3D printing has been taking off in a big way over the last decade. Hobbyists, artists, and designers have many opportunities to make money with their 3D printers. We’ve made a list of 15 of the best ways to cash in on this market! If you love to use your 3D printing skills, one of these ideas is bound to be perfect for you.
1. Print Figurines
3D printing figurines of popular characters in various fictional universes is a great way for you to make money at home with your 3D printer. You could add slight customizations, make the limbs movable, add props, and make them as large as the person who ordered them wants them to be. Because of the complexity and the recognizable characters, you could charge quite a bit of money for these figurines if you choose to sell them.
However, depending on the fictional universe that the character figurine you are printing belongs to, there are certain laws and extra fees that you need to keep in mind before selling the figurines. Many companies, such as Disney and Warner Bros., require you to pay them when you sell something that is based on a character in a universe that they own. They can do this because of copyright and patent laws.
It may not be a big deal unless you are a major retailer, but you should still be aware of this danger. You don’t want to face a lawsuit because of an illegal Tweety Bird!
2. Print Busts
If you want to make money with your 3D printer at home, you can print custom busts. You could print ones that look like various famous characters, historical figures, custom busts based on photographs, pets, and more! You could make the busts in different sizes and various colors. If you make busts of characters, you can ensure that many small details are included, which means you can charge more money for the printing.
Before you make 3D printing of famous characters, make sure that you are allowed to sell custom items based on the various characters that you are planning on printing. Copyright laws may limit which characters you can sell images or replicas of.
3. Print Action Figures of Normal People
If you want to make money with your 3D printer at home, you can print action figures that look like normal people. Many people think that it would be cool to have an action figure that looks exactly like them and will definitely pay someone who can make it.
You could make it fully customizable as well. You could let people choose the colors of their costume, their name, their superpowers, how large the figure will be, and what their suit will look like.
You could also allow them to choose whether or not their costume has a cape, although many people will probably want their superhero costume to have a cape because they look cool. You could even allow them to include a pet next to them to aid them in their superhero adventures. Superhero action figures based on people are limitless, so you could make a lot of money selling custom action figures online.
4. Print Building Replicas
Many people have buildings that hold sentimental value to them and want to have a small replica in their home for them to look at every day. Others think that particular buildings look really cool and want to have a replica in their home. If you want to make money with your 3D printer at home, sell replicas of various buildings.
You could choose to only print out replicas of famous buildings like Notre Dame or the White House to make it easier for yourself, but you could also allow people to upload pictures of the building that they want a replica of. However, figuring out the design of the building may be slightly difficult with only a picture to base your design on, so you may want to show your clients what the replica of the building will look like before you start printing it.
Allowing your clients to see the product before it is printed may also make them more excited to get the actual product, which is almost always good for business.
5. Print Various Items for Companies
Many companies need or want items to be printed with a 3D printer, but do not have one on-site. So what do they do? They hire people to print the items they need and have the finished products sent to the company.
If you want to make money at home with your 3D printer, you could print various items that companies might need. You could charge by how large the item is, how complicated the design is, how long it will take to print, or any other factor. If you print things for hire, then you can work around your schedule and still make a lot of money.
An easy way to be available for companies to hire you to 3D print items is by creating a shop on Esty or another independent retailer website.
6. Print Game Pieces
Games are played around the world, but sometimes pieces get lost or broken. Unfortunately, many companies do not sell individual pieces to replace lost or broken pieces, so people then have an incomplete game that has become slightly harder to play.
If you want to make money with your 3D printer at home, you can make replacement pieces for a variety of games, or you could sell custom replacement game pieces. You could even charge people a little bit more money if they want the game pieces to be painted to look like the original game piece.
However, we would recommend offering this service only if you have a lot of experience with painting things professionally. You could get some bad reviews if the customer isn’t happy with your paint job!
7. Print Tools
If you want to make money with your 3D printer at home, you can also print tools. You can print any tools that you want to sell, and you can print them in any color that your client chooses. 3D printed tools do work, although they are slightly harder to use because they lack the weight that pure metal adds. However, they can still be used and are much easier to carry than traditional tools, so many people want to purchase 3D printed tools.
