Spread the love

3D printing is a relatively new method of manufacturing goods. It entails generating a model of your product that will allow your printer to craft the item according to the requirements you specify. There are numerous advantages to 3D printing, including its ease of use and the potential to manufacture one-of-a-kind objects without spending a fortune.

3D printers make excellent gifts for consumers, sparking creativity and inspiring entrepreneurship. The possibilities are nearly unlimited, including the opportunity to earn from your printer.

Starting a 3D printing side hustle can be an amazing method to make money because it takes a modest initial investment and only a minor learning curve. There is bound to be something for everyone, from beginning a blog to selling 3D-printed things.

3D printing is a rapidly expanding business with enormous possibilities for entrepreneurs. When launching a 3D printing firm, keep in mind that potential is not the same as actuality. Your actual earnings may range greatly from those of others. To give you an idea, here are several YouTubers and how much money they reported generating from 3D printing:

  • Joe from Martinson Manufacturing began offering print on-demand services in 2018. In 2020, he made over $100,000, and the next year this grew to over $150,000.
  • Uncle Jessy started an Etsy store in 2015. From 2015 to 2021, he made $30,076.44 in revenue from it.
  • Ken from OriginaldoBo started selling on Etsy in 2021. In that year alone, he made over $42,000 in revenue.

As you can tell, there’s quite a bit of variability in 3D printing business success. You may only have it as a side business for years before it becomes a significant source of income, or you could find rapid success in your first year.

Build 3D Prototypes

Many entrepreneurs and inventors work to build prototypes of their potential products in the early stages of their business. Before 3D printing, this was a common stopgap between becoming a successful inventor as it required a rather large investment and working with a firm to produce one.

Instead, offer to create prototypes for inventors. You can charge an hourly rate for your consultation and an additional fee for the product you print depending on the complexity of the item. Many 3D printing services will charge outlandish prices, offering you a great opportunity.

Building prototypes can be an excellent way to make money with a 3D printer because it is a necessary step for every business looking to create a physical product and many entrepreneurs are willing to pay for your services. The amount of money you can charge for your printing services will vary, but in some cases you can make over $500 per project.

Sell Educational Models to Schools

One of the best ways to make money with 3D printing is to sell educational models to schools. It is now widely accepted that 3D printing is an excellent learning tool that is widely used in STEM education. But not all schools have the funds to purchase 3D printers, or have trained educators who can teach 3D printing to students. Instead of selling them 3D printers – which already most businesses are pursuing – you can persuade schools to purchase educational models.

All schools use standard medical or science models to teach students, and these are mostly outdated and even loosely mended together to keep them from breaking apart. So, replacing their existing models and more interestingly, offering them new and unique 3D printed models to enhance the students’ understanding of concepts, ideas, and topics, is significantly interesting to schools.

Read Also: Mobile Pet Grooming

You will have to develop conceptual models and either design them yourself or get them designed and 3D printed. Once you have the sample models, you just need to go on a selling spree. If you secure an order, get it manufactured on-demand and deliver it to the school.

You can create 3D printed models of all human body bones, and conceptual models to explain science, math, geography, history, and literally any subject that can be explained substantially well with models. Focus on developing products that not only help students but can also reduce the effort of educators to teach those concepts.

3D Printer Reviewer

You can become a 3D printer reviewer if you are an expert in handling and using a 3D printer. You can contact manufacturers to obtain a 3D printer and write an exciting review of the 3D printer. This review can be posted on third-party blogs or even on your own YouTube channel. You can earn money from the manufacturer who wants his product reviewed by a third party or from the blog that will publish your content. This is one of the most straightforward ways to make money with 3D printing.

3D Printing YouTube Channel

This idea is closely related to the previous one about reviewing 3D printers. In addition to 3D printers, you can also review materials and software suites. No doubt a YouTube channel will require a considerable time to monetise, but as this is a side hustle, you won’t mind. All you have to do is post one video per 7 to 10 days. You may take a year to generate ad revenue but this idea certainly has a great long-term potential.

