2022 Guide: How to Make Money with Your 3D Printer

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Are you looking for a way to make some extra cash in 2022? If you own a 3D printer, you’re in luck! There are many ways to turn your hobby into a profitable side hustle. With the right skills and a bit of creativity, you can start making money with your 3D printer in no time.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best ways to make money with a 3D printer. Whether you’re a seasoned 3D printing enthusiast or just getting started, there are plenty of opportunities to earn some extra income. From selling your own designs to offering 3D printing services, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of 3D printing!

Understanding 3D Printing

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of creating three-dimensional objects from digital designs. The process involves building up layers of material, such as plastic or metal, until the final object is formed.

The technology has been around for several decades but has recently become more accessible and affordable, leading to an increase in popularity among hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and businesses.

Types of 3D Printers

There are several types of 3D printers available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types are:

  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM): This type of printer uses a spool of filament, usually made of plastic, which is melted and extruded through a nozzle to create the object layer by layer.

  • Stereolithography (SLA): SLA printers use a liquid resin that is cured by a UV laser to create the object.

  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): SLS printers use a laser to fuse powdered material, such as plastic or metal, together to create the object.

  • Digital Light Processing (DLP): DLP printers use a projector to cure a liquid resin, similar to SLA printers.

Materials Used in 3D Printing

A wide range of materials can be used in 3D printing, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and even food. The choice of material depends on the requirements of the object being printed, such as strength, flexibility, and durability.

Some common materials used in 3D printing include:

  • PLA (polylactic acid): A biodegradable plastic that is easy to print and comes in a range of colors.

  • ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene): A strong and durable plastic that is commonly used in household items.

  • Nylon: A strong and flexible material that is ideal for creating functional parts.

  • Metal: Metals such as titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel can be used in 3D printing to create high-strength parts.

In conclusion, 3D printing is a versatile and exciting technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we create and manufacture objects. With the right equipment and materials, anyone can create their own 3D printed objects and even turn it into a profitable business.

Setting up a 3D Printing Business

If you’re interested in starting a 3D printing business, there are a few things you need to consider. In this section, we’ll discuss the important steps you need to take to set up your 3D printing business.

Market Research

Before starting any business, it’s important to research the market to determine if there’s a demand for your product or service. In the case of 3D printing, you’ll need to research the various industries that use 3D printing technology and identify potential customers.

Some of the industries that use 3D printing include architecture, healthcare, automotive, aerospace, and consumer products. Once you’ve identified potential customers, you can determine what types of products or services they need and how you can provide them.

Business Plan

Once you’ve completed your market research, you’ll need to create a business plan. Your business plan should include your goals, target market, marketing strategy, financial projections, and more. It’s important to have a solid plan in place to ensure that your business is successful.

You’ll also need to determine how you’ll fund your business. Some options include using your own savings, getting a loan, or finding investors.

Legal Requirements

Before starting your 3D printing business, you’ll need to ensure that you comply with all legal requirements. This includes registering your business, obtaining any necessary licenses and permits, and ensuring that you comply with any zoning regulations.

You’ll also need to protect your intellectual property by obtaining patents or trademarks for your designs. Additionally, you should have liability insurance to protect yourself in the event of any accidents or injuries.

In conclusion, starting a 3D printing business requires careful planning and research. By following the steps outlined in this section, you can set up a successful 3D printing business and start making money with your 3D printer.

Creating 3D Printable Designs

If you have a knack for design, you can make good money by creating 3D printable designs. Here are some tips to get started:

Software for Designing 3D Models

To create 3D printable designs, you will need a software that can create 3D models. There are many options available, ranging from free to paid. Some popular software includes:

  • Tinkercad: A free, web-based software that is great for beginners.
  • Fusion 360: A more advanced software that is free for hobbyists and students.
  • SketchUp: A user-friendly software that offers a free version.

Designing for 3D Printing

When designing for 3D printing, there are certain things you need to keep in mind to ensure your design is printable. Here are some tips:

  • Check the size: Make sure your design fits within the build volume of the 3D printer you plan to use.
  • Check the orientation: Consider the orientation of your design on the print bed to minimize the need for support structures.
  • Check the thickness: Ensure that your design has a minimum wall thickness to ensure it prints properly.

Selling 3D Printable Designs

Once you have created your 3D printable designs, you can sell them online through various marketplaces. Here are some popular options:

  • Shapeways: A popular marketplace that allows you to sell your designs directly to customers.
  • MyMiniFactory: A marketplace that offers a subscription-based model for creators.
  • Etsy: A popular platform for selling handmade items, including 3D printed designs.

Keep in mind that when selling your designs, you will need to set a price that takes into account the time and effort you put into creating them. It’s also important to ensure that your designs are original and do not infringe on any copyrights or trademarks.

