Things to 3D Print and Sell – Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

There are lots of amazing things you can do with your 3D printers. If you'd love to make money by selling quality 3D-printed items, this article is for you.
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Last updatedLast updated: October 21, 2022
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Owning a 3D printer is like having a money-printing machine in your closet. With lots of creative things to 3D print and sell, the 3D printing business has become an enticing entrepreneurial venture that promises good fortune. Nevertheless, starting this business isn’t usually that easy. You will need to cross your t’s and dot your I’s and be abreast of all needful details concerning this creative 3D printing business.

Whether you’re a professional craftsman, an artist, or a hobbyist who loves to try something new, your 3D printer can generate revenue for you in different ways. We’ve come up with this article to provide you with the things to print and sell with a 3d printer. Other details relating to the peculiarities of this business will also be discussed.

What You Should Know Before You Get Started 

One of the lucrative businesses people venture into now is selling 3D-printed items. Without mincing words, 3D printers have stood out as one of the high-tech innovations in this age. From providing print-on-demand 3D printing services to selling 3D printed items in online shops, your 3D printer can provide more financial value.

Nevertheless, before you rush to start taking your first orders and even opening your shop, there are a couple of things you should be mindful of.

Profit margins

Calculating your costs and profit margins is crucial before setting a price for your 3D prints. As a business owner, the  profit margin Trusted Source What Should Your Profit Margins Be? www.businessnewsdaily.com is one important detail you must be mindful of. It helps you know how much profit you’ll make with your products.

Look at the 3D printed things to sell and brainstorm how much running costs you’ll incur. To be more specific, look at the wages for your time, the fees of the seller’s platform, the 3D printer power usage, shipping supplies, the print materials, and the cost of the 3D printer itself. You’ll be able to arrive at a more accurate result when your calculations are thorough.

Copyright

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

Problems arising from copyright issues aren’t good for your business. More so, take note that there are two layers to this issue.

Firstly, you have to follow the designer’s license if you’re not the creator of the 3D model you’re printing and selling. Now, take note that you cannot sell if the model is enlisted as non-commercial by the designer.

If you ignore and proceed to sell, you may implicate yourself in a  copyright infringement Trusted Source Copyright Infringement, Fair Use, and Plagiarism | ORI - The Office of Research Integrity Table of Contents | Previous | Next ori.hhs.gov case that may lead to a legal battle.

Secondly, note that trademarked material and copyright prints cannot be sold. If, this time, there’s a commercial license attributed to the model, you still can’t sell.

Competition

Competition is a constant factor when you’re venturing into a business. The products you intend to market will likely have a lot of competition. Or maybe not. Never guess, do your research and know what the competition looks like.

In the course of your research, you should study what others are doing, look out for the interests of the customers, and brainstorm a way to offer something unique.

The Quality of Your Prints

You shouldn’t only brainstorm 3d printing ideas to sell; you need to ensure that the integrity of your prints isn’t compromised. To keep the quality of your prints high, you may want to consider investing in one of the best ABS 3D printers on the market.

It will be difficult to attract customers if your prints are low quality. Again, you may want to look at how the price you put up will not affect the quality of your prints.

Shipping Method 

If you have a vision for your business and you believe you’re in for the growth it promises, you need to put shipping into cognizance. When it comes to shipping, there are lots of factors that you must account for.

Firstly, how will it work? Will it be guaranteed? Secondly, consider shipping costs. This cost should be added to your price, especially if you’ll be shipping your prints. If shipping internationally, you must also be mindful of the shipping time.

Marketing and Selling Your 3D prints

There are several available channels you can use to sell your 3D prints. You can get in-person sales through trade shows, festivals, craft fairs, and other live events. Social media is a tool you can explore for your product’s advertisement.

As recommended by experts, it’s advised that you stay clear from flooding or spamming certain timelines and pages. The right  social media marketing Trusted Source Frontiers | Role of Social Media Marketing Activities in Influencing Customer Intentions: A Perspective of a New Emerging Era The aim of this study is to explore the social media marketing activities and their impact on consumer intentions (continuance, participate, purchase). This study also analyzes the mediating roles of social identification and satisfaction. www.frontiersin.org skills will help put your products out without you being a pest to others.

It takes a good presentation to market and sell 3D-printed items on social media. You need to do in-depth descriptions, present your creations creatively with high-quality photos, and assure customers that you can be trusted.

You can also leverage the existing audience of existing marketplaces. Give your 3D prints for displays in local businesses and consignment shops.

Another option is to create your website where you can sell your 3D-printed items. The beautiful thing about this is that it will relieve you from the stress of looking for a middleman before you can reach your potential customers.

