ARTICLE: Starting a Small Business with Your 3D Printer
Updated: Apr 13
3D Printing is growing in popularity every day. From after school programs for younger children or making them available for any adult to use in a public library, it’s becoming easier to build your own designs. With this curiosity and freedom comes various ideas of how to use 3D Printers, some controversial, some not. One of the most common and adventurous is starting your own small business with a 3D Printer.
There are many different ways to accomplish this, from offering your blueprints online for money, freelancing your services, or selling your prints. In this article, we will dive deeper into what it means to start a small business using a 3D Printer.
Print Other Designs
3D Printers may be everywhere, but it can still be difficult to find an available one and they are typically too expensive to buy for just a few designs. Websites such as 3DHubs, i.materialise, and Shapeways offer those with designs a place to contact those with printers. Find designs on these websites that you are able to print and the people with the designs pay your to print it; it’s a win-win situation!
Sell Your Designs
If you don’t actually have access to a 3D Printer, you can still make money off of them! Any experience with creating designs can also bring in business. Shapeways, mentioned before as a way to print other designs, also offers the ability to sell your designs to those with printers. They also offer a tool to help others customize your design, called Custom Maker. Selling your designs online can help your small business start and thrive while assisting others’ small businesses as well.
Sell Your Prints
Instead of an interdependent relationship, how about a small business you do all on your own? From the designs to printing to selling, all of the work is yours with this option. Choosing a desirable product and then designing the perfect print definitely takes time, but it can pay off in the end. Selling online, at shows, or in the storefront of a local business, you can make the money you invested in your printer back fairly easily.
Small business and entrepreneurship change, evolve, and adapt every day, making it easier and easier to start your own business. While this requires a plan, goals, and an investment like any other small business, you also get a new level of independence and creativity!