Sourcing Materials and Equipment

When it comes to making money with a 3D printer, sourcing the right materials and equipment is crucial. In this section, we’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the right filament, 3D printing accessories, and where to buy materials and equipment.

Choosing the Right Filament

Choosing the right filament is essential to produce high-quality 3D prints. Filaments come in a variety of materials, colors, and sizes. Some popular materials include PLA, ABS, PETG, and Nylon. PLA is the most commonly used filament due to its affordability and ease of use. ABS is a durable and heat-resistant filament, while PETG is known for its flexibility and strength. Nylon is a high-performance filament that is ideal for producing parts that require strength and durability.

3D Printing Accessories

In addition to filaments, there are several accessories that can improve your 3D printing experience. Some of the most popular accessories include:

  • Build surfaces: These surfaces provide a stable base for your 3D prints and help prevent warping.
  • Nozzles: Different nozzle sizes can affect the quality and speed of your prints.
  • Print removal tools: These tools make it easier to remove prints from the build plate.
  • Calibration tools: These tools help you ensure that your printer is calibrated correctly for optimal print quality.

Where to Buy Materials and Equipment

There are several places to buy 3D printing materials and equipment. Some popular options include:

  • Online retailers: Websites like Amazon, MatterHackers, and MakerBot offer a wide selection of filaments, accessories, and printers.
  • Local stores: Some hobby shops and electronics stores may carry 3D printing supplies.
  • Direct from manufacturers: Buying directly from manufacturers can often result in lower prices and better customer service.

Before making a purchase, be sure to read reviews and compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Additionally, consider the reputation of the seller and the quality of their products to avoid purchasing low-quality materials or equipment.

In conclusion, sourcing the right materials and equipment is crucial to making money with a 3D printer. By choosing the right filament, investing in accessories, and buying from reputable sellers, you can produce high-quality prints and grow your business.

Marketing Your 3D Printing Business

Marketing your 3D printing business is essential to attract customers and grow your brand. In this section, we will explore some effective ways to market your 3D printing business.

Creating a Brand

Creating a brand is crucial to differentiate your business from competitors and attract customers. Start by developing a unique name and logo that represents your business and its values. Your brand should also have a consistent color scheme and design elements that create a cohesive image.

In addition to a name and logo, your brand should have a mission statement that outlines your business’s purpose and values. Use your mission statement to guide your business decisions and communicate your values to customers.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a powerful tool to market your 3D printing business. Create social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with potential customers and showcase your work.

Use social media to share photos and videos of your 3D prints, announce new products or services, and engage with your followers. Consider running social media contests or giveaways to increase engagement and attract new followers.


Networking is another effective way to market your 3D printing business. Attend industry events and conferences to meet other professionals and potential customers. Join online communities and forums to connect with other 3D printing enthusiasts and share your work.

Consider partnering with other businesses or professionals in your industry to expand your reach and offer complementary services. Building relationships with other professionals and businesses can lead to new opportunities and customers.

In conclusion, marketing your 3D printing business is essential to attract customers and grow your brand. By creating a strong brand, utilizing social media, and networking with other professionals, you can effectively market your 3D printing business and attract new customers.

Growing Your 3D Printing Business

Expanding your 3D printing business is essential if you want to increase your profits and stay competitive in the market. Here are some ways you can grow your business:

Expanding Your Product Line

One way to expand your 3D printing business is to offer a wider range of products. You can create new designs or modify existing ones to make them more appealing to your customers. You can also consider offering custom designs to cater to the specific needs of your clients.

To ensure that your new products are profitable, you need to conduct market research to determine the demand for your products. You can also test your products by creating prototypes and getting feedback from your customers.

Collaborating with Other Businesses

Collaborating with other businesses can help you reach new markets and expand your customer base. You can partner with other businesses that complement your products or services. For example, if you sell 3D printed jewelry, you can collaborate with a fashion boutique to showcase your products.

Collaborating with other businesses can also help you reduce your costs. You can share resources, such as equipment and office space, with other businesses to lower your overhead expenses.

Investing in New Technology

Investing in new technology can help you improve the quality of your products and increase your production capacity. You can invest in new 3D printers that are faster and more efficient than your current ones. You can also invest in software that can help you design and create more complex products.

When investing in new technology, you need to consider the cost-benefit analysis. You need to determine if the investment will generate enough revenue to cover the cost of the technology.

In conclusion, expanding your 3D printing business requires careful planning and execution. You need to identify the right opportunities to grow your business and make sure that your investments are profitable. By expanding your product line, collaborating with other businesses, and investing in new technology, you can take your 3D printing business to the next level.