Have you seen a cake that carries the logo of a company, someone’s photos or real-life pictures? If so, you’ve just seen one of the few products that a 3D printer can make. In fact, 3D printing is one of the fastest growing small yet unorganized businesses in the US.
If you’re looking for a small home-based business that could fetch you a lot of money, try making money with a 3D printer. Products and services from 3D printers are always in demand, regardless of where you reside in the US.
Depending on the types of products and services you offer, it’s possible to earn as much as $5,000 per month or even higher.
While making money with a 3D printer is fairly easy, you would definitely need a lot of skills to use this gadget.
Secondly, you will have to exert some extra effort to find customers. While anyone can master skills in using a 3D printer, here’s something else to remember: you need superb creativity too. Because most people look for 3D prints that’re unique or customized to their specific needs.
To begin with, let’s understand what is exactly a 3D printer and how it differs from the other ordinary printers that we often use in offices and homes.
Understanding a 3D Printer
A 3D printer is a type of printer that creates physical objects by building them layer by layer using a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and even food.
Unlike traditional printers, which print ink or toner onto paper to create 2D images and text, a 3D printer adds material layer by layer to create a three-dimensional object.
3D printing technology works by first creating a digital design of the object that is to be printed using computer-aided design (CAD) software. The digital design is then sent to the 3D printer, which reads the design and begins building the object by adding layers of material until the final product is complete.
One key difference between 3D printers and traditional printers is the materials they use. Traditional printers use ink or toner, while 3D printers can use a wide variety of materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and even food products like chocolate or dough.
Another key difference is the level of complexity that can be achieved – traditional printers are limited to printing flat images and text, while 3D printers can create intricate, three-dimensional shapes and structures.
Overall, 3D printing technology represents a significant advancement in the field of printing, allowing for the creation of complex, customized objects that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional printing methods.
How To Make Money With 3D Printer?
Now that you know a few basics of 3D printers, here’re some time-tested and proven ways to make money using this gadget. As I said earlier, your creativity and efforts in finding customers will play a big role in the success of your business and, of course, the amount of money you can make with a 3D printer.
1. Sell 3D Printed Products
You can design and print custom products for customers, such as phone cases, jewelry, home decor, and more. Set up an online store or sell your products on platforms like Etsy, Shapeways, and Amazon.
2. Create 3D Models
Use your 3D modelling skills to create original designs and sell them on marketplaces like TurboSquid and CGTrader. Customers can purchase your designs and print them on their own 3D printers.
3. Print and Sell Miniatures
Create and print miniatures for board games, tabletop RPGs, and other hobbies. Market your products on platforms like MyMiniFactory and Patreon.
4. Sell 3D Printing Templates
Develop templates for 3D printing projects and sell them on sites like Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory. Customers can purchase your templates and print the designs on their own 3D printers.
5. Offer 3D Printing Services
If you have a high-quality 3D printer, offer your services to customers who need custom parts or prototypes. You can advertise your services on sites like 3D Hubs and MakeXYZ.
6. Print Replacement Parts
Offer replacement parts for common household items or products that are no longer manufactured. Market your services on platforms like PrusaPrinters and Pinshape.
7. Create Customized Jewelry
Use your 3D printer to create custom jewelry designs for customers. Sell your products on sites like Etsy or create your own online store.
8. Print Customized Phone Cases
Design and print customized phone cases for customers using your 3D printer. You can sell your products on sites like Shapeways and Thingiverse.
9. Print Gaming Accessories
Create and print gaming accessories like controller mounts, joystick caps, and console stands. Sell your products on platforms like Etsy and Amazon.
10. Offer 3D Printing Workshops
Share your knowledge of 3D printing by offering workshops and classes for beginners. Advertise your services on sites like Eventbrite and Meetup.
11. Print and Sell Home Décor
Use your 3D printer to create unique home decor items like vases, candle holders, and lampshades. Sell your products on platforms like Etsy and Amazon.
12. Create Customized Gifts
Print customized gifts for special occasions like birthdays and weddings. Advertise your services on social media or create your own online store.
Selecting the Best 3D Printer
Before you rush to buy just any 3D printer to launch your own home-based enterprise, there’re several factors to consider. One of them is the features of a good 3D printer that suits your needs.
When selecting a 3D printer for your home business, there are several factors to consider:
1. Printing Technology: There are several types of 3D printing technologies available such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Digital Light Processing (DLP). Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose one that fits your needs.
2. Build Volume: The build volume determines the maximum size of the object that can be printed. Consider the types of objects you will be printing and ensure that the printer's build volume is adequate.
3. Print Resolution: The print resolution determines the level of detail that can be achieved in the printed object. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the object will be. Consider the level of detail required for your projects and choose a printer with an appropriate resolution.
4. Filament Compatibility: FDM printers typically use filament as their printing material. Ensure that the printer you select is compatible with the type of filament you plan to use.
5. Price: 3D printers can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Determine your budget and choose a printer that fits within it.
6. Customer Support: Look for a printer from a reputable company that provides good customer support. This will be important if you encounter any issues with the printer.
By considering these factors, you can select a 3D printer that will be suitable for your home business.
Cost of a 3D Printer
In the US, you can buy a good 3D printer with prices starting from as low as $99 for the basic and simplest types. However, sophisticated models can cost as much as $5,000 and come loaded with different features.
Honestly speaking, the basic printer will not be enough to make money with 3D printing. Therefore, you will need better types of 3D printers, which cost a little more. I suggest that you look for 3D printers that would cost about $500 each before moving onwards to highly sophisticated ones.
In fact, you might come across a good preowned 3D printer on websites such as eBay, Decluttr.com, Craigslist or even Facebook Marketplace, to name a few places.
Making money with a 3D printer is fairly easy, as you would have seen from this article. Once you have the necessary skills and a good gadget, it’s easy to create a marketplace for their products. There’re also some online tutorials on how to master the art of using a 3D printer.