6 3D Printing Business Ideas that Anyone Can Start Today

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Remember what computers were used for when they were first made? Yes, calculating. Then? Word processing, spreadsheet and database programming started. Within decades, usage of computers exploded— today, the whole world is running on computers.

That’s how a system develops and grows. Same has happened with 3D printers. It was first made to print some plastic models. Gradually they’ve even started printing car parts!

Today even a novice can guess the unlimited promise of 3D print. With the advent of 3D printing a world of prospect is rapidly unveiling. We now know, 3D printers are going to devour the entire world of production.

Here are some of the excellent ideas that just anyone can try for the first successful business based on a 3D printer.

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Before we go for the details of what all you can do with your 3D printer there is one thing that you essentially need to know.

3D modeling

If you really want to make money in this sector, you’re going to have to learn how to design, develop and finalize 3D Models before you print them. This is going to help you customize your product just as you want them to be for the best sale.

Remember, continuous updating and keeping pace with the flow is one of the key factors for your success. And 3D modeling is your forging workshop that will pave the way to a smart business. This will be discussed later on.

Endless, Limitless world of 3D Printing Business

To get a concrete idea about the future 3D printing business we can start with a report.

It’s Wohler’s report, published in 2019, which predicts that there will be a worldwide $15.8 billion business of AM products and services.

The report further goes to state that the amount will thrive to $23.9 billion in 2022 and in 2024 it will soar to $35.6 billion. Don’t you think it’s an opportunity for you to take advantage of the booming industry?

We’ll start with 6 steps to start your business and then go for some essential tips.

Step 1: Cover the Entrepreneurship Basics

Whether you do a 3D printing job out of your hobby, passion or anything else, if you want to make money out of it you need to go through some basic steps. 

The first one is to make a detailed and scrutinized business plan. At the top of the plan is market research. Then you select a certain 3D printing niche.

You also have to consider where your fund will come from. For far reaching plans how you grow and where you’ll get customers from are some of the essentials prior to starting your business. 

Your plan should cover many more parts that involve legal and administrative preparation.

For example, you just cannot go and start production; you need to register a business which includes registering a business name, getting a tax ID number and registering for state and local taxes. Then there is the question of funding and so on. 

Step 2: Choose Your Niche

You can print all kinds of things with a 3D Printer but that shouldn’t necessarily mean that you are going to print everything. Today, the automotive, aviation and aerospace industries are using 3D Printing.

As because you are going to start with a small business in this arena you are probably not going to 3D print on that scale. 

As a starter, you might like serving consumers or accept subcontracts of other businesses like designing and printing eyewear and jewelry.

You might as well go for dental crowns and other types of healthcare products. These are really promising niches. We’ll talk about this later in this article.

Step 3: Purchase a Good 3D Printer

The quality of your product directly depends on the quality of your printer. If you want to serve the upper echelon, don’t go for a cheap one.

Research and purchase the best 3D printer that suits your business idea and model. The expensive printers will be able to give the best output in terms of speed, accuracy and detail. 

You need to consider many factors while purchasing a 3D printer. But if you’re not familiar with the technical terms and all, take help from an expert or someone who is already in this business.

I recommend Creality Ender 3 3D Printer. It’s a great 3D Printer for starters. If you want to know more about it, check this Creality Ender 3 Vs Ender 3 Pro.

Step 4: Select Your Software

As you already know, a major part of 3D printing is building your 3D models which you can’t do with Microsoft Paint.

Well-regarded, popular options include Tinkercad, Blender and DesignSpark Mechanical. When your business grows you can upgrade to professional versions of certain softwares, i.e., industrial grade software.

They can, however, be pretty expensive, ranging from several hundred to a thousand per year. But the paid softwares have got a number of advantages. They have some professional tools helping you with model, animate and render professional level products.

There are also ‘slicing tools’ using which you can convert a  cad model into G-code which  your 3D printer reads and prints the model layer by layer. 

If you’re getting confused while reading these technical stuff you’ll probably need a training course on 3D modeling and animation so that you understand how best to use the tools available to you. 

Step 5: Invest in Your Hardware and Material

It’s not only a 3D printer but also an array of materials that you’ll need for the production. You can use your own printer or you can be a 3D printing middleman in case you decide not to buy a printer for you.

