3D printing has literally exploded in the last couple of years. From a difficult-to-understand concept that was being employed mainly in the medical and in constructions industries, 3D printing can now be used by everyone on our planet, including people like you and me. What’s really amazing is that you can now even make money 3d printing various objects. You can start your own 3D printing business from the comfort of your home and earn a 5-digit revenue on a monthly basis.
Thanks to this additive manufacturing technology employed by 3D printers, you can design a multitude of products using a high level of complexity and customization. You can go one step further and use the powerful multitool 3D printers that allow you to do even more in a shorter amount of time. You can leverage the benefits of this invention and become a true helper to architects, builders, students and countless companies.
You can use a 3D printer in multiple ways to make money. You can offer commercial services, rent your printer, offer prototyping services, create homemade crafts and products and even offer 3D printing courses to corporations and schools. You can easily combine these methods to create for yourself a constant stream of income.
Below, we will dig deeper into the various ways you can make money 3D printing. Specifically, we’ll look at 5 unique ways to monetize your printer and start getting a passive income from the comfort of your home.
1. Offer your Printer as a Commercial & Residential Service
What can be easier than buying a printer and then renting it for commercial purposes? You can basically set up a site or a page on a platform and offer your printer to companies willing to use it. You can then send a quote to prospects interested in your service based on their needs.
In the beginning, it is wise to focus on your local area. You want to build your skills and increase your reputation, but at the same time you want to make it easy to send the printer to the customers’ address. Pickup and transport are two key elements of your business.
Because a 3D printer costs over $1,000, many people are not willing to invest in one. Thus, you can expand your leasing service and be willing to lease your printer to regular people who just want to test it out. You should create a different pricing plan for residential users. They will not be willing to pay you the same amount as a commercial company would. Of course, a commercial user will use it more intense than a residential user, so they should be charged more.
Today, there are many companies and individuals that want to use products made with 3D printers, but do not actually own one of these devices. They will look online for 3D printers to rent. Make sure you promote your service on social media, on your site and on specific sites. Here is a site that offer a similar service: https://www.imakr.com/content/9-rent-a-3d-printer. Be creative at advertising your service and you’ll soon find yourself ahead of the competition.
2. Print for Other People
Sites like 3D Hubs or MakeXYZ have grown in popularity quite a lot over the last few years. These marketplaces allow you, as a print owner, to connect with your potential customers, and print for them. All you have to do is list your printer on their networks and wait for local customers to contact you.
There are many busy engineers, business owners and consumers who are in dire need of 3D printing services. They will contact you with a specific job in mind, and should you accept, you’ll be able to create specific items for them. Then you’ll ship them to their address via FedEx or personally, depending on your choice. You will get paid big time for this.
As an example, jewelry designers are in great need of 3D printing services. They can scan their designs and then migrate to a more complex 3D model. They can send you an order for custom jewelry designs, and once you print a few prototypes, you send them back to them for mass production.
Another great platform you can try is Threedigo. This huge online marketplace allows you to connect to people looking for 3D printing services. After the customer uploads their prototype model and choose the proper material, you can satisfy their needs and send them the design they need.
As a rule of thumb, the client is the one looking to pick up the product from you. You can negotiate a better price if you choose to deliver the product to them. However, some customers will want to come over and see your printer as it is. In the end, you’ll be the one to discuss with each client the right outcome.
3. Offer Rapid Prototyping Services
This unique type of 3D printing service is in huge demand in 2019. Professionals who work in design, architecture, construction or engineering are in great need of printing prototyping services. What you can basically offer to all these people is a prototype produced on your printer. Then, the prototype is used for mass production by the contractor.
Professionals want rapid prototyping services because they can leverage the benefits of 3D printing: decrease time & cost of prototyping, allows for more variations, diminish the possibility of mistakes in design and also gain the opportunity to build a highly complex system that otherwise could not be built with standard methods.
As an example, the Polish company called YLE Engineers have used a 3D printer that was up there for rent to create a unique bridge prototype. They have managed to create a microscopic version of the bridge using a 3D printer, so they were able to simulate all the conditions of how a bridge would properly work. They’ve done this prototype at a much lower cost than using other methods, so they were able to save both time and money. To top it all, they also made the owner of the 3D printer rich in the process.
Another great example is GM, which have their own division of auto design. They use 3D printers to create prototypes of car parts and put them together in various variations to test out new features and additions.