Invest in 3D Printing Stocks

If you are a stock trader, you should look into 3D printing stocks. The market is undoubtedly young, but if you enjoy taking risks, you can certainly take a look at the stocks. Many companies have gone public in recent years, and if you want to take a chance, consider this option.


If you are a technology expert, why not put it to good use. You can start a consultancy business. This can easily be a side hustle, but with this idea, you can make a lot of money with 3D printing.

Globally, the rate of adoption of 3D printing technology remains slow. MSMEs believe that the capital investment is prohibitively expensive to even consider the technology. Though this is true to some extent, investing in 3D printers will provide benefits across the entire supply chain, as opposed to traditional machines, which only provide benefits in certain parts of the production.

This is where the consultant can assist businesses in making better decisions about adopting 3D printing. You, as a consultant, can assist in answering questions like the need of the 3D printing technology for the business, whether the business really needs the technology, and, if so, how to implement the technology and more. Having someone at their side, will certainly help the MSMEs deal with technology sellers.

3D Scanning

With the introduction of 3D printing, reverse engineering has gained renewed interest and momentum. Because of the ease with which any type of object can be 3D printed, many industries are now scanning obsolete or old machine parts and having them 3D printed.

There are several ways to profit from 3D scanning. All you need is a scanner, which will undoubtedly be an investment, but you can also purchase smaller handheld scanners and provide scanning services.

Finding work through online freelancing jobs is the best approach. Several websites list available jobs, and you can also inquire directly with companies about contracting work. Once you’ve identified a few potential clients, you can start scanning and creating digital files.

Rent out your 3D printer or 3D Pen

In 2023 and going forward, this is the best way to make money with 3D printing. If you have a 3D printer and/or a 3D Pen that you are not using, consider renting it out. Connecting with schools can earn you a quick buck by renting it to them during their science fairs, lab days, or any other special day. You can also rent it out to an engineering student for his academic project or to a local manufacturer. Additionally, you can even get resourceful and look for unique customers, such as families who want to have fun on weekends, parents who home-school their kids, and so on.

Sell digital 3D models

This is a great online side hustle and an easy way to make money with 3D printing. The only prerequisite is that you need to be proficient in designing for 3D printing. If you are, then you can try to search for trends and cash in on them by creating relevant 3D models.

You can also unique create models for household or office products like home décor. You can sell them on online 3D model repositories. Some designers also create designs for household parts that regularly break and can be replaced with 3D-printed spare parts But this has to be done carefully to ensure you are not infringing on any copyrighted/trademarked designs.

For designing the CAD models you will obviously require good modeling software and depending on your forte you can use modeling software for automotive applications, architectural applications or even for aerospace applications. You can also use free CAD software applications to design models.

Some sellers decide to sell file packs, while others sell each file individually. Other sellers do a combination of both. File packs are a great way to collect simple, related files and charge a higher price. Meanwhile, selling individually is usually a great option for elaborate models.

  • Etsy

Etsy allows you to sell both physical products and digital ones, so you can sell 3D models here, too. STL files (the typical 3D printing file format) are decently popular on the platform.

There are a few problems with Etsy, though, particularly with the competition you’ll face. Some of the sellers on there sell what they call “megapacks,” which claim to have thousands of gigabytes of 3D files all in one place. Many of these are resellers, and some have even been accused of using pirated content. But these megapacks are quite popular because they offer a lot of content at a cheap price.

That being said, unique and original STL files still sell on Etsy. There are a few stores that have had thousands of sales solely from selling files, such as TacoMolds (3,157 sales while this article was being written) and Flexi Factory (3,977 sales). Along with being in demand on the platform, a variety of files do well. Whether you’re creating simple, practical items or elaborate figurines, you may be able to find success on there like some of the other STL file sellers have.

  • eBay

There aren’t many STL file sellers on eBay at the moment, but most of the ones that do have hundreds and thousands of sales. The main types of files that sell on eBay are elaborate models, so it’s a great place to show off your 3D design skills without much competition.

