How to make money with 3D printing
Is it feasible for you?
- The amount of material that is required and the size affect the prize. If you need a lot of standardized, big objects that require a lot of material, 3D printing is not suited for you. Injection molding is the way to go then.
- If you buy a printer yourself it can take some time before you can implement the printer in your production process.
- Check it yourself: upload your design to i.materialise or shapeways and get an instant quote.
What are the advantages?
- Worldwide distribution: it is possible to print your model everywhere
- Low cost prototyping: test your ideas very fast
- Showing something to your client: clients can visualize and understand what you mean
- Niche markets: health care, architecture, prototyping, small batches, …
- Production: possible if the size is limited (< tennis ball) and for small batches.
- Quick response to additional demand.
- Scanning: you don’t like an object? Scan it, adjust it, print it.
- Customization: make every product unique
- No production: if your customers have their own low-cost 3D printer, they can print it themselves
What is possible and what not?
- Lots of materials: ranging from metal over plaster to plastic. However certain materials are harder and more expensive to print than others.
- Not all materials are available for printing. Electronics have to be added afterwards.
- Especially the size remains a hurdle.
- Multi-colour solutions are available
- Flexible materials are available.
- Trade off between speed and precision. It can take several hours before a print is finished.
What do you need to start?
- Free software. More advanced software (e.g. autodesk) can get quite expensive.
- A design(er): free ones can be found on Thingiverse and GrabCAD
- Upload your design to services like i.materialise or shapeways to get an instant quote of the price.
- Low cost printers start at $500
Want to learn more? Click on ‘Donate’ (upper right corner) to download a pdf file with practical tips. Give as much as you want.