Even architects can leverage the power of 3D printing to reveal their designs to the end customers. They can save precious weeks in the process, because they won’t have to wait anymore for a manual model to be created. They can 3D print their own models faster and easier. Plus, they can create more complex models that are really hard to create manually.
4. Offer 3D Printing Courses
Another way to monetize 3D printers is to focus on the need for knowledge that is in the marketplace and at universities. Top schools and businesses are willing to pay a hefty fee to a professional who knows all the ins and outs of 3D printing and can teach their employees/students how to properly use a 3D printer. Soon enough, many universities might choose to open up new roles of 3D printing teachers. Until then, we advise you to start offering 3D printing courses and expand your knowledge by leaving a legacy behind you.
The lower cost and increased versatility of 3D printing have convinced the management of Penn State University to hire numerous 3D printing experts. These experts have come well-prepared, teaching students how to develop custom products and how to experiment with 3D printing. They innovated and also discovered new uses of the 3D printers in the process. The same benefit you’ll experience when teaching others – you’ll become better at 3D printing yourself.
As a next step, technical universities will try to improve the way they teach engineering to students. The old approach which involves looking at diagrams and reading about great inventions will soon be replaced by a practical, hands-on approach on how to design & create components using a 3D printer.
5. Create your Own Products and Sell them
Lastly, you can make real money by getting into the market of personalized crafts and homemade products. For example, companies like Emerging Objects or American Standard are offering home décor printed products. Their list of printed items includes anything from door knobs and lighting fixtures to cutlery, furniture or even plumbing equipment.
Another great example of a company leveraging the power of 3D printing is Vowsmith. This US-based company produces custom bands and wedding rings for him and her. They work for large companies such as American Pearl. According to inside information, American Pearl has managed to cut the cost of some diamond rings by over 60% using the 3D printing method. As a result, they got a higher ROI and also invested more of their money into advertising. Moreover, they paid more royalties to Vowsmith.
The great news is that you can become the next “Vowsmith”. All you need to do is pick a niche, get started and get over the initial hustles and pitfalls.
You can basically create any type of object you want. If you have a multi-purpose 3D printer, things get even easier. It all comes down to the niche you’re in and to your creativity.
Let’s explore below some of the things you can create at home using a 3D printer:
- Electric device casings: any type of electronic or electric equipment requires strong casings to protect them from damage or unwanted substances. You can start creating sturdy casings using plastic or any other type of material. You can also create personalized casings based on the need of the customer. This is an ever-green industry, so you cannot fail if you manage to find a few clients that require constant production from you. Of course, you could also sell the casings online, on your own site or through affiliates.
- Kitchen equipment: creating kitchen equipment and cutlery on 3D printers is always a great idea, especially because these items are small and unobtrusive. You can create beautiful cups, plates, cutlery or bottle openers using a custom design that appeals to your audience. You can sell them online, on your own site, or you can find a distributor who knows will make a profit out of your 3D masterpieces.
- Architectural designs: another thing you can successfully sell are construction archetypes. Almost all architectural designs for buildings and bridges are done with 3D printers. You can start slow with simpler models and gradually create more and more complex models. While at first it might be hard to find the right customers for you, you’ll soon notice how architects you flood you with requests once you become a name in this industry. Note that this sector is also growing tremendously, so you can easily make a fortune by starting early.
- Jewelry, bracelets and other fashion-related accessories: ultimately, you can easily create your own site and sell your own models of bracelets, earrings, funky jewelry, necklaces and even bag handles. You can get some inspiration from other designs and then create your own logo and your own brand and market all of your products under your name. Soon enough, you might even become one of the most powerful jewelry sellers online.
You can easily make money 3D printing using one of the ideas above or by combining them. For example, you can lease your print to the companies needing one of these tools, while at the same time focusing on teaching students how to use a 3D printer. Or you can offer prototyping services and you can print for people who really need your service.
Ultimately, you can print your own products and sell them online. This business idea provides you with the highest ROI in time. You can rapidly scale your business and start making money in your sleep.
While the first four ideas are mostly active income methods, selling products online has the potential to become highly passive. This means you can start earning much more for investing the same amount of time.
3D printers have not just made our lives easier but have also enabled us to make money from the comfort of our homes. Leverage this hot opportunity this year and create your own successful business using this unconventional money-making opportunity.