More so, there are no commission costs, and every profit you make is yours. If you are, however, looking at selling your 3D-printed items on other websites, here are the top online marketplaces you should consider.

Etsy

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

Handmade supplies, vintage products, and an array of household products are the regulars you’ll find on this online marketplace. So, if you have some household things to 3D print and sell, you should consider this marketplace.

Whenever you sell an item, there’s a small percentage they take. There’s also a four-month listing fee of $0.20 for each item. The Etsy platform has been very profitable for successful item sales, such as toys, cookie cutters, and planters.

Amazon

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

Of all the available eCommerce platforms, none comes close to amazon. It’s the largest. It has a warehouse system where third-party sellers are seamlessly incorporated.

Amazon would process your 3D print items and sell them after you’ve dropped your items at their nearest warehouse. More so, take note that shipping fees and sales commission charges apply.

eBay

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

eBay is another nice marketplace where you can sell your print items. It started as an auction site, and it remains relevant as an eCommerce platform for selling items today. Integrating the ‘Buy It Now’ makes product purchases very accessible. You can get started today and enjoy the free listings as a seller.

After making your revenue, there’s a slight percentage you’ll have to pay. However, we advise that eBay is best to supplement other eCommerce platforms you’re using. Don’t make it your principal 3D printing business eCommerce platform.

Fiverr

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

Fiverr is a big competitor for its peers like Freelancer, Upwork, and others. Nevertheless, note that the way it works is different from the other three online marketplaces that have been mentioned. You can think of it as a supplement. What you’ll be doing here is marketing your 3D printing skills. You’ll not be listing your products here, but you’ll be paid for your labor.

To make a quick comparison of the three online marketplaces, we will want you to be aware of these four elements, which are competition size, commission rate, setup difficulty, and audience size. Now, here’s a brief highlight of the comparative details you need;

  • Etsy has a high competition size, a low-medium commission rate, an easy setup, and a large audience size.
  • eBay has a medium competition size, a high commission rate, a medium-easy setup, and a large-medium audience size.
  • Amazon has a high competition size, a medium commission rate, a medium setup, and a large audience size.

Top Things to 3D Print and Sell

The plenty of items you can 3D print and sell can make it difficult to choose what you want to sell exactly. Nevertheless, here are some of the best things to 3d print and sell.

Miniatures

Miniatures are inarguably one of the nice things to 3D print. These highly detailed and small figurines can fetch you some good revenue because they’re often in high demand from people.

However, you should know that you will need a resin 3D printer to print high-quality miniatures. An FDM 3D printer can also handle larger terrain pieces.

The customizable feature of these miniatures makes them appeal to lots of users. These miniatures can be painted and decorated when purchased by the buyers. Not all traditional manufacturing companies sell all the kinds of miniatures that customers want. This makes 3D printing unique miniatures a very profitable venture.

Cosplay Items

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

This is a labor-intensive option, but it’s one of the good things to 3D print and sell. Cosplay items are favorites of many but be aware that they’re not for the fainthearted hearts. To make these cosplay costumes and props, you can spend lots of hours and days.

The printing and post-processing aren’t easier too, and this is because of how large these items are. 3D-printed helmets and 3D-printed armor sets are popular examples of cosplay items.

People who purchase these items always look forward to nothing short of excellence. They want that professional touch that will make them nod and affirm the prowess of the finish. As a seller, you’ll be spending a lot of effort and time to make the item come out exceedingly well.

The good side is that these items can be sold at a high markup. With this, you get compensated for your effort and time. Given the nature of these items, you may want to use one of the best direct drive 3D printers that will handle the projects more efficiently.

Jewelry

Jewelry is one of the cool things to 3d print and sell. Who doesn’t wear jewelry these days? Maybe a few. But not so many. If you approach these items business-wise, you can make much profit! The only issue most people have with this jewelry market is that several hobbyists and artisans tend to oversaturate it. To keep your visibility high in the marketplace, you need to adopt strategic and unique marketing and designs.

You must be ready to pay attention to a high level of detail if you’re 3D printing jewelry. A minimum of 4K resin printers will give you the perfect result.

For this project, it’s advised that you stay away from FDM 3D printers, even though some of them can still produce good results. You may want to look at the list of our best 3D printers for jewelry which will help you do the job efficiently.

Toys

Children will always need toys to play with. This makes toys some of the most useful things to 3D print and sell. Nevertheless, you need to be careful. You just can’t 3D print children’s products anyhow. You need to be aware of the regulations guiding it. To make and sell items that very young children will use, you’ll need some certifications. These certifications and procedures are different across distinct countries.

