How to Best Make Money 3D-Printing

  • Time to read: 17 min.

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What is 3D-Printing? 3D-printing is the process of creating and printing three-dimensional objects in plastic, metal, or other flexible materials. As we enter the age of mass customization where we can make anything we want on-demand, this technology will be crucial to success. In this article, I will be showing how you can make money 3D-printing.

Let’s start with the basics: What exactly is 3D printing? “3D printing” is when you create an object by using layers of material that are built up until your object takes shape.

It’s better than drawing something because you can see the exact result before you print it and modify it if necessary. Many people think that 3D printing just creates plastic objects, but it can create items from a wide variety of materials that can help make our lives easier.

3D-Printing Materials

make money 3d-printing

There are three main things you need to print anything: A computer, a printer and some filament.


If you’re going to be doing any serious 3D printing, you’ll want as good as a possible machine with a powerful graphics card so you can manipulate the models easily.

You will also have to have access to something like Adobe Creative Suite or Tinkercad to use .stl files which is basically what most printers spit out and use to create the 3d model.

You can also use user-friendly software on the computer to print your personalized items and printed items. With a computer, you can also create a website to sell online and sell online courses if you wish.


There are many varieties of printers on the market appropriate for all budgets and experience levels. The most important thing to look for in a printer is the size of the print space (the distance between the print head and the bed) and also what material it prints with.

There are different types of printers you can use such as resin-based printers and jetting printers. These will help you create different designs, quality products and create prototypes with your 3d-printer.

Make sure you figure out what type of 3d-printing business you would be interested in starting to make sure you buy the best printer for your situation.


Filaments come in 1.75mm and 3mm widths, 3mm is standard for most printers on the market right now, but 1.75mm will give you higher detail results, especially if printing small parts like miniatures or costume accessories.

Many companies sell pre-made filaments, but there are also companies out there selling filament from their machines so they can be customized to have unique colors and even have special properties such as magnetic particles in them or carbon fiber strands mixed in for added strength.

Once you have the materials it’s time to start learning about how you can make money 3D-Printing.

Make Money 3D-Printing

how to make money 3d printing

By using a 3d-printer, there are many ways you can make money and create passive income.

Here is a list of different ways you can make money fast by 3d-printing. Make sure you create a business model that will match the type of business you want to create.

With most of these business ideas, you can open, you will most likely need to save money to spend money on the materials and equipment you will need to create your own homemade products and printed items, but your business will soon be generating enough money that your business can become one of the success stories.

3D-Printing Consultant

The first way you can make money 3D-Printing is by becoming a 3D-Printing consultant.

You can do this by looking on websites such as CraigsList and seeing if any local businesses could benefit from 3D-Printing, you can also market your services to schools, hobbyists, and artists locally.

You can send notes to different companies in your area and also local schools to see if they would be interested in paying you for your work.

You want to offer them some way they can send you their 3D models and then print them out for them with the materials that they provide and then charge a fee for each model printed.

You can also advertise your consultant abilities on websites like Facebook Marketplace, to possibly find smaller businesses looking for your skill or local individual customers. you can also look for groups on e-commerce sites that are looking for your printing services.

3D-Printer Repair

Another way to make money 3D-Printing is by offering your services as a 3D-Printer repairman. With the growing demand for more and more printers, there will also be more and more people with broken printers.

You can find customers on websites like Craigslist or you can market your services to local schools, artists, and hobbyists.

You can have a solid business going within a week if you put yourself out there to local businesses and schools, once someone tries to use their printer and it’s broken they’ll search for a fix and come across your ad, then offer them the service at a cheap price that way you not only make money 3D-Printing but also get repeat customers from their referrals.

3D-Printing Business

You can also start a 3D-printing side hustle by forming a business. To do this you will need to have the capital to invest in large quantities of filament so you can provide the lowest price possible for your customers, also having your own website would be incredibly beneficial so you can market yourself on websites like Facebook Marketplace.

On websites like these, you can create a free account that can help you make quick money, by selling printed items and finished products online.

With this type of business, you will be able to create a more finished product(s) which will allow you to make more money 3D-Printing and attract more clients with lower prices allowing you to gain even more profits.