In case you have your own printer your considerations focus on how many types of items you’ll deal with and what would be their scale, i.e., whether they will be small like eyeglasses or big like furniture for a home.

Once you have decided on items you know what materials you’ll need to print them: plastic (PLA, ABS, PVA, PC etc.), resins (high detail resins, paintable resin, transparent resin), powders (polyamide or nylon, alumide), metal (stainless steel, bronze, gold, aluminum, nickel, titanium), carbon fiber, graphite and graphene or nylon, nitinol.

Then there are a handful of processes of printing from which you are to choose which one best suits your business. The printing processes are Vat photopolymerization, material jetting, binder jetting, material extrusion and so forth. 

Step 6: Marketing Your Business

When you have your plan and all other necessary materials you are ready to go. But the first problem you are likely to face is what we call ‘competition’: bigger companies are selling their products at a cheaper price. Don’t panic. You’ve got many other alternative options.

In short, you start with smaller items like customizable earbuds or abstract artworks which don’t have a specific shape or size.

An e-commerce site is, at this stage, essential to market your item. Now there are tons of tips and guides on e-commerce websites. Just google them out and study a bit and you’re there. 

6 3D Printing Business Ideas For the Beginners

To compete with larger companies your first step to the 3D printing business might seem feeble and fragile. But there are a number of people out there who started out from scratch and are now at their pick. You might consider the following ideas:

1. Prototypes

If you are good at designing 3D models you can perhaps have the best chance to earn serving larger companies who aim at creating some newer, futuristic and creative prototypes of products. In a fast-moving world where taste and demand are drastically changing, innovative prototypes are sold like hotcakes.

3D Printed Portraits | 3D Gear Guide
3D Printed Customized Prosthetics | 3D Gear Guide

2. Toys

Forget about the oldened doll princess and mini soldiers. Children are now obsessed with Baby Shark Fingerlings, Little Live Scruff-a-Luvs Plush Rescue Pet, Crayola Sprinkle Art Shaker, Hairdorables Collectible Surprise Dolls and Accessories, Owleez, Hatching Toothless Baby Dragon, Lego “Star Wars”: AT-ST Raider, “Paw Patrol” Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck, Cabbage Patch Kids Naptime Babies, Hatchimals WOW and many more like them.

You can easily start producing some of them making some easy money. There is, however, one thing you must remember: the safety regulations and copyright laws.

3D Printing Business Ideas

3. Jewelry

Due to the endless fashionable designs and finest engravings 3D printed jewelries are getting more and more popular. On top of that, there is the pressure of customization from the varied tastes of customers. 

4. Glasses

Apart from the wide variety of models that could easily be printed by your 3D printer you could easily print the lens! All the lenses are not essentially made of glass; some are made of special plastic.

Moreover, plastic lenses are less prone to glares and less fragile. Many plastic lenses are clearer than those made of glass. All the above factors confirm a good prospect of business in the production of glasses. 

5. Promotional Products

Almost any item can be converted to a promotional product and be supplied from your 3D printer. Just plan to print logos and other customized information on them and they become promotional products. Consider the following products to deal with:

  • Gifts and trophies
  • Exhibitions and showcase items 
  • Concept modes like architectural and other 3D demonstrational models
  • Drinkware with a personal or official name, engraved image, etc. 
  • Desk & office supplies like fashionable paper-weight
3D Printed Miniatures Characters | 3D Gear Guide
3D Printing Business Ideas
3D Printing Business Ideas
3D Printing Business Ideas

6. Smartphone cases

This is another recently popular 3D item that needs continuous upgrading along with newer phone models and therefore individuals and companies are finding 3D printers more convenient.

3D Printed Mobile Cases | 3D Gear Guide

Final Words

In short, the 3D printing business is going to grab a major portion of the production business. So you should not take any more time wandering and fumbling throughout the commercial world searching for the best suit for you.

Shamim Ahmed
Shamim Ahmed
I’ve been an innovator in this space for years and am really excited to share my knowledge with you. I’m an entrepreneur and love helping others achieve their goals by teaching them how to build a business around the newest innovations in technology.

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