To be safer, you may consider targeting older kids and adults by creating articulated creatures and fidget toys. Printing them with a PLA filament like the ANYCUBIC PLA 3D Printer Filament will make them come out more intriguing. Glow-in-the-dark and color-changing elements also make them very memorable. They don’t demand much post-processing. Even if you’re using a traditional FDM 3D printer, they’ll print smoothly without any bickering.

Nerf Gun Accessories

If you don’t want to go for cosplay items because of how demanding they are, or you want to avoid the regulation stress of kids’ items, you should consider nerf gun accessories. They’re one of the easy things to 3d print and sell. Plus, they’re quite a popular niche.

Common Nerf-related 3D prints include improved barrels, larger magazines, extra clips for discontinued products, dart holders, and sights. Most times, customized Nerf gun designs and cosplay props often complement each other. But then, you have to be careful not to breach any trademark rule.

Architecture Models

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

Architectural prints are not the easiest. They’re quite difficult. Their printing often occurs in pieces before they can be assembled to form a holistic and meaningful element. They’re undoubtedly great options for individuals willing to give in the required level of effort. More so, you can sell them at a premium price.

These prints can be utilized as decoration, play, education, visualization, or prototyping. An easy way to market and sell these prints is to look for local companies seeking tangible models of their designs. Engineering and architectural firms can also be your targets.

Figurines and Statues

These 3D prints also sell impressively well. Nevertheless, you should know that there’s an array of them online, and they’re copyrighted. From characters from TV shows and movies to video games, you have to be sure you’re not replicating an item that hasn’t been made and copyrighted. Even so, you still have lots of options to explore.

Designs from mythological creatures and animals will sell well, and you won’t have to worry about infringing on anybody’s copyright. If you’re looking for more diversification of your product offerings, you can think out of the box. How about making a statue of people’s pets or the customers themselves? Custom figurines can sell pretty well, but if you’re not excellently skilled in sculpting or 3D modeling, you may struggle with it.

Phone Cases

Almost everybody uses phones these days except for babies anyways. This means that you’ll be serving tons of people with these prints. With your 3D printer, there’s no limit to how creative you can be with phone case prints. An ABS or a PLA like the PLA Filament by MIKA3D Store can be used to make a very nice decorative hard case. With a flexible filament like thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), you can also print stretch cases.

There are lots of online retailers and stores that are already selling these inexpensive basic cases. If you want to, you need to bring your uniqueness and creativity into the game. But then, the constantly updating distinct phone models make phone case 3D printing difficult. Nevertheless, you can just get started with a few varied phone models. And with time, you can streamline your specifics.

Self-watering Planters

The 3D printing world is no stranger to planters generally. They’re very popular, come in different kinds, and sell well. The offerings in your business should include this fantastic item because they can’t be easily found in stores.

You can make a water reservoir or the planter itself — these are the two parts of self-watering planters. When designing these two pieces, you need to ensure they don’t leak and are watertight. If your planter has a clear, non-toxic sealant, it can build the confidence your customers have in you and prevent any seeping.

Designer Vases 

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

Home decorations are part of the biggest things now. One of the ways homeowners decorate their homes is to purchase 3D-printed vases. These commercially available vases are sophisticated and modern because they create exotic shapes.

However, note that these vases must also be watertight like the aforementioned planters. Again, a sealant will do. The beautiful thing about vases is that they’re not difficult to make. A resin 3D printer or an FDM will make your 3D vase prints come out well. Other options that will be excellent for these vases prints include clay 3D printers and extruder-driven ceramics.

Raspberry Pi Cases

When it comes to homemade electronics projects, these raspberry Pi boards aren’t uncommon. These boards can serve as an underpowered DIY computer, power a video game emulator console, act as a controller for other projects, or control smart home equipment. They fit several projects, and they’re affordable single-board computers.

Due to the small size of Raspberry Pi, printing enclosures and cases for them isn’t difficult at all. There’s a professional and more functional look the cases give, and they serve as protection too. There are lots of enthusiastic tinkerers that will be glad to purchase these cases from you. Selling all-assembled Raspberry Pi projects can also be considered if you know your way around electronics.

Eyeglasses Frames

Over the years, there has been an increase in the popularity of 3D-printed eyeglass frames. 3D-printed eyeglass frames are sold by different top eyewear companies around the globe. Specialty filaments, including WoodFill, are used to make these products. Not all people who buy eye frames are always looking to purchase from big-name companies. Your ability to design a new pair of frames that easily fit people’s existing lenses can bring sales to you.

People looking forward to promoting more aesthetics or comfort by getting a new pair of 3D printed frames that will accommodate their sunglasses or blue light will also bring potential customers. If you’re going to be working on this project, it’s very important that you stay clear of low-temp filaments and PLA. This is due to the strong heat resistance factor. Filaments with higher glass transition temperatures, like Nylon and ABS, would be best for the task.

