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  • Writer's pictureMarc Primo

How to make money with your 3D printer

This is an article ‘How to make money with your 3D printer’ by Marc Primo

There are many income opportunities for today's tech-savvy generation. One terrific way to profit off your creative skills is via 3D printing, the process of creating a physical item out of a three-dimensional digital model, usually by applying several successively thin layers of material. Are you ready to turn your passion for 3D printing into a profitable side hustle? Or are you simply looking for ways to offset the costs of your hobby? There's no doubt that you can earn more if you invest in a 3D printer.

The world of 3D printing is rapidly expanding. There are plenty of clever ways to turn your skills and equipment into cash. While specialized 3D printers can come with quite a hefty price tag, the possibilities for profit can be as creative as you are. From printing your custom designs and prototypes for businesses to selling your unique creations, anyone can quickly enter the market with their own products by simply using a 3D printer. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newbie, the future of 3D printing is certainly exciting!

Here are some ways you can maximize what you earn if you have a 3D printer:

Do some research on what people are talking about

3D printers have revolutionized the manufacturing industry, providing a cost-effective and efficient way to create a wide range of products. One of the most straightforward ways to make money with 3D printing is by selling your designs on online marketplaces such as Shapeways, Thingiverse, or MyMiniFactory. These platforms allow you to upload your designs and sell them as digital files or physical products.

You can earn a substantial income from selling your creations if you're a skilled designer. According to a report by 3D Hubs, the average designer makes $3,000 per year from selling their designs online. From custom toys to personalized mugs, there's practically nothing you can't create and sell using a 3D printer.

Exploring sites like Pinterest can give you a good idea of what people are looking for in the market. You can find fantastic inspirations and concepts before creating your own designs or models. Complement your Pinterest boards with detailed market research, and you're off to a good start in the 3D printing business.

Be creative with your designs for sale

Once you have your model or prototype figured out, explore various design studies for your product using a 3D modeling program. You can check out software such as Tinkercad, SketchUp, or Fusion 360 to generate worthy designs that appeal to many customers on online marketplaces. No need to worry if you're not too familiar with these programs, as most of them are user-friendly and have a wide range of tools to help you create more detailed and accurate designs.

After you're confident with your designs, the next thing to do is to set up an online shop where you can sell your 3D-printed products. Whether you create your brand and website or choose the more cost-efficient method of exploring online marketplaces like Etsy, it's always best to calculate your overhead costs and project how much you can earn before setting up shop.

With Etsy, signing up is free and holds little cost for commission on every sale you make. That means you can still have a few bucks to advertise what you sell via paid ads on Google to attract more leads and gain substantial visibility. Online marketplaces are highly competitive for individuals who sell their wares even to targeted audiences. It's always crucial to market your 3D-printed products via social media posts, running ads, or even hiring an influencer to help you sell more products to more lookalike audiences.

Once you start selling your products, tracking your sales and customer feedback is essential. Doing so will help you identify areas for improvement or determine which designs or marketing strategies need some tweaks. Continuously refining your products and advertising efforts will help you stay competitive and grow your business.

Create customized designs

Another novel way to make money with your 3D printer is by creating custom products for special needs customers. These are individuals who allocate budgets for custom figurines, jewelry, prosthetics, or other small objects with special functions.

You can reach out to potential customers via social media, visit specific communities centering on specialty products, or check out other sites online. According to recent data from Etsy, the average seller on the platform earns around $1,800 per year from selling handmade specialty items but could go as high as $3,000.

If you have a knack for designing and engineering prototypes or models for businesses, you can explore such a venture to earn more profit. Try offering your services to brands looking to create signature items to push their brand in the market, and you'll have regular clients in no time. This move can also be highly profitable, as most brands with a decent marketing budget are often willing to pay top dollar for high-quality prototypes. To give you a ballpark figure, the average cost of a prototype is $3,000.

How much can you earn via 3D printing

3D printing can be a highly profitable hobby for those with the skills and creativity to make it work. From selling designs online to creating custom products, there are many ways to turn your passion for creating and designing into a profitable business.

An average 3D artist can generate an annual income of up to $53,000. If your product meets the demands of a sizable market segment's needs, it's safe to say that your business has tremendous growth potential. If you have the space to create more extensive 3D printed merchandise, then all the more will your profit go up.

The secret lies in marketing your brand and investing in designs and prototypes to attract potential clients. Setting up a team who knows their way around a 3D printer is an advantage, and so is keeping your printers in tip-top condition. Once you succeed in both, along with all of the tips we've mentioned above, chances are high, and you'll turn in higher profits for an enduring business built for the long term.

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