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For most of us, 3D printing is still shrouded in mystery. This post will clear everything up and give you practical tips on how to make money with 3D printing.
This article deals with a modern technology that has grown in popularity in the last ten years. In particular, 3D printing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file, usually via additive processes. The most common materials used are plastics and metals to produce parts from computer-assisted design (CAD) files or from 3D scans of real objects.
3D Printing is a modern technology that has the potential to change the world. Currently, 3D printers are already being used by people around the world to make everything from toys to tools, to prosthetic limbs, and even guns!
Here are a few realistic ways that you can make money with 3D printing today – both online and offline.
How to Make Money With 3d Printing
1. Find a Local Retailer / Dealer Who Wants to Purchase One From You
I know it’s not the most exciting thing to hear, but if you have access to a printer that’s good enough, your best option for making money with 3D printing is still going to be finding people who want one and selling it to them.
The printer you choose will depend on what you want to make money with it, but there are a few important things to consider:
You need one that can print without too much downtime. Quality of output will obviously be important. The higher the build quality, the better – especially if your customers are paying good money for your job. You need either some kind of software or access to the files they want to be printed (which is probably going to be in STL/OBJ format).
If you really want to make money, you’ll also want a printer that can do more than one job at a time. For example, 3D printers can print in both ABS and PLA plastic.
The higher quality your printer is, the more money you’ll be able to charge.
2. 3D Print Custom Prototypes for Local Businesses
There are a number of businesses out there that could benefit from having you print them custom prototypes. For example:
Jewelry makers that need customized rings or necklaces. Watchmakers who need specialized parts and materials. Hardware manufacturers who want to test out a new ergonomic design or part. Most businesses need to prototype something before they can start mass-producing it (basically anything).
The possibilities for this type of work opportunity are endless, but it’s important to make sure you find a project that is worth your time and effort to do for their business. For example, if you’re a 3D printer expert and the custom prototype will take no more than an hour to print – then this is probably not going to be high on the priority list.
3. Selling Printed Subscriptions
Another way to make money with 3D printing is to sell printed subscriptions – basically providing printed material every month or annually. This can be a good way to supplement your income when you’re not making items with a 3D printer.
A lot of 3D printing enthusiasts have enough knowledge of the technology to provide this service, so it’s a good way to make money if you’re a hobbyist. It’s also a good option for those who already have a company in another industry, as designing and printing items are just an extra service that you can provide your customers.
On the other hand, it’s important to note that this business model requires a lot of time and effort. In order to have time for customers to receive your subscription, you’ll need to have some downtime in your day job. If you’re going this route, don’t forget about tax implications: you will be required to charge sales tax on your subscription sales.
The numbers behind selling printed subscriptions are slightly complicated and highly dependent on the type of product you’re selling. This is one thing to keep in mind when considering this option.
4. Use a 3D printer to upgrade or repair existing products
Small businesses of all kinds can benefit from using a 3D printer. For example, let’s say that a local coffee shop owner has a few items in his possession that he believes can be fixed by using 3D printing.
He could, of course, use the services of an official technician in this case. But he may also have the skills himself to fix the objects with the right tools and material, in which case he could just as well do it himself.
If he’s interested in adding 3D printing to his list of services, he’d be well advised to find out what 3D files are available online so that he can repair or improve upon them. Repairs and customization work are always good options if you want to earn extra money with 3D printing.
You can also use your skills to modify existing products for a lower price than buying new ones. As long as you know what the original product was, it’s quick and easy to adjust your 3D files to fit exactly and make the product look new.
5. Use a 3D printer to make holiday decorations
Now that the Christmas season is over, it’s time to move on to the next holiday – and that means you have a whole new set of opportunities to make money with your 3D printer. Some of the best options include creating custom decorations for Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, as well as various other holidays, events, and celebrations.
You can even make something extra special for your neighbors.
Carefully study your customers’ needs and preferences to make sure that your 3D prints fit their requirements.
6. Offer printing jobs to people who need them
If 3D printing is something that you’re particularly interested in learning more about, why not offer your skills to people who want a custom-made product but are short of time or resources? That’s exactly the approach that 3D Printing Place took with its “Print for Me” service.
The only problem is that it’s not free to create a custom object. In fact, you’ll always have to charge at least an initial minimum fee of $20. But if you can offer results to your customers quickly, then your customers won’t mind paying a little extra for them.
And if you’re able to print within 24 hours of order, then you’ll make good use of the “Print for Me” service as it enables people to get exactly what they want with no shipping delays or cost increases.
7. Make large-scale items
3D printing is the ideal technology to custom-make large volumes of small items. It’s a perfect business solution for printers who have accumulated a wealth of 3D models, templates, and other resources that they can use to print a huge number of small wallet-sized keychains, for example.
The same principle applies to toys. The 3D printing industry is growing and it’s expected to enjoy a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8% between 2015 and 2020. The CAGR is even higher – 21.6% – if you’re only looking at the children’s toys segment. That means there are plenty of voids that you can help meet with your 3D expertise and printing capabilities.
Besides printing, you can also sell on the financial side by buying small toy parts from wholesalers and selling the assembled toys to retailers.
