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How To Make Money With A 3D Printer: Top 10 Ideas (2022)

How To Make Money From A 3D Printer

“How to make money with a 3D printer” might just be the next big side hustle. The digital and manufacturing technology industry has been evolving rapidly in the twenty-first century and we have seen the ways innovations impact our lifestyles.

These new innovations create needs that give rise to new businesses that cater to the masses. 3D printing could be the next big thing for early adopters capitalizing on the first-mover advantage. 3D printing is in itself just a tool, it is the benefits it can bring that gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to make money with 3D printers.

How To Make Money From A 3D Printer
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Invention Of 3D Printers

The invention of printers gave rise to printing shops and created an add-on service for mum and pop businesses. The emergence of smartphones apps gave food establishments the ability to position themselves closer to their customers. The list of benefits that innovations bring to our daily life is a long and ever-growing list.

Therefore, by capitalizing on the benefit of 3D printers, it is feasible to use this new and revolutionary technology to print items and start making money from 3D printing. The list of 3D printer ideas stretches as far as the imagination. An enterprising individual can make money with 3D printers by selling 3D printed items or renting 3D printers out.

In this article, we will cover what a 3D printer is, what makes it such a revolutionary technology and some 3D printer’s ideas to get those entrepreneur juices flowing. In addition, we will also briefly touch on subjects such as the potential problem statement 3D printer ideas can solve and the solutions it can potentially provide.


What Is A 3D Printer?

What Is A 3D Printer
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3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing that uses a filament that contains particles of materials such as wood, metal, etc. to create objects. What you can make with a 3D printers will depend on the 3D printer quality, the design of the object, filament material used and skill of the craftsmen. The 3D printer will print base on the specific design file it was given before depositing layers upon layer of the chosen filament material until the object is complete.

The user of the 3D printer will have to follow 3 essential steps in the process.

Firstly, there needs to be an input of a designed file such as STL, that encodes the design of the object being printed.

Secondly, the material used for printing will be selected.

Lastly, the setting for the 3D printer has to be set to accommodate the design of the object.

While the 3 steps mentioned above might seem simple, there are actually numerous intricacies within each phase. The design file will require design skills if the user does not wish to download a design template, the materials chosen needs to be compatible with the 3D printer model and the settings of the printer requires calibration for troubleshooting. These are but some of the skills a user might need to acquire for the optimal 3D printing output.


Is It Possible To Make Money From A 3D Printer?

Is It Possible To Make Money From A 3D Printer
Photo by ZMorph3D on Pixabay


Therefore, while it is possible to make money with 3D printing, it is not as clear cut as most would assume. However, this ability to create complex and functional objects from the comforts of one’s own home has given it center stage in the fields of practical innovations. 3D printing has the potential to empower individuals with the ability to easily and cheaply create items with relative flexibility.

This, in turn, creates an opportunity to make money from 3D printing and selling 3D prints.


The 3D printing Revolution

3D printing is opening up new markets as a revolutionary piece of everyday technology. To find a fit and adoption, 3D printing has to provide solutions to current pain points. Micromanufacturing is the greatest benefit of 3D printing that allows people to make money from 3D printing.

For the everyday user, acquiring custom made items can be costly as manufacturing cost decreases with the scaling of volume. The range of what you can make with 3D printing has given the everyday user the ability to create unique products that cater to a specific need without incurring a costly manufacturing bill.


Applications Of 3D Printers

This application is useful for small businesses, schools, and households without access to economies of scale. Another revolutionary benefit for 3D printing is the ability to create items instead of buying them from shelves. For example, why search and buy cupholders when you can just create them yourselves. This latter benefit then gives rise to opportunities to make money from selling 3D printed items among other creative monetization ideas.

At its core, 3D printing empowers people and those with access to a 3D printer have the potential to provide a service at low cost to others. Making money with 3D printing holds a similar concept to traditional ink printing shops. Ink printers gave rise to dedicated printing shops to cater to others without access to machines. It is not the printers itself that drive demand for it but rather the benefit it can bring people.


3D Printing Vs Traditional Ink Printing

3D Printing Vs Traditional Ink Printing
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The main difference between 3D printing and traditional ink printing businesses is the learning curve. Making money from 3D printing by selling 3D printed ideas might seem simple enough. But if one would look closer at its operation, then it becomes clear that there is a lot of coding, design and technical skills involved to do it well.

The range of 3D printed items that a person could manufacture before selling would depend on the machine on hand, the materials used, and the skills involved in designing and calibrating the process. While there are always templates out there on the internet to download, it is always more advantages to be able to design and troubleshoot the 3D printing process.

For example, a complex design might require the printing of support structures whiles the actual item is being printed or calibration of the 3D printer is needed to accommodate a change in filament material. Having those above-mentioned design and technical skills would extend the range of methods to make money with 3D printing.


Renting 3D printer

Before we delve into a list of 3D printer ideas, let’s look at an often overlooked yet simple way of making money with 3D printing. Renting a 3D printer to make money instead of directly making 3D printed items.

