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Practice makes a man perfect. Correctly said as you have both skills and knowledge that you have equipped yourself with in the world of 3D printing.

Some of the major benefits of 3D printing services are the ability to iterate through designs quickly or the low cost production of components or the lack of need for costly tooling. Also 3D printing offers you the freedom of designing freely.

The hours you spend printing 3D models and toys are not going to be in vain. Hence this guide will provide you some basic ideas about how you can earn money using your skills and setting up business.

  1. Subcontracting

This is the easiest way to make money with your 3D printer. It's sort of a low cost manufacturing service for people who need components fast.

  • At first you to get a prospectus or a client who need a ready made 3D model and ask you to print it
  • You offer this client a price at which you are willing to print the models
  • The customer may accept the offered price or you may have to bargain
  • Post accepting the offer you print the path in the requested quantities
  • You deliver the printed parts and make profit

This business model relies on marketing heavily. You can start marketing your services on social media handles like Facebook, Reddit or LinkedIn communities and post regular updates about your business. You can also spread the word by making use of your family and relatives or even friends for that matter.

You also should be ready for spending a small amount of money for advertising on the internet like Google ads or Facebook and Instagram ads. You can also apply to be accepted on Craftcloud or All3DP's 3D printing and price comparison service.

The next thing that should be taken care of is the cost that your business model is going to bear. This includes the cost of your printer, marketing insurance, premises cost and utilities and also consumables like materials nozzles, etc. Try starting small and local which invoice around $1,000 to $10000 of investment.

When quoting fees to the client you also should consider the risk as well as other factors. You should also try to accommodate the cost of failed prints and builds and wasted materials. The best way to charge a client is to charge him per hour plus the material cost of the component or even the post processing time engagement.

Subcontracting is a type of scheme where you can put as much as or as little as time into it as much you can afford. You can add multiple printers and employ them into printing for your clients.

Platforms like treatstock may help you connect potential customers with printers. Take benefit of the sales and marketing via such platforms

  1. CAD and reverse engineering

Prior to the twentieth century designers were bound to draw by hand. Speculating the exact measurements like length, width, depth and angle.

Today too some engineers and workshops work in the form of 2D drawings. Hence this business model can help and influence them greatly.

  • At first a prospect or a client approaches you with a 2D drawing of a component they want to print or might want a physical component in the digitalised and printed form.
  • You offer a price of your time for using CAD to create a digital form of the component and also the cost of printing the component.
  • The customer may accept or you may have to bargain
  • On acceptance of the offer; if it is 2D drawing you'll have to use your card skills to draw that model into 3D on CAD. If the provided component is a physical part you might need to use measurements to accurately measure and model the part.
  • The next step is to use your 3D printer to print and validate the geometry of the component
  • Incase where robust materials are needed you may use services like Craft Cloud to find a supplier you can subcontract to.
  • You deliver the necessary form of either printed or digitalised drawing of the component and make profit

This is not an easy business model as you need to have visibility of your own. You need to  network with engineers to get your name out there for such kind of work. Not to forget that will be held liable for the accurateness and representation of the parts.

This type of setup might cost you around $2000 and up. You need to take into account the cost of a 3D scanner and the added cost of CAD software.

While quoting the price to the client take into account the time that is required for accurately modelling components. Also consider the amount of money spent on subcontracting and scanning. To avoid all such mathematics and economics you can charge them by a day’s rate.

  1. Product development

In product development you have to use both your cat skills and 3D printing skills to come up with something unique as a product to sell.

  • You can invent any type of item for jewellery or any product that is used in daily life and can make life easier.
  • The first step is to brainstorm the concepts of products which people might have a need or desire for
  • The next step is to design out your 3D models and use CAD for this purpose.
  • You might want to print out some samples in case you need to see how it goes
  • You have an option of disclosing about the products to your close ones namely your family or friends to get feedback about the same. You can also alter or modify the product based on the reviews that you get.
  • You can also pitch this product to potential customers based on the feedback you received in the first place.
  • Affirming that your product is perfect you can sell as many as possible making enormous profits.

This business model will require the sole focus on sales and marketing. Probably you can do this via the internet or  with the help of phase or networking events and markets. You can also approach merchants to sell your products on your behalf. Another way out can be creating a web store and utilising e-commerce platforms.

The setup of this type of business model code is as low as 1000 dollars. But this is not the final price for the cost but a speculated one. It may depend on the equipment you decide to work with to determine the investment in in this business model

A few things should be kept in mind while deciding the price of your product. The cost involved in your product starting from the time to design it to the production cost should matter to you. Considering the cost of production while you produce the products in volumes is essential.

Also Read : Multi Color 3D Printer

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