If you’ve dreamed of owning your own 3D printer but have found the cost to be prohibitive, you may want to consider that you can actually make a tidy little bundle of cash when you use your 3D printer as part of an overall business. Rest assured, we’re not talking about printing money, but when you learn how to use a 3D printer the right way, there are many things you can do that will earn you plenty of quick bucks.
3D printing has revolutionized small manufacturing
And that does you a lot of good as a small business owner because it means you can make a lot of things that before recently, would have been impossible to create without the assistance of a full scale factory working on your behalf. Offering 3D printing capability to your business’ roster means you can offer things that people want right away, and at a cost they can deal with while also offering the promise that the item(s) were made right here in the US. If you’re a skilled designer, there’s no end to the designs you can create and execute the manufacturing of—right from the comfort of your home or small commercial space. You can cater to a specific local audience, or sell your items on eBay, or create a website that touts the goods your making, but you’ll likely want to focus on a specific item, such as one of the following.
3D printed acoustic guitars
Yes, it can be done, and Scott Summi was the first to prove this. With 3D printing, guitars can be made entirely of plastic, and even boast the metal soundhole cover and heel joint needed for that nice, warm acoustic sound. If you want to really create a niche market, let your buyers know that you can make replicas of the acoustic guitars made by their favorite musicians.
Turn children’s drawings into 3D figurines
Find a client base that wants to forever commemorate their child’s adorable drawing of the family cat or dog or even a fun giraffe they drew after visiting the zoo. These absolutely precious drawings are all you need as the blueprint to make 3D real-thing versions that your buyers are sure to treasure for a lifetime, and can be used to decorate an office desk or even a Christmas tree.
Use an ultrasound image to create 3D replicas of unborn children
This may be one of the most meaningful uses of the 3D printer: offering people the ability to have a replica of their unborn child based on the image taken from a 2D or 3D ultrasound image. This was first done in Japan, but if you have a 3D printer, it’s absolutely a service you can offer up on Etsy or eBay, and you’re sure to make a heap of dough, as this offers people the memory of their child even from before they entered the world.
Unique and durable 3D printed phone cases
Many consumers feel they just can’t find the phone case they want that showcases their personality and personal style without giving up the protective qualities of phone cases that are durable but not so easy on the eyes. With the best 3D printer, you can craft phone cases that draw from personal stories to choose colors and designs will being sure to include all the safety bells and whistles needed for a good, strong, and even waterproof phone case. These are super easy to make with a 3D printer, extremely cost-effective in terms of the raw materials you’ll need, and you can easily sell them as bespoke and unique to every buyer.
3D printing is as unlimited as your imagination
Of course, there are dozens of other things you can use a 3D printer to make, which is exactly why it’s totally worth the investment for your small business. From nifty little desk decor to a tablet stands and even unique hanging lamps and fun wall-hanging clocks and other interior designs, a 3D printer gives you the ability to make any or all of these things quickly, easily, and at a cost that allows you to make quite a good little profit.
The best 3D printer for beginners
When you’re just getting started, you want a 3D printer you can handle, but if you get one that’s too cheap, the quality of what you print could suffer as a result. For the best of both worlds, you should consider a 3D printer with a sturdy metal frame that’s stable enough to handle large design work and a thick aviation-level aluminum plate that guarantees its surface will stay flat and never warp.
For this reason and a few others, The Gadget Nerds recommend the FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro with acrylic covers, an optimized build platform, dual extruder W/2 spools, and that works with ABS and PLA formates. For the price of an ordinary flight from the States to Europe, this budget-friendly 3D printer offers filament compatibility with PLA, ABS, Pearl, ABS Pro, PVA, HIPS, PETG, TPE, and many others. What’s more, its enclosed chamber insulates and protects ABS prints, and its metal platform supports plus 10mm guide rod to ensure Z-axis precision. It’s a great 3D printer for beginners and experts alike, and its user manual is easy to read and understand for those who don’t have tons of experience with the 3D printing process.
Looking for more ideas about what you can make with a 3D printer to get your 3D printing business off the ground? Have a look at this list of 3D printer ideas to learn more!