This also means you will be selling homemade products and printed items you create, so make sure you create high-quality creations with your own designs, and that it is the same price or a similar price to your business competitors.

You can advertise your services through google ads, this can help attract attention to your website and your 3d-printing business.


Another way to make money 3D-printing is by becoming a designer, there are many people out there who want to print and use a 3d-printer but don’t have the time or the skill to create the digital model online.

As a designer, you can create models for people on websites like Tinkercad, then gain a profit as your potential clients will then pay you to create these specific digital designs so they can then 3-d print them.

The best way to advertise your business is to create a social media account where you can create a show your portfolio of designs you have made. You can then reach out to potential clients to find people interested in using your designs.

Online Store

You can also open your own online store on e-commerce sites like eBay or Amazon, you would be doing all the work by getting printing jobs and then shipping your creations to buyers in mass production.

This type of business can lot of times take a long time to start and get running, but it has large potential as then an online store will allow anyone to buy your products whenever they want, significantly increasing your income.

To start an online business, you would have to have a way of receiving payments through a website like PayPal so when someone buys your product you receive a notification and can ship it off right away which is much faster than if they send it in the mail.

YouTube Channel

Another way to make money 3D-Printing is by making a YouTube channel where you post tutorials on how to use different software and explain the process of creating different projects from start to finish.

This will not only help people learn new techniques but also show them how easy it is for someone with little experience to get started.

Because of the large recent growth of 3d-printing, if someone searches a tutorial, It could lead right to your video and increase the size of your YouTube Channel, and the potential money you can make.

Running a business over the internet also allows you to reach more people because no matter where they live you’ll still have access to their money through sites like PayPal which any company uses as a form of payment online.

If you decide to make a business based on YouTube, you will likely need to invest in many resources that will help your channel grow and help you make money fast. Equipment like video cameras and unique lighting fixtures will help you in your business venture, by increasing the quality of your videos.

Prototyping Services

This is a great way to make money 3D-Printing. This is because most companies need a prototype to see if their concept will work and be able to produce it on a large scale, they need someone with the skills of 3D-Printing to get their idea out there which you can do for them.

You would be responsible for taking all the information that was given to you by your client and then creating their product, once it’s done you’ll ship it off or send it through the mail depending on how fast they need that project.

If this gets popular enough, you might even go international transferring your service onto another country where people are more immersed in using these techniques.

You can try starting small by offering your services to family and friends first, this way you can get practice before you launch it as a full-time business.

These rapid prototyping services will allow you to create personalized crafts and print on demand for any businesses or companies that might be looking for innovative entrepreneurs that produce rapid prototyping services with 3d-printers.

After you have chosen which type of money-making idea you will follow, here are some common things you should make sure you know about before starting your own business.

3D Printing Technical Skill

3d printing technical skill

The first thing you should possess to get money 3D-Printing is an extensive knowledge of how this process works. And not just the basics, you need to know all of the ins and outs that come with creating these projects, or else you’ll be wasting your time and supplies while trying to figure it out. Doing some research on the different types of printers, software, modeling techniques, etc. will help increase your technical skill quickly.

Allowing yourself access to information like this will make earning money easier because like I said before most people who are looking for someone fluent in 3D printing are newbies so they won’t know how to use the software to create their product.

You should make sure that you have the technical know-how to create CAD drawings which are required by anyone looking to have something 3D-Printed. Sites like Tinkercad require you to be able to use the software to earn money with it which is why this should be one of your first focuses.

In the manufacturing world, you need to make sure you are skilled in your craft otherwise you will fall behind many businesses.

Knowledge of Materials

One thing many 3D-printing enthusiasts don’t know anything about is the different types of materials they can use to print their projects. There are multiple choices out there, some extremely cheap and others extremely expensive, which means you should make yourself aware of each one so you can accurately know how to use each one.

The material you choose will also put into play how much support the item will need, if it’s made from a rigid and durable material like ABS then that part won’t need as much support as opposed to say PLA.

This will help save both time and money for you because if something needs excessive amounts of support it’ll be important to use the correct material or you might face wasting material, which will be bad for business.

If you are not sure what materials are best for you, then you can start by watching videos from online channels, to obtain the best technical knowledge possible.

