How to Make Money with a 3D Printer: 3d Printing Businesses That Print Money (legally ;)

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We are all in awe of Iron Man’s super modern suit which can achieve almost anything in the world right from fighting the baddies to turning up for a rescue mission in the nick of time! At the same time, we have also cringed at the monster of a spider Aragog in Harry Potter. While we simply put the smart red and gold suit and gigantic arachnids under the ‘special effects’ category, little do we know that they exist in reality, thanks to the invention of the 3D printing technology.

A 3D printer is nothing short of a miracle in the modern world as it helps in the creation of a tangible product conceived from a computerized design. It creates a three-dimensional product using different technologies and materials. What’s more? It is a lucrative way of earning money as the world is steadily recognizing the capacity and the need to have viable 3D models to help them with their business decisions.

Earning Potential of 3D Printers

There are various means to earn money with the help of 3D printers. We will be exploring a few such options that will help you start your own business by harnessing this technology and convert it into a money-making venture.

1. Offer a 3D Printing Service

This is a great option to earn money if you already own a 3D printer or are planning to buy one but wondering how to utilize it. 3D printing services are in huge demand today and you can make the most of it by accepting orders from clients and delivering their needs.

You will need to take into account several factors before you decide to take a plunge in this business. The first is that you will need to understand and master the concept and techniques that are required in 3D printing. As a beginner, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time experimenting with different designs and their outputs.

3D printing requires knowledge of factors like variable height, travel speed and extrusion temperature since the output will be a physical product. It also requires you to decide on the best software that will convert your print file into a G-code to give you a better-finished product that matches with the requirement of your clients.

2. Sell Designs

You can also start selling your designs in the market if you are the creative type and are looking to increase your earnings in addition to offering a 3D printing service. The best way to start would be to leverage the advantage of using free CAD tools like TinkerCAD and SketchUp. Such tools will add a lot of value to your learning and designing abilities.

In case you are confused about where to start and how to design great products, you can take inspiration from designing websites like Thingiverse that help you to discover incredible models, design your own and share it with the world. The next step after completing a design would be to check whether it is watertight. This can be accomplished by using free tools like Netfabb and the Solid Inspector plugin.

Once your 3D design and printing are accomplished, you can sell it by listing it on popular websites or deliver them to your already existing clients.

3. Create a New Product

It is very easy to foray into the business of creating 3D products with innovative designs and models. It is not necessary for you to own a 3D printer if you wish to create new products as you can simply outsource the printing job to professionals like Solid Concepts for a fee.

3D printing offers a lot of freedom to entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in this field. It is this very advantage that gives them a better handle over the kind of product that they wish to create. As a potential product developer, you can easily create and modify your designs or look for inspiration from the achievements of websites like Feetz which produces 3D shoes and Shapify which is a popular website for printed figurines.

Though this is a cost-intensive business venture, it is also the most rewarding of all. You can begin by creating a website of your own to make it easier for would-be clients to contact you regarding orders. Once your website is through, start investing in professional-grade equipment that will come in handy for your business.

4. Teach 3D Printing

Teaching has always been an evergreen profession due to its demand and skills. If you are somebody who knows their 3D printing concepts well and loves teaching then you can make a good amount of profit by offering to teach the art of 3D printing to interested candidates.

3D printing is a detailed process where you need to start by creating a blueprint for a tangible product. It is not possible to create a product without the blueprint in existence. Similarly, there are various technologies and materials available which are used for 3D printing today. One cannot simply start 3D printing without being aware of the subtle nuances and that is where you can establish your credibility.

You can start tutoring interested candidates who are looking to learn all about 3D printing and mentor those who need additional guidance while working on a project. This is a very good opportunity to establish yourself and start making money from conducting tutorials both online and offline. 3D printing belongs to a niche segment at the present which is why there is an increased need to impart the skills of the trade professionally.

5. Market Products to Companies

Outsourcing is a buzzword in business today. There is always a need to supply more products in the market at a faster rate due to increased competition and a greater demand. You can put your skills to use by approaching product manufacturing companies and offering to create 3D prototypes of their products.

Even companies who have 3D printers of their own are looking to outsource their requirements so that they can focus more on strategy and market penetration. You can approach companies with a catalog of your own that displays your expertise in the field of 3D printing with some samples of your work.

Marketing is an essential component to make your business visible in the professional space. You would be surprised at the amount of work that companies require despite owning 3D printers of their own!

6. Customize Prosthetics

Did you know that hearing aids are created by using 3D printing? Not only do 3D printed products cost less, they are also available easily which is a great relief for people who find themselves using prosthetics. This technology is revolutionizing the prosthetic industry with its ability to create customized products according to the needs of consumers within a short time frame.

This service is especially beneficial for children because they would keep needing fresh prosthetic pieces as they grow up. The best example of 3D printing services in the field of prosthetics is the e-NABLE community that creates artificial limbs using 3D printing technology to assist those who require an upper limb assistance.

When produced using other means, these prosthetic devices cost a bomb. 3D printing offers an economical solution to people with special abilities to live a normal life by exploiting the benefits that this technology has to offer.

7. Make Props for Movie Sets

Movie props were under a strict domain of professionals who had the art to create fabulous sets and designs that would leave you awestruck with their grandeur. 3D printing has taken movie sets to the next level with their intricate designs and digital fabrications while being easy on the pocket.

You can enter this booming industry by offering your expertise in the field of 3D printing and prop creation. The movie industry is always coming up with innovative and futuristic concepts and set designs to depict an out-of-the-world experience with unique storylines, exceptional characters and grand costumes.

This has opened up a lot of avenues for you to create and use your 3D blueprints and designs and share them with the makers of the film. If all goes well then you can get your hands on a huge project which will give you a chance to showcase your 3D printing skills thereby carving out a niche for yourself in the industry and getting yourself new clients.

Bring Forth the Magic

Using the benefits of 3D printing to your advantage and converting it into a profitable business is a stepping stone towards embracing a technology that is bound to stay and grow. 3D printing technology provides some of the best solutions today when it comes to creating product prototypes to some exceptional project miniatures that students can use for their projects.

The technology is still in its nascent stage and has an exponential potential to grow. It is indeed a great opportunity for you if you wish to create your mark in the digital revolution that has gripped the world today and still has the ability to go further.

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