Regardless of the industry, the use of 3D printing has many advantages. In fact, this is why there has been a boom in the arrival of 3D printing companies in the market. This versatile technology can help in the development of any project. 3D printing is transforming the manufacturing industry, and the way business is done. Think about prosthetics, spacecraft components, food, and much more coming directly out of a printer. The possibilities this technology allows are truly endless. Now is an excellent time to foray into the world of 3D creation. In this article, we will talk about how you can become a 3D printing entrepreneur.
Where to Buy a 3D Printer?
If you do not already own a 3D printer, you will need to buy one. The best course of action is to acquire the device from a company of repute, like Bionic Inventor. Depending on your expertise level and familiarity with 3D printing, you can choose from beginner to advanced level machines. Once you have the printer, you can start your entrepreneurship in the following ways.
Print on Demand
The simplest way of making money with 3D printing is through print-on-demand services. The business model is straightforward and offers to print someone’s 3D files. The only challenge with this plan is that it has become fairly competitive, and your services can easily be considered a commodity. Luckily, other 3D printing business ideas presented here will surely help you get started.
How Do I Get Started?
You can sign up for 3D Hubs and Shapeways, both of which are marketplaces, or you can also offer your services to individuals and companies outside of such online sites.
Pick a Niche
Instead of working on several different niches, try to find a loyal customer base that sees you as a reliable supplier. To pick the ideal niche, do some market research, visit sites like Reddit and Quora, go through articles. Start with a market like 3D Hubs, gain some experience, and focus on a particular niche.
Another way to grow your 3D printing on-demand services is to work with B2B customers. The margin for profit is much higher. They usually have a consistent requirement for 3D printing services, and they also place larger orders.
You can start with an online 3D marketplace and then build your own brand and website as you grow. Many companies have successfully applied this business model to provide engineering, production, manufacturing, and prototyping services.
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Once again, the key is building a niche market. The approach to target multiple niches is not a good strategy. This is one of the most crucial mistakes that home-based 3D printing entrepreneurs make. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will not get great results.
3D Design and Printing Service Center
If you want to expand your initiative further, you can open a company that will take care of the whole process for you. Following this business plan will bring the clients to you. They can request their design ideas, which you can then create and print. As this whole practice can be quite costly, so it may be quicker to work with B2B clients or those who want to start with new prototypes.
How is it done?
One of the largest online marketplaces in Shapeways. It connects buyers and service providers. Here is what you can do and offer if you are starting a 3D printing agency.
Firms need prototypes, and they can be quite costly. Therefore, 3D printing prototypes are an outstanding option for 3D printing entrepreneur, as they are easier and inexpensive to produce. Some firms started creating prototypes on a small scale for companies and then grew their business into large scale enterprises, catering to the needs of higher-level clientele.
Designing and Printing E-Commerce Stores
E-commerce stores rely on product manufacturers abroad, as it is costly to manufacture these products locally. The distance of the factory from the company’s location can lead to long production periods, variability in factory standards, longer delivery times, and high costs.
E-commerce companies often have to stock more inventory than they require to avoid product depletion. With local 3D printing service providers, they can have a flexible and inexpensive solution to these challenges. This will allow you to take advantage of what has become one of the industry’s most important obstacles by designing and printing for eCommerce.
It is important that you point out that all the small business ideas listed here are more than just an opportunity to benefit from 3D printing. Before starting a 3D printing business, you should make sure that you are truly passionate about the level of quality, products, and services you plan on providing. Anything less than that, and it will start to show in the products.
Think about all the aspects that are most important to the companies that want to use your services and adapt the business plan to take these aspects into account. Creating a small batch product for an e-commerce business is slightly different from creating an initial prototype for a new startup required.
Creating Promotional Products
Promotional materials can be a very effective part of a company’s marketing strategy. The only issue with traditional production methods is that when a company wants something other than a t-shirt, securing creative promotional items can be expensive and difficult. With 3D printing, however, there are no such limitations. This is a domain where 3D printing can truly shine and can solve this issue. In addition to specializing and picking niches, you can also offer our services to advertising agencies.
Repair and Maintenance
With the growth of the 3D manufacturing industry, the need for consistent repair and maintenance services is also growing. This presents an opportunity to offer repair and maintenance services for 3D printers and prints. You can also check companies offering similar services for inspiration.
Designing Models for 3D Printing
If you know your way around 3D designing programs and have a creative mind, you can also use these skills to start an excellent 3D model designing business. It is easy to set up: you can make and sell model designs that folks can directly print on their own 3D designs.
How Do You Sell 3D Model Designs?
You can sell the designs on the online 3D file repositories such as MyMiniFactory, Shapeways, CG Trader, i. Materialise, etc. Want to take it a step further? You can also set-up your own custom store on Shopify. Here are some tips if you want to venture into the 3D model designing business.
Creating Designs for a Niche Market
You can become a prominent figure in your niche market and sell your designs on different marketplaces. For example, you can target the tabletop gaming niche and create things like boards, props, etc. for games such as Settlers of Catan.
Creating Your Own Prototypes
An alternative approach is to design a prototype and sell it to companies. As you will not have to print the designs yourself, you can scale more quickly. As reiterated earlier, it is important to start with a specific market niche. For example, if you create prototypes of different devices for medical companies, you can develop a solid customer base in the medical field. A 3D printing business that specializes in medical prototypes is more likely to have them as a customer than the ones making generic designs.
Designs for Architects and Museums
Architects, interior designers, and museums often need different prototypes and other similar models. For instance, Museums can create 3D printing replicas for different historical projects. Interior designers and architects can also use 3D printing technology to test their designs with rapid prototyping.
Creating an Online 3D Printing and Design Store
If you do not want to sell your designs in the online marketplaces, you can also open a store using e-commerce platforms like Shopify. You will be able to offer your designs for sale, and people can purchase them to print at home. Here are some of the steps involved in the creation of an online 3D printing and design store.
Setting Up an E-commerce Shop
The rise of 3D printing has disrupted the traditional manufacturing sector and approaches. Creating an e-commerce store where you can sell your designs and printed products is essential for becoming a successful 3D printing entrepreneur.
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How Do You Do It?
Before starting a 3D printing business, you can also post them on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to check their validity. You can also create and sell them on online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, NotOnTheHighStreet.com, etc.
Jewelry, Home Products, Decoration, and Fashion
Creating and selling models of 3D printed jewelry, home, and decor products, and fashion accessories is a really profitable niche to explore. You can start small and gradually build your customer base from there.
Monthly Subscription Box
Another popular approach is to offer Monthly subscription packages, and boxes to your subscribers are customers. The subscription-based services are popular among 3D printing enthusiasts, especially the tabletop gaming community.
3D Printed Accessories for Events
The event industry is huge, from birthdays, weddings, and graduation parties to corporate events and conventions. Custom 3D printing the accessories can help the organizers stand out and provide their clients with a unique experience.
These are just a few of the niches that you can target. There are a number of other profitable avenues you can explore that will help you become a successful 3D printing entrepreneur.
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3D printing is definitely something entrepreneurs should look into.