Learn How to Make Money with a 3D Printer?

We are all always looking for ways to make good money! Right? With technology constantly burgeoning us into the new age, many have found clever ways to use it to their advantage. One mostly uncharted area is still using 3D printing to make money. You might be wondering how do I make money, unlike the large-scale manufacturing process wants with a 3D printer? Well, you’re in luck because that’s the topic for today’s informative guide. We will be going into great detail about how you can use a 3D printer and make money from it.

Don’t be confused! This article will not be suggesting that you make actual money via your printer. In many ways, that is entirely illegal, and also, it would be pretty hard to print real money without paper! However, jokes aside, you can form a decent business opportunity with this.

You just need to know how to begin. We think learning about 3D printers in more detail might be the best way to start!

What is a 3D printer?

In many ways, a 3D printer is quite like a regular one. You put something inside the printer, add some details into the machine, and voila! It will start printing your text. However, there is one key difference between 3D printers and conventional ones. You can make objects out of plastic with the 3D variety.

That’s pretty impressive! You just add in whatever details and graphics of the object you want to print and press Enter! Then using molten plastic, the 3D printer will magically push it out to create the thing in layers. It will wait till each layer has dried, and then proceed with the next one.

If you’ve ever seen sped-up videos of 3D printers printing out life-size objects, it is pretty exciting and fun. However, 3D printing can be a severe business, so knowing how to operate one is vital.

Let’s figure out whether it makes sense to even invest in a 3D printer with the basics in our mind!

Should You Invest in a 3D Printer?

Just as with all products in the market, you can find 3D printers in varying price ranges. However, their functions will also differ drastically. For example, if you want an affordable 3D printer, you can find the cheapest models at 300 to 500 dollars. In many ways, this is quite affordable if you’re going to learn how to make money from them.

However, whether you should invest in a 3D printer or not will depend on what your goal is! You can also buy better machines with more features in the 1500-dollar price range. If you want to cater to a specific industry or niche, there are even professional models that can be in a couple of thousands.

On the other hand, if you aim to print for the average consumer, it is not recommended to splurge the big bucks. It is because everyday consumers want affordably priced objects. They cannot pay the price that your local firm could. So, you can opt for a cheaper model in that case.

As we said before, the investment will depend on your end-use for the printer. Can you maintain the upkeep of your printer? Can you meet up with the demands they are setting? If yes, then go for the pricier model but only invest if you have a lucrative business model up and ready.

In today’s article, we will be discussing this dilemma for you! To make the concept even more precise, let’s go over the main advantages and disadvantages of earning money with a 3D printer.

Pros

  • Printing with 3D printers can result in more versatility concerning what you can print. You will have more flexibility to print items or ideas that the conventional manufacturing process cannot manage. This way, you can target a niche that the mass-produced system cannot keep up with right now.
  • The printing and creating process as a business owner using 3D printing will be much more cost-effective in the long run. You won’t need a ton of machines, components, and parts to get the job done. The best part is that with 3D printing, you can type in the commands and let the machine do its job. You can easily step away from the device and engage in other activities.
  • 3D printing is also a pretty decent way to help out the environment! Unlike the wholesale and large-scale manufacturing process, with 3D printing, you only need a specific amount. With the former, it requires large chunks of plastic or material that get wasted.
  • You can cater to medical or aerospace companies that need models or prototypes quickly. A decent-sized 3D printer can print an entire 3D model in under 2 hours. You will get a lot of business if that’s the case.

Cons

  • The most basic letdown or issue with 3D printing is that the material you use is challenging to find. It means that not all plastics have the right kind of melting point or structure to be easily printed and molded.
  • We mentioned this earlier, but 3D printing can be pretty expensive! Of course, the initial purchase is high, but what about its maintenance! The cost of buying the right kind of material and making sure your machine is working well can outweigh any benefits!
  • One aspect of 3D printing is that, unlike the large-scale manufacturing process, you need many workforces to engage with some necessary post-processing! Unfortunately, unlike the highly advanced machines in factories, objects made with 3D printers might need a little more post-processing at the end.
  • Another issue with 3d printing, for now, is that you can only print out objects of a specific With factories and machines, they make large structures. You, on the other hand, might need to stick to smaller items. So, if you want to print larger-sized orders, it might not be possible for now.

See alsoWhat Can I Make And Sell With a 3D Printer?

