the profits roll in.
4. Start your own blog on 3D printing
People love hearing from an experienced person’s point of view, so if you’ve got something to say about 3D printers, then this could be a great way to do it.
For instance, your blog can be the perfect place for beginners who are either just starting out or simply thinking about getting their own 3D printers, and need a head-start. You can also use a blog to target people of a particular niche, taking them through the steps of making their own items, and teaching them how to do it with various tutorials.
Blogging will give way to collaborations, as companies may want to run their ads on your website through sponsorships or pay you to write on their behalf. It’s a great hobby that doesn’t take a lot of time or investment to start.
5. Teach people how to 3D print with an online course
Blogging isn’t the only way to help you make money through your website. Because of COVID-19 and the world being forced to run virtually, online courses are also a profitable way of doing business. To make it a good experience for yourself and the students, the course needs to be well designed and offer the pupils value for their time and investment.
A great way to profit from this idea would be to start an online course that teaches people how 3D printers work and how they can make money with them. The course can be divided into a series of sessions that starts with introductions and the general working of a printer, and ends with ways of making money.
You can also have a course alongside it that takes people through the process of making different types of 3D models. This way you can also make money by selling it on your website or through websites like Teachable, showing people how to make their items and sell them for profit.
You can even partner with other experts in your field and have varied experiences and tips that you can share. The ideas and growth potential are infinite.
3D printing has opened doors for a lot of profitable business opportunities. The world is your oyster; seize it.