How to make money with a 3D printer? [4 Interesting Ideas]

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Wondering how to make money with a 3D printer? If you have a 3D printer, then you might be wondering how to make money with it. The answer is that there are many ways to make money with a 3D printer.

You can sell 3D models on platforms like Thingiverse or My Mini Factory, or you can use your 3D printer to print custom products for others—and charge them for this service if you want.

If you have an idea for a product that nobody else has made before, then why not try designing it yourself?

As long as it’s not copyrighted material or something illegal, then there’s nothing stopping you from making money off of your own designs by selling them online or using them as promotional materials for your business.

1. Selling 3D models

You can make money with a 3D printer by selling 3D models. There are many ways to do this, but the most common ones include:

  • Selling online: You can use websites like Shapeways or Thingiverse to sell your designs. These sites take care of all the shipping and payment processing for you, so you only have to worry about creating awesome designs!
  • Selling in person: If you have an idea for a new product that someone else might want (and they’re willing to pay), then why not try talking with them directly? Take some sketches or renderings of your design along with examples from other similar products on hand as proof it will work well in real life before asking for money upfront–you don’t want anyone wasting their time investing in something that won’t work out!

2. Print custom products

You can also make money using a 3D printer to print custom products for others. If you have the skills and equipment, you can make money by printing products that people want to buy.

You can make even more money if you’re skilled in design, engineering or marketing as well. You could make even more money still if you are willing to invest some time into learning how to do any of these things yourself (or with friends).

3. Design and sell your own products

If you want to sell your own products, you need to design them and print them yourself.

If you’ve got the skills to do that, then it’s time for some serious money-making! You can sell your 3D printed items online or in a physical store.

If you don’t have any experience with marketing or selling things online, there are plenty of services out there that will help with everything from product photography and listing creation to payment processing (eBay) or fulfillment (Amazon).

You can also sell directly from your own website–but only if it’s set up properly and looks professional enough for customers who may not know anything about 3D printing yet but still want something cool enough for their house/office/car/etc.

Other places sell:

4. Design and print products

You can pay someone else to design your product and print it.

If you’re not confident in your 3D-designing skills, or if you just don’t have the time to learn how to use CAD software like SolidWorks, there are plenty of freelancers who will make a custom object for you for a small fee.

You can also find companies that will design an object specifically for their clients’ needs. For example: if one company makes cars and another makes planes, they may both use 3D printers but still need completely different parts made out of metal or plastic respectively–and that’s where outsourcing comes in handy!

What are some 3D print ideas?

  • Print a model of your child’s favorite character, whether that be from a movie or TV show or even just something they drew themselves. If you have access to 3D scanning software, this is even easier–just scan the object and print it out!
  • Create an educational toy for them to play with (or yourself). A great way to do this is by using open-source CAD files available online: for example, Thingiverse has many models created by other users that can be downloaded free of charge as STL files (STereoLithography). You could also try creating your own original model based on what knowledge base exists already–for example if there aren’t any 3D printed dinosaurs yet but there should be! Just look at how popular dinosaurs have been recently.
  • A planter or pot for your plants, flowers and vegetables to grow in.

  • A kitchen tools and utensils
  • A food items for decoration
  • A kitchenware for storage
  • Kitchenware for cooking, serving and eating

Bottom line

While making money with a 3D printer is possible, it requires more work than other ways of making money online. You have to design your own products, print them yourself and then find customers for them.

In addition to this, you need to market yourself as well as keep track of all the orders coming in and make sure they get shipped out on time.

Making money with a 3D printer is possible, but it requires more work than other ways of making money online. If you want to sell your own products, you need to design them and print them yourself. You can pay someone else to design your product and print it or sell 3D models that others have created.

Jenn Leach, MBA

Jenn Leach is a Houston-based MBA with over a decade of experience in the banking industry. She writes at Millennial Nextdoor where she writes finance, money, business, and lifestyle content to help millennials create additional income streams online. Join her on Substack at

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