We have discussed a lot of exciting ideas by now. Now, we are getting to the good stuff! Let’s look at the top ways on how to make money with a 3D printer.

How to Make Money with a 3D Printer?

1. Rent out your 3D printer.

On average, 3D printers can cost you a couple hundred or a couple of thousand dollars, depending on what model or brand you purchased. Therefore, when you are looking to make some quick money, you should undoubtedly opt for this method! The demand for 3D printed goods is high.

However, the costs of owning a 3D printer of your own can be pretty high. Most people cannot afford one, and others cannot justify its maintenance! In this case, people will look for renting arrangements whereby they get access to the features of a 3D printer.

The benefit for you? You are getting a guaranteed amount of money on an initially expensive yet fruitful investment. The best part is that you won’t have to spend much money to get the word out. You can either post an advert on social media or use word of mouth to get the message across.

With just this, you can get pretty sweet monthly payments which you get to choose. Your customers will agree to pay more since it is harder to gain limited access to such a machine with complete freedom. And you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet business model.

2. Sell your creative creations online

Selling your tiny creations online can be another excellent way to make money with a 3D printer. Nowadays, you have a whole marketplace online with interested buyers coming to you with a simple word search. There are so many niches that you can target as well with 3D printing.

For example, many people love customized creations, so keychains, phone covers, and even pop sockets! However, the sky is the limit with the endless possibilities you could create. Some people pay good money to buy D&D miniatures on sites like Etsy! Who knows, if you have the right product, you could earn a decent amount.

Just remember that there might be a lot of people selling custom-made products online. So, you need to find a way to stand out from your competition. Sure, you can opt for competitive pricing but if you’re serving to fulfill a niche, set prices that elevate your product.

3. Turn it into a lucrative business

For this method, we suggest you opt for it if you already have a business that could incorporate the 3D printing options into it. We say this because a lot of people and tried and failed with this method. Yes, 3D printers and printing jobs that use this technology are becoming more common.

However, the issue is that the demand is not as high yet! If you live in a larger or metropolitan area, then maybe, but most people cannot afford the high costs of 3D printed objects. They will want you to lower your prices, and believe us, that will not lead to a decent payoff for you.

After all, you need to justify the cost of buying an expensive 3D printing device, don’t you? So, if you are the owner of a printing shop or you already make collectibles or custom orders, then this business model might be good for you! If that’s not the case, then you could go out of business very soon.

Starting slow can help establish you as a contender in the 3D printing market. However, do this gradually or quickly identify a niche and target them with higher prices.

4. Sell B2B

If you sell to individual customers, they might not be able to pay the higher costs of 3D printing; however, if you find a well-established company or firm that needs efficient and quick 3D printing, then you’ve got a lucrative model! If you are confused, let’s look at an example!

For example, say a firm makes furniture, and they want to start selling custom door knobs or handles. If they hire your services, you can do this for them. They can send in the designs and quantity, and if you have enough printers or workforce, you can do a lot of business.

However, you can do this from your home if you have a small setup! Low costs and high rewards if you play your cards right! It isn’t too tough to make money with a 3D printer, after all! You just need to play it smart and safe because buying a 3D printer is risky enough!

5. Teach an online course

If you think you know all there is to know about 3D printers and how to use them, this is for you. If you’ve been working with 3D printers for a while and think you can teach others, why not start an online course? Here, you will charge individuals money to learn the basics.

It will help if you can get a short online course or certification online! Nowadays, there are so many places that give you that extra bit of help to make things official. You will have more credibility this way and more confidence in yourself as well.

If these classes are in person, your students can even benefit from engaging with the machine in real life! Since many startups and small businesses might be interested in 3D technology, you might be catering to a wide variety of people! The possibilities become endless as long as you know how to market yourself.

We have now reached the end of our how-to guide to make money with a 3D printer. We’ve tossed around quite a few ideas, and we hope that users can relate to one that works best for them. Like we said before, buying a 3D printer can be a risk. However, it can also be rewarding. Hopefully, today’s discussion has made a choice a bit easier for you.

About David Shelton

Besides many test devices, David now has his eighth own 3D printer running and loves to print as a hobby for family, friends, and himself. He has over a decade of experience in 3D printing. He is happy to share his experience with each new article to help all of you regarding your printing queries! In his spare time, he loves to travel and watch obscure cinema. Happy printing!!

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