Can You Make Money With A 3D Printer?

3D printers represent a world of incredible possibility for both at-home hobbyists and global businesses. With prices getting lower, and ease of use increasing, there are plenty of reasons to consider investing in a 3D printer.

If you want to use your 3D printer to make money, it seems like it should be easy. However, as the world of 3D printing grows, so does your competition. Running a successful 3D printing business requires an impressive amount of hard work.

Can You Make Money With A 3D Printer?

To find out more about how to use your 3D printer to make money, read this guide. We’ve covered the best ways to make money, and the potential issues to be aware of. 

Can You Make Money With A 3D printer?

Yes, you can make money with 3D printing. A 3D printer can be a great way to start a business, or a fantastic addition to an already thriving business. But money making isn’t a guarantee. 

A 3D printer is a machine that makes 3 dimensional objects from plastic, based on a design from a digital file. A 3D printer can cost anywhere from $100 to over $10,000.

The more you pay, the better the 3D printer. Cheaper printers build slowly, lack the capacity for detailed designs, and can only create small objects. Sophisticated 3D printers can achieve a lot more, but are incredibly costly.

If you want to purchase a 3D printer for building a business, then you need to think carefully about the quality of printer you need. It may take a while before the business takes off, meaning you don’t see a profit on your investment for a long time.

But if you only invest in a cheaper printer, you limit future growth.

Once you have your 3D printer, you can set up your side hustle. Read on for some money making ideas.

How Do You Make Money With A 3D Printer?

From renting out the printer to selling photo frames, there are plenty of ways to use a 3D printer to make money. We’ve listed the best of them below, including some pitfalls to watch out for.

Rent Out Your Printer

If you rarely use your 3D printer, renting it out can earn you a solid passive income. Advertise your printer for rent via social media, draw up a contract for the rental agreement, and specify the rental period.

People are intrigued by 3D printers, and often understand how a 3D printer can improve their business. However, due to the upfront cost, many are uninterested in investing. By renting, a larger audience can try the 3D printer for the first time.

Renting can be tricky, and it’s important to come up with clear terms regarding damages and breakages. But if you don’t mind the risk, this is a low effort moneymaker.

Sell 3D Printed Objects Online

Sell 3D Printed Objects Online

An online marketplace such as Etsy can be a fantastic place to make money with a 3D printer. Create and print your own designs, and then sell them to interested parties. There are so many things that can be made using a 3D printer that the options seem endless.

Of course, it isn’t quite that simple. First, you need to find a product that will actually sell. Jewelry, toys, and household objects are common choices, but the only real limit is your imagination. That and copyright law.

Second, you need to find an audience. This can be surprisingly difficult, especially if you can’t create a design that stands out.

Do plenty of research before you try to set up your own store. Find a niche that you can consistently deliver quality products to, and don’t overlook advertising.

If you’re good at the design element, you might also consider selling your files.

Sell Your 3D Printer Designs

Having a skill for designing 3D prints can make you money with minimal output. Creating and designing objects comes with costs of materials, plus postage and packaging for any sales you make.

But by selling a digital 3D model, you cut down expenses. List the model for sale, and then interested parties can create their own 3D printed objects.

Start A Print On Demand Business

Print on demand is the first thing many of us think of when it comes to a 3D printer. Essentially, someone will hire you and your printer to build a design they’ve created. You can charge based on the hours required, the materials used, and the complexity of the design.

A print on demand service can make money, but it isn’t a guarantee. For a start, now that 3D printers are becoming more affordable, the market has become more competitive.

Our advice is to focus on quality of service, rather than price. If you have a better printer which can create more complex builds, and you can offer advice on demand, you have a solid business.

Like renting out your printer, this is a relatively low effort way to make money.

Create Models

Creating and printing models for other companies and designers combines most of the ideas we’ve covered so far. For those who are talented at designing 3D models, and own a 3D printer, you can sell your services as a model designer.

Although this is a fantastic way to make money in a crowded marketplace, it isn’t easy. You have to have talent as a designer, a quality 3D printer, and the ability to market your talents. 

Are 3D Printers A Good Way To Make Money?

A 3D printer can be an excellent way to earn a second income, but it isn’t easy. You either need skill as a designer, or live in an area with a healthy interest in 3D printing. And you also need to be able to market yourself, and stand out in a crowded online world.

Before you use your 3D printer to make money, make sure to do your research. Find out what services are needed, and what you can reasonably accomplish with your 3D printer. And don’t forget the additional output, such as resin. Consider all these factors before choosing a path.

A 3D printer can make you money, but only if you’re willing to put in some hard work. 

Mark Andrews
Latest posts by Mark Andrews (see all)