There are also many online courses on websites like Coursera and Udemy, that can cost anywhere from $20 to $1000, which will help increase your knowledge of the topic.

Target Audience

Once you have your idea to make money 3D-Printing, it’s time to think about who you want to sell or create this product for. You should always keep in mind that if you don’t target the correct audience, then no one will be interested in what you are doing and therefore you won’t get any sales which means it’ll be impossible for you to earn money.

If your target audience is students then you need to make sure the products are more focused on things that kids will like, such as toys, games, and building blocks. This will make it easier for you to create a product that your audience will be interested in which means more sales for you.

This is why it’s important to keep in mind who will be purchasing this product because if you target the wrong group, then there won’t be a market for what you are trying to sell and no one will buy it.

You should also take time to research the lifespan of your target customers so that when you do run out of sales from that specific age group that there is another one coming up behind them ready to spend money on your products.

3d printing trends

When starting a 3d-printer business you will have to make sure that you can keep up to date on the latest trends in the industry.

Many news sites can help you stay up to date on new materials, ideas, and the ever-changing market surrounding 3D printing.

For example, some of the current 3d-printer trends involve things like:

  • Phone cases
  • Fashion Accessories
  • Customized Shoes (shoe accessories)
  • Creating props and costumes (Ex: Iron Man suit)

You will need to go through an educational process by performing some market research to find the ongoing trends. You can look in online communities to find the trending and emerging objects.

You can also use the trends to develop products that are different to possibly create your product trends.

This can greatly increase your extra cash and is a better idea for your business as it will make your business unique and different.

An example could be making new innovative phone cases that are unique and different.

Profitable Ideas

Once you have your niche selected, it’s time to think of ways that you can create products with the most profit margin.

Some of the most profitable products are those that can be sold in different variations or accessories that go along with them. For example, if you were selling a model of the Eifel Tower then you could offer customers who buy it prints of smaller versions so they can have more to showcase.

This way there is no limit to how many they can print and shows them that your product has multiple uses.

Another successful idea would be creating products based on current trends in the industry.

For example, right now people are buying more and more 3D printers which means now would be a good time to sell items like replacement parts for these devices because as soon as someone buys one there’s a high chance they’ll need extra tools too.

Another great idea is to sell digital files that people can use on their printers or multiple variations of pre-made objects. This way you’re still making money from the original object but can create other ones that don’t take as much effort.

3D files are an amazing way to make money because you can sell the same product infinite times so your customers will always come back to buy more, unlike a physical product that has a limited amount of inventory.

The only downside is that it may be difficult for beginners who don’t know how to use modeling software, but there are many free programs out there like Autodesk 123D Design that allow you to import 3D models and edit them directly on your computer or tablet without having to deal with any extra software or downloads.

The possibilities when it comes to this industry are endless!

Advertising 3D-Printing Services

3d-printing services

There are many ways that you can advertise your product. Websites like eBay have a large community of people who are always looking for unique, new items to buy so they’re perfect for this type of business.

Another site I recommend is Amazon because they have their marketplace where other 3D printing businesses will post products they’ve made for sale.

It’s a great way to connect with different 3D printers and share ideas about how to create the best objects possible. The only downside is that Amazon takes a cut from each sale so your profit margin might not be as high as other sites, but it still allows you to reach hundreds or even thousands of potential customers.

You can also advertise your business locally by going to art and craft fairs, university campuses, or events that revolve around technology. The best way to advertise is by having printed materials like business cards and posters so people can know how they can find your products online. Also, don’t be afraid to get creative with social media outlets like Instagram for promoting your business.

You’ll also want to think about other ways you can sell your items such as changing the model slightly and selling them as different objects. For example, instead of just printing a cylinder then hollowing it out, and selling it as a vase you could make an alien head and offer custom orders where people can request their designs to be printed.

You’d likely make more money doing this because it shows others that your product can be customized, meaning it’s easier to sell and can reach an even wider audience.

When it comes to selling digital files you’ll need to find a good website that will host your product because if your customers can’t find out how they will pay for it then there’s no point in making the file available to them.