Lamps

You can use your 3D printer to make an array of distinct kinds of lamps. Lamps are popular 3D print items that sell pretty well. Since it’s a part of home décor, it will always appeal to homeowners with eyes for splendid illumination. What’s important is that you make sure your design is very nice and unique and can complement the beauty of the living space.

More so, note that you’ll need a 3D printer with at least a medium build volume for this project. If you’re considering making pendant lights, you cannot escape this. You also need to be careful with your designs because the texture and shape of these lamps can make things a little bit challenging.

Landmarks

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

There are tons of monuments, statues, famous places, and popular buildings you can recreate with landmark statues and models. From the Taj Mahal and Statue of Liberty to the Pyramid of Giza, the Kremlin, the Great Wall of China, and the Eiffel Tower, there are tons of intriguing landmarks across all the continents of the world, and it’s almost impossible to run out of ideas.

You can also think beyond the usual architectural models. These 3D landmark prints are often used in teaching in modern classrooms. As they are excellent educational tools, they also appeal to children and parents. They’re also used for story-building exercises, tabletop campaigns, and games.

Headphone Stand

These days, music is one of the world’s biggest things, and music lovers find headphones handy.  However, the problem a lot of headphone users have is finding a safe spot to put their headphones. This is where your design will come in to save the day.

Headphone stands can provide solutions to individuals seeking a safe and proper spot to relax their headphones. Especially those who use expensive and high-end headphones, they can get a proper stand instead of the usual couches and desks where they can be vulnerable to getting broken. This kind of product will appeal to a lot of young folks.

Toilet Paper Phone Holder

It’s not new that many people today have become best friends with their phones. The toilet has become one of the best places to press your phone and enjoy interesting chats while you get busy. Now, the problem many people have is that they don’t have a safe and secure spot in the toilet where they can place their phones.

You can design something like a toilet paper phone holder but make sure it’s durable, stands firm, and is not slippery. You can be creative with your design. These designs can be installed by drilling a few screw holes. They can also work with double-sided adhesives for installation.

3D Printed Home and Office Stands 

How about taking things beyond a headphone stand? The beautiful thing about stands is that they help to ease workflow and improve people’s workspaces. In a home, they can come very handy for electronics such as VR headsets and other gaming devices, laptops, and others.

You can start by designing a laptop stand. People looking to quit straining their necks while on their laptops will find this useful. You can also design a charging stand. You can use a regular PLA or HTPLA (High-Temp PLA) to design these products.

Things to 3D Print and Sell - Start a Unique and Profitable Business! (Fall 2022)

FAQs

Here are some of the frequently asked questions on selling 3D prints.

1. Is it legal to 3D print and sell?

There’s nothing illegal about selling your 3D prints. Selling your 3D prints is a perfectly legal thing to do. What’s important is that you don’t complicate things for yourself.

Firstly, stay away from selling trademarked goods. Secondly, be aware if there’s a need to be specially certified for certain items you’re planning to sell. Baby items are examples. Likewise, be informed that every country has its respective certifications. And to stay clear from other people’s intellectual property, create your models.

2. Is selling 3D prints profitable?

Making money online has been made easy with 3D print sales. However, the amount of profit you’ll make will be determined by the items you make and your marketing strategy. It’s important that you do extensive market research so that you can enjoy satisfactory results from your sales. Try to find a way to stand out after you’ve identified the top things to 3D print and sell.

3. Do people buy 3D-printed objects?

People do. The 3D printing business has been experiencing an intriguing surge of interest. People have also consistently expressed their interest in unique or specially crafted items. To make people buy your 3D printed objects, make sure your descriptions are clear, and the materials used for the making are clearly stated.

Final thoughts

There’s no end to what you can do with your 3D printer. If you’re willing to put in the hard work it demands and research, you’ll find yourself thriving in the business. It’s almost impossible to run out of ideas for what you can 3D print and sell.

While it’s acknowledged that miniatures, planters, and cosplay props are best-selling 3d printed items, you can also come up with your creative designs.

Additionally, we advise that you’re cautious of the marketplace you choose and what you sell there. With al amazing things to 3D print and sell, you should also be mindful of the taste of the main customer base of the marketplaces you choose. Good luck.

References

1.
What Should Your Profit Margins Be?
2.
Copyright Infringement, Fair Use, and Plagiarism | ORI - The Office of Research Integrity
Table of Contents | Previous | Next
3.
Frontiers | Role of Social Media Marketing Activities in Influencing Customer Intentions: A Perspective of a New Emerging Era
The aim of this study is to explore the social media marketing activities and their impact on consumer intentions (continuance, participate, purchase). This study also analyzes the mediating roles of social identification and satisfaction.
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