How to make money with a 3d printer

How to Make Money with a 3D Printer
How to Make Money with a 3D Printer 

3D printing has revolutionized the world of manufacturing and created many new avenues of opportunity. 3D printing means that objects can be produced with a high level of customization and complexity easily and affordably. If you own a 3D printer, chances are you are always seeking out opportunities to use it to create fun and exciting new objects. There are many ways that your printer can become a reliable source of income. Listed below are a few ideas of ways to make money 3D Printing but the only real limit is your imagination.  

Commercial 3D Printing and Selling or Print-On-Demand. 

These days it seems everyone is doing business online. Why not jump on the bandwagon and put your printer to good use?

One of the easiest ways to make money with a 3D printer is to offer the printer as a commercial service or to sell items that are made with it. Both individuals and businesses often want objects produced through 3D printing, but don’t have the equipment. As a skilled designer, you can make items and sell them either for yourself or for a company. There are a number of online communities that allow you to list your 3D printer as a service for hire and start bringing in the cash.  3D Hubs, Treat stock, and XYZPrinting for example, will allow you to list your 3D printing services. These sites will help you to take orders and ensure you get paid for the products that you produce. These sites are easy to join and have many resources to help you succeed. Online communities make it easy to make money with a 3D printer and often provide all the tools you need to bring someone’s design to life. 

Additionally, you can create and sell your own 3D printed objects on eBay, Amazon, or Esty. Imagine for a moment being able to print custom flip flops that are perfectly fitted to the wearer’s feet. People would pay a lot of money to have custom-designed shoes that perfectly fit and last a long time. Flip flops are a great idea because they are simple in design and can quickly be created to suit the required specifications. The possibilities are truly endless, find a product that is easy to design and create but is also in demand. From there all you have to do is design, print, and sell. 

Making Money With a 3D Printer

Be aware of the customers’ expectations, however. Many times, people fail to factor the time and actual costs associated with 3D printed products. Product ideas they think should cost $10 can often cost a lot more and this can lead to disagreements and bad feedback. Be sure that you are pricing your products accordingly and that you are upfront about the costs right from the start. 

Remember, 3D printing from your personal printer can be done as a legitimate business. This approach can help you by making some costs tax-deductible, benefiting both you and your potential clients. 

How to make money with a 3d printer by Selling your Design Files

Selling STL files can be a lucrative market. If you have a 3D Printed product that works well and is sturdy in construction selling the STL file may be the way to go. This is especially true for products that take a long time to print or are overly complicated. 

You can use a plethora of sites to sell your STL files for others to print and distribute themselves. For example, sites like Gum Road allow creators to upload and sell STL files to others. This approach requires far less effort and helps you avoid the headache of unrealistic expectations that come along with on-demand printing.    

Remember to ensure that the product within the file you plan to sell is in good working order and has been thoroughly tested before posting it to the market. Not everyone has the ability or creativity to design a product, but if the plans are there, they will often purchase them to print themselves. 

How to make money with a 3d printer by Creating Learning Products for Children

Parents will pay a pretty penny to entertain their kids and it is no secret that they want products that are both entertaining and educating. You can utilize the power of 3D printing to help parents out and make yourself a small fortune. Consider printing robotics kits that kids can put together to create their very own robot or print a schoolhouse where a little girl can use her dolls to build her own dreams. The opportunities with this avenue are literally endless. Kids are like small sponges waiting to suck up knowledge, you simply have to find something that stimulates them and bring it to life as a do-it-yourself kit. 

Note that it is important to find yourself a niche market if you really want to make your mark. Take fidget spinners for example. Many people made a great deal of money 3D printing fidget spinners when this craze first began. The same goes for Nerf Gun accessories. Find a new corner and slip yourself in there to reap the rewards.  

How to make money by Outsourcing and Consultation Services

If you have experience working with 3D printers your knowledge may be worth something to others. You do not necessarily have to use your own printer to turn a profit. In fact, many times outsourcing to larger companies is the way to go. You can easily work as a design consultant and outsource the project to other printing companies to actually produce the final product. 

Seek out individuals who have an idea (think napkin sketches here) and help them bring their idea to life by creating prototypes. You are essentially charging for consultation services and the 3D printing of the projects can be added later. This path provides endless opportunities for growth. 

The important thing here is to build a tight network of trusted companies that you can use on projects. 3D printers are notoriously unreliable, and you should always remember, if the companies network goes down, you are the one who is responsible.  


You can utilize your experience and knowledge to teach others. While many resources are available for free on YouTube channels, you can create educational products such as eBooks or training programs that you can charge money for and make a few extra bucks. 

If you are skilled in any branch of 3D printing it may be worth running a course or writing an eBook to help others learn the tricks of the trade. Use your experience and some fun anecdotes to capture an audience and teach a skill. Some eBooks on the subjects sell for hundreds of dollars with buyers each and every day. This avenue can be a great way to use your knowledge and experience of 3D printing to fill your pockets.  

3D Printed Babies

Lastly. this one is more of an idea or concept but it has the potential to be a hot niche. Expectant mothers love their children from the moment of the first ultrasound. The blurred image on the screen becomes a major milestone in their lives and a memory that they treasure forever.  

Today, ultrasounds have come a long way. Much like 3D printing, 3D ultrasounds are becoming a natural choice for many expectant parents. The great thing about a 3D ultrasound is that they offer all of the information you need to create a more permanent memory for mama. Try to set up shop and create memories that people will cherish for years to come. It can be done, you simply need to forge the path to success. 

Even more Ideas!

Start an E-Commerce Website.

This is a bit more general but you need to be able to sell what you make unless you are taking orders from some other method before printing things.
Building an eCommerce store to sell your goods is more work up front but you are building an asset in the store that can help you move a way from just selling your time for money.

Movies Props for Fans.

Fans love props from their faviorite films. If you can print them custom props and momorabilia then they will pay a premium.
You will need to check on applicable trademark laws when doing this and some ofhte other ideas below and stay on the right side of then law in your area.

Build Kids Toys

Its hard to get toy ideas for kids and printing their favorites that will be unique might applea to parents and kids alike!

Customized Earphones.

Earphones are big business. Yuo could print customised sets. This would be a good candidate for the ecomerce store.

Home Decorations.

Unique or bespoke decorations appeal to people in the mass produced Ikea age.

Renting a 3D printer

Maybe other people have great ideas but dont have a printer of their own. You could take the design files and print objects for people.

Beauty products.

Fake Nails Extensions

Other ideas.

Phone Case
Product Mockup
Sell your 3D Designs
Sell your 3D Prints

Make 3D Prototypes

Train Others on 3D Printing
Print for Other People

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