  • Amazon

Amazon is a bit different from the other platforms because they restrict the types of files you can sell. You can’t sell STL files directly. Instead, you can sell them indirectly, such as creating an eBook that includes hyperlinks to your STL files. It’s a bit more work-intensive than some of the other platforms, but it’s a largely untapped market that could pay dividends.

  • Fiverr

Fiverr is a steadily growing platform that offers services and products on demand. On Fiverr, your business model will be different. Rather than selling digital products as individual or group listings, you instead list your custom 3D modeling service for customers to buy. This often requires being a skilled designer since you’ll need to create models according to client specifications rather than selling previously created models. You may find Fiverr rewarding if you love challenging your creativity and working directly with customers to create designs they love.

3D printing is popular on Fiverr right now, so it might be difficult to stand out from the more established sellers. The best way to do this is to make your listing, description, and profile unique so that customers are enticed to choose you. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Make your listing for a specific niche rather than a general category. Many sellers have something like “I will create a custom STL file,” but there aren’t many sellers who specifically offer cookie cutters, keychain designs, figurines, and so on.
  • If you want to offer more than one product, you can always create another listing to appeal to a different target audience.
  • Make sure to list any experience, education, or certifications in your profile. Buyers want to make sure you’re the best option for their needs.
  • Make the description of your listing personable and relatable. Many customers find down-to-earth language more appealing than generic, corporate speak.

Sell Personalised Products

The world is approaching a time when people are more inclined to purchase personalized products. Most customers are tired of mass-produced products that do not reflect their individuality. So, for such customers, you can design and 3D print personalized one-of-a-kind products that make them feel special. You can take user input on shape, size, texture, color, geometry, and much more into account while creating such a unique product.

Selling such personalized products can help you make money with 3D printing, and it does not have to be a full-time job. It’s a great side hustle.

3D printers can be used to make all kinds of products, from toys to models to mugs and so much more. Here’s how to get started designing and selling products online:

  • Explore Ideas on Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the best places to find ideas and save them for future reference. If you want to create an original product but are short on inspiration, it’s a great place to start. It’s also helpful for market research. You might have an idea already, but if no one’s interested in it, it can lead to a lot of wasted time and money on your end.

Once you find the inspiration you need, you can go into a 3D modeling program and design your product.

  • Sell on Etsy

Once you have the design ready, you’ll need to set up your online store. While you could start a website from scratch, I highly recommend starting with an Etsy shop. There’s no initial cost to set up a store. You’ll just pay fees as you go along, like listing fees and processing fees. There are also optional advertising fees if you want more product visibility. Here’s a breakdown of the fees:

Etsy is not only cost-effective — it also gets more organic traffic. SEO takes time to build up for store websites, but Etsy stores get traffic from people searching on the site and from search engines.

All in all, Etsy is a great place to start making money off your 3D prints. As your business grows, you can always decide to expand to other marketplaces or leave the platform entirely to start your own online store.

Start a 3D Printing Service Business

Some people might want to have a product produced with a 3D printer for multiple reasons. You can consider starting a service to print products on demand. The amount you charge for your printing services ranges depending on the complexity of the project and the time it will take to design.

By starting a print on demand business, making money with 3D printing can be a breeze.

Although, it isn’t always sunshine and daisies when starting a 3D printing business. You’ll be forced to deal with many customers which can become a headache and you’ll often be faced with requests outside of traditional 3D printing services.

About Author


MegaIncomeStream is a global resource for Business Owners, Marketers, Bloggers, Investors, Personal Finance Experts, Entrepreneurs, Financial and Tax Pundits, available online. egaIncomeStream has attracted millions of visits since 2012 when it started publishing its resources online through their seasoned editorial team. The Megaincomestream is arguably a potential Pulitzer Prize-winning source of breaking news, videos, features, and information, as well as a highly engaged global community for updates and niche conversation. The platform has diverse visitors, ranging from, bloggers, webmasters, students and internet marketers to web designers, entrepreneur and search engine experts.