Renting out the 3D printer present certain advantages to aspiring 3D printing entrepreneurs. Firstly, there is almost no manufacturing cost incurred from electricity or materials. The other party renting it can bear those costs. Secondly, there is no need to learn design, coding or technical skills involved in 3D printing. Lastly, it is a straightforward and simple process. Therefore, aspiring 3D printing entrepreneurs looking to make money with 3D printing might look to take this route.


Top 10 3D Printing Ideas

In this subsection, we delve into the meat of things. As mentioned, 3D printers are able to empower individuals with the ability to make money with 3D printing. While not an exhaustive list, we shall explore 10 3D printing ideas.


1. Fake Nails Extensions

Fake Nails Extensions
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3D printers can be used to create fashionable products that have high resell value and low cost. Fake nails extensions are small, quick and cheap to produce. Making money with 3D printing requires some understanding of business logic. By having a high-profit margin, aspiring 3D printing entrepreneurs have the potential to make more money selling 3D printed items. In addition, Fake nail extensions require low storage space and have high customizability to suit the different wants of consumers.


2. Earrings

Another fashionable product, manufacturing earrings from 3D printing can be a potentially lucrative venture as they are easy, small and lightweight to produce. In addition, they have a high resale value as a form of jewelry. However, these strengths can present itself as a double edge sword as competitors looking to make money from 3D printed items can easily copy and duplicate simplistic designs. It is also important to take note of the type of materials used to 3D print the earrings because of potential skin sensitivities.


3. Rings

Small with high-profit margins, rings are a type of 3D printed item that goes hand in hand with 3D printing’s low labor and highly customizable nature. Rings can be created with 3D printers easily however, depending on the type of filament material used, the 3D printing machine might not be able to accommodate. Rings are worn by both men and women as fashionable items; therefore, the 3D printed item has mass-market appeal. In addition, the ability to quickly customize an order means that the manufacturing of such a 3D printed item has a high turn around rate.


4. Slippers

Slippers are another easy wearable product to 3D print. 3D printers can create different designs and shoe sizes making it a viable means of making money with 3D printing. A low involvement product, slippers can fetch a high price as a customizable product and be changed rapidly to keep up with current trends. Another idea for making money with 3D printed slippers is the option to create prototypes for professional designers on a limited budget. However, when dealing with wearable products it is essential to understand footwear and feet to avoid creating adverse effects from wearing the 3D printed slippers.


5. Figurines

Photo by 5598375 on Pixabay

3D printed figurines are slightly more complex to manufacture. This is because the 3D printer requires calibration to fit the design of the 3D printed item. For figurines with large overhangs or irregular shapes, support structures might have to be printed to support the actual 3D printing of the figurines. If the aspiring 3D printing entrepreneur has the technical skills to calibrate the 3D printer and design the figurine, then 3D printing figurine items is a way to make money with 3D printing. Figurines can fetch a high price for collectors and hobbyists alike.


6. Cups

An everyday household item, cups are common and have mass-market appeal. From functional cups to quirk designs. 3D printed cup items can help the would-be 3D printer entrepreneur make money with 3D printed items. 3D printed cups might not fetch as high a reselling price as some of the other 3D printed items on this article list, but they are easy to make and bring to market. If the 3D printing revolutionary becomes mainstream, it could really be a market shaker for mass manufacturers of everyday items. Why buy a cup when you can print one?


7. Vase

Beautiful with opportunities to branch out into complementary products, vases are not just containers but an addition to the space they occupy. 3D printing can create functional vases without the steep price tag. However, depending on the size of the 3D printer, adjustments have to be made to the design of the 3D printed vase item. Typically, cheaper and smaller 3D printers have smaller dimensions. Therefore, the 3D printing entrepreneur has to keep these parameters in mind when they think about making money with 3D printed vases.


8. Phone Case

The humble phone case that protects and beautify. Phone cases are an add-on accessory to any model of mobile phones. The advantage of 3D printing phone cases is the flexibility it brings to manufacturing as different phone models have different dimensions. Luckily, phone cases are relatively small and lightweight. As such, most 3D printers will be able to accommodate the 3D printed designs. A 3D printed item with mass-market appeal and low barrier to manufacture, phone cases are worthy consideration.


9. Product Mockup

Product Makeup
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An interesting take on the capitalization of 3D printers. Instead of creating end-consumer products for reselling or provide customization services, 3D printers can be used to make money by helping other designers and SMEs. Product mockups are essential for design professionals and students. This target audience might not have the budget or time to create an actual prototype. A 3D printer can solve their problem and provide a means to bring their creative creations to life. However, a deep knowledge of design, coding and technical skill is required to take on this 3D printing endeavor.


10. Ornaments

The adaptability and flexibility of 3D printing allow for various objects to be created. Ornaments are a potential candidate for 3D printing. They can take the shape and form allowed by the parameter restrictions of the 3D printer.


How To Make Money With A 3D Printer: Final Thoughts

The ability to make money with 3D printing is without question, feasible. The sky is the limit. And it only takes creative thinking. 3D printing is a relatively new trend in the consumer market. So, there are still plenty of opportunities to capitalize on it.

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