There are many free sites like Thingiverse where people can upload their 3D designs and make them searchable for others who may want to buy or share them. If you want more options I suggest checking out Shapeways or cults3d where you can also sell 2D items as well. Overall just remember that advertising is key because without exposure your business could flop, so always try to reach as many potential buyers as possible.

Pricing for 3D Printing

pricing 3d printer services

Pricing is a very important factor when it comes to opening your own business. You don’t want to sell items for too much because then people will just buy from somewhere else, but you also have to price them fairly so you can make a profit.

If your product is complicated with a lot of moving parts and time-consuming design then pricing might be higher, but if it’s a relatively easy item to print then you can charge less.

You should also try to price your product lower than other similar items because it will encourage potential customers to buy from you and not somewhere else, and it also gives them an incentive to come back and purchase another item in the future. If you keep all of these factors in mind when pricing your products then it should be much easier for you to find a price that works.

Finally what’s most important is that your business is sustainable. You want every customer who purchases one of your items as well as those who visit your website continually as they know what kind of quality they’re getting and people will feel valued by buying from you instead of somewhere else where they don’t know the person behind it.

To conclude, starting a business in 3D printing can be very beneficial because you’ll be able to make unique items and give customers exactly what they want while fulfilling their needs and wants at the same time.

To summarize: think of an original idea; create or find digital files; promote your business constantly, and price your products fairly. Once you begin doing all these steps you should see an increase in demand for whatever object you’re selling making it easier for you to generate more income without having too much overhead.

I hope this article has given you all the information needed to get started on opening up your own successful business.

Remember that communicating with potential buyers constantly is key to making money online, so I wish everyone good luck and hope to see more 3D printers out there!

FAQ – Make Money 3D Printing

How much does it cost to 3D print an item?

The price of 3D printing largely depends on the size and amount of material used. A small object may only cost a couple of dollars while more complicated parts for machines could be hundreds depending on how intricate they are. Materials can also vary in cost, but typically PLA is very cheap while metals such as steel or titanium are many times more expensive than plastic.

What is prototyping?

Prototyping is seen by many as the first step towards starting your business. It’s creating a design, testing it out, and making changes until you get exactly what you want so that when it comes time to sell your product no one will have anything to complain about. Prototyping is important because it shows people what they’re investing their money in as opposed to showing them a 2D representation or description of your item.

How can you make a living off 3D-printing?

The best way to make a full-time income from 3D printing is by promoting your products as much as possible. Since many people don’t have access to printers themselves you’ll want to try and reach everyone with whatever advertising material you create, and once you start getting more and more exposure the demand for your product will rise exponentially allowing you to charge more. You also need to be able to produce good quality parts that meet certain specifications that customers may request, so researching before you even begin prototyping is crucial if you want your business to be successful.

What is the best kind of printer?

Out of personal experience, I would say that for home users an FDM printer with a large build volume is probably the best option on the market due to its accuracy and ease of use. If you’re working on something more specific or professional, then SLA printers are known for giving good quality parts, although they cost more money. There are also some cool experimental printers on the market like LOM (Laminated Object Manufacturing) which makes sturdy parts using paper and glue, but they don’t have much support at this time.

Where do you get these files from?

Several websites sell pre-made 3D models ready to be 3D-printed. These websites will have a variety of objects you can choose from including everything from USB drives to iPhone cases. I would also suggest checking out Thingiverse which is a website that allows users to upload their STL files for anyone else to use, free of charge.

How do you market your products?

The best way to get noticed online is by submitting your website and videos to as many websites and social media platforms as possible. Sites such as Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are all free ways to advertise your business which can often lead to more sales if people like what they see. The key with marketing is consistency and staying in contact with your customers, so try and market at least once a day and see what kind of response you get.

How much should I charge for my product?

This is a tough question to answer since the price will depend on how good your printer is and what exactly you’re selling. You can expect to pay around 50-100 dollars for a 3D printer, so take that number and multiply it by whatever material you use. For example, if plastic costs 5 dollars a pound something that weighs 100 grams will cost you 50 dollars, but titanium maybe 10x as expensive costing 500 dollars for 100 grams. You also need to consider shipping prices into your final price, so adding this on top of raw material costs leaves plenty of room for profit assuming everything goes well.