You don’t have to sell tools that are complicated to make. You could simply sell a variety of screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, and putty knives and have a pretty extensive inventory of 3D printed tools that work. However, you may have to add some sort of weight to the hammer so it can work properly when used.
8. Print Vases
Vases are very popular 3D printed items. If you want to work from home and make money with your 3D printer, make vases and sell them online. They don’t have to look like boring vases that you can find at any craft store. Instead, make the vases look clean and modern. Make the vases in a variety of colors and patterns, and make each pattern different from the rest.
Vases can be found in almost any household, and there are a lot of people who want to purchase vases from individuals rather than large companies. If you want to separate the vases that you create from the rest, allow them to be customizable.
9. Print Bowls and Cups
If you don’t want to 3D print vases, then print bowls and cups. Everyone uses bowls and cups, so there is a large audience that you can appeal to. Many people don’t want to pay a lot of money for cups and bowls that are made out of glass or stone and bowls made from a 3D printer appeal to people because they were made in a different way than usual, so your business will likely do well after people find out about it.
10. Print 3D Portraits
Many people want portraits of their friends or loved ones, but not everyone wants to hang a painted portrait on the wall. If you want to make money at home using your 3D printer, sell 3D printed portraits of people based on a photo that each client sends to you. However, before you actually print out the 3D portrait, you will want to send the client something that shows what the 3D portrait will look like, just so that they are not surprised or disappointed when it arrives at their house.
3D portraits are definitely talking points when they are seen in a home, and people want to have interesting things to talk about in their home, so you will have a large market to tap into if you choose to sell 3D portraits. You could even make 3D portraits of lost pets, which will definitely be appealing to pet parents.
11. Print Toys
Toys are always being bought, but many parents do not want to purchase toys from large companies that use many chemicals to make the toys that they sell. Instead, they want to purchase toys from independent retailers that tell you exactly what the toys that they are selling are made out of.
If you want to make money at home with your 3D printer, make a variety of toys. You can offer toys with moving parts, toys that work with batteries, or toys that really don’t do anything at all. You could even sell customizable toys where the client tells you what they want a toy to do and look like, and then you make it after they approve of the design. There are endless possibilities when you are making toys with a 3D printer.
12. Print Home Decor
If you want to make money without ever leaving your house with your 3D printer, you can print home decor. Many people who own homes want to have customized home decor in their house so that they can show it off to others, so they will pay a lot of money for a customizable home decoration piece, especially if they have never seen anything that is exactly like it in the past.
You could make anything that you want with a 3D printer when it comes to home decor. You could print out things to hang on the wall, coasters, picture frames, decor pieces that really don’t have a purpose, candleholders, or items that people specifically request. People want to support individual retailers and they want to decorate their homes in a way that suits them. Why not make home decorations with a 3D printer that other people think will look great in their home.
13. Print Keychains
Keychains are very easy to make with a 3D printer, so why not make and sell them while you are at home? Keychains are always popular, but your customers may want keychains that look unique and are customized to their preferences. If you have a 3D printer, then you can sell customized keychains out of your home and make a lot of money.
14. Custom Wedding Memorabilia
If you want to try something a bit more personal, you can also sell customized wedding memorabilia. Many people get married, and they want to give their guests a gift that will remind them of the day for years to come. However, many guests don’t have the ability to bring large gifts home, even if they want to keep the memento for various reasons.
You could make hearts or other keepsakes that have the couple’s names on them, a small replica of the happy couple on their wedding day, or simply allow the bride and groom to customize the gifts. You could even make a one-of-a-kind cake topper! There are endless possibilities when it comes to wedding memorabilia.
15. Film Your 3d Printer Printing Items
If you enjoy using your 3D printer but do not want to sell items online or in stores, then you can always film your 3D printer and post it online.
The videos that you create do not have to be very long, and you can post them on YouTube, TikTok, or Facebook and reach a very large audience. People are interested in this technology, so if you become a popular creator, you could make some money from tutorials, guides, and demonstrations.