8. Make money with 3D printing by selling information about your industry
If you’re keen to explore making money with 3D printing, then it’s worth looking for ways to showcase the technology. One of the best ways would be to set up a website that shows off all of your expertise, showing people how you’ve been using it to make money.
Perhaps you could even start a blog where you regularly write articles that highlight different uses and applications of this exciting technology.
9. Sell 3D Designs Online / Offline Directly To Customers
You’re going to need to develop your 3D design skills and start making things that are both desirable and relevant to the things people want. For example:
If you’re a movie fan, you could make design items related to the movies you like. Maybe it’s custom action figures or a replica of the title screen from your favorite TV show? The ideas are endless, but so is how much money you can make if you’ve got talent and a good sense of what people want.
Develop a large following and engage people in the same way that other artists do. For example, if you make custom action figures or movie replicas, you could sell prints of your works directly to your customers in exchange for them buying a print online.
How much money can you make from 3d printing?
This is a question that has been asked by many of those who are interested in 3D printing or have already begun to dabble with it. The answer, however, might not be as straightforward as you might think.
The truth is that there are many ways of making money with 3D printing – some legal and some not so legal. There are also different methods for determining what you can make on the job front depending on your skillset and proficiency level.
While it is impossible to come up with exact figures for the types of jobs that can be obtained, there are ways of determining the answer to this question. A quick Google search will reveal various lists and examples of 3D printing jobs, some that are more serious than others.
Another way of answering this question is by considering what factors affect your income when it comes to 3D printing.
These things include the following:
Your proficiency level
3D design and printing require a certain learning curve. If you are just starting out, you will not be able to command a high salary. However, as you get better and more experienced, the pay rate will increase.
If you have specialized skills when it comes to computer design programs, for instance, having a good understanding of how things are put together and how this impacts 3D printing will help.
Depending on the type of job or project that is offered to you, your salary could be lower or higher. Some of these jobs are for artists and designers who are not proficient in 3D design and printing. On the other hand, there are programmers and those that specialize in advanced techniques for which you might be compensated at a higher rate.
The kind of organization or company that you work for
A specific type of company or organization might pay better than others, but this will depend on the skillset of their workforce. Some would want to hire people with very specialized skills while others could afford to hire those that only have the basic knowledge.
The size of the organization that you work for
This is a common factor with most jobs. If you work in a small organization, chances are that you might only be paid well enough to cover your living expenses. However, if you work for a large company or organization, chances are that you could command very high rates.
It is critical to note that these are just some factors in determining what salary you will make with 3D printing. Most of them, however, might not apply to you as an individual. To get a general idea of what can you make with 3D printing, here are some rough figures that have been provided by reliable sources:
- A program manager might be paid between $75000 and $20 per hour.
- A generalist in the industry could be paid between $64000 and $160 per hour depending on the kind of company or organization that he works for.
- A specialist with a PhD in science and engineering could be paid between $75000 and $200 per hour.
- A manager with a lot of experience can make around $26 per hour.
It is also important to consider the type of 3D printer that you are using when it comes to determining how much money you can make on the job front. If you work on a high-quality printer with advanced capabilities, you could be paid more than those who are working with a cheaper model or with one that is basic.
3d Printed items that Sell
Print historic landmarks and documents with your own high-quality models
As we mentioned back in our first section, the best way to make money with 3D printing is to use it as a marketing or promotional tool. One of the best uses of this technology is that you can print to order models of anything, and then deliver them in a very short period of time.
These models are durable and high quality – they look just like the real thing. They’ll make people feel confident about buying your product if they want it to look exactly as it does in 3D. So print historical monuments and official documents with your own materials, as well as other iconic items that are sought after by collectors.
Make money with 3D printing by making custom mugs, t-shirts, and other items
Customization is another key area that benefits many businesses. If you can design your own products, then you can add personal touches that exceed expectations. You could offer customers printed promotional materials so that they can create their own designs or use them to create t-shirts or other items to wear.
For example, if you’re a clothing store owner or a specialized manufacturer of any kind, then you might be interested in creating custom products that are highly sought after.
Make money with 3D printing by selling customized figurines
If you’re looking to make money with 3D printing, then making custom models could be a great option. You could use your models to promote your business or earn valuable extras as gifts and prizes.
You might start by offering figurines and other suitable products as prizes. This will give you a way to make money with 3D printing by selling products that you create one by one.
3D printing is an important invention that is used in a huge number of different areas. Many businesses will use 3D printing to create prototypes, models, and other products as well as other items that can be used for a variety of purposes.
The main reason that 3D printing is beneficial to businesses and businesses is the fact that it has revolutionized the way in which products can be created.
A large number of different businesses are going to make use of 3D printing in order to make their products and other items more desirable and appealing. The best way that you can use 3D printing is to provide high-quality services because this will attract a lot of customers who will be able to benefit from your skills.
However, it is important to ensure that you are using the best services on offer and use the appropriate strategies to attract customers. If you want to make money on 3D printing, then you may want to consider a range of different options for making a few extra dollars. You could look at ways of advertising your skills, sell your own designs and also make money with 3D printing.
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