💰 20+ Profitable Things to 3D Print and Sell in 2024 [2024] 🤑

Video: Top 5 Tips for Making Money With 3D Printing in 2024.

Have you ever dreamt of turning your love for 3D printing into a side hustle or even a full-fledged business? Remember that time you printed a ridiculously detailed miniature dragon, thinking “I could sell this!”? Well, you can! The world of 3D printing is booming, and there are tons of cool, unique products people are eager to buy. This article dives into the 20+ most profitable things to 3D print and sell in 2024, including popular niches like jewelry, toys, home décor, AND how to get started. We’ll also delve into lucrative business models like Etsy shops, Shopify stores, and print-on-demand services. Get ready to unlock your creative potential and turn your 3D printer into a money-making machine!

Quick Answer

Here’s the TL;DR of how to make money with your 3D printer:

  • Find a niche you’re passionate about: Whether it’s jewelry, toys, home decor, or custom parts, focus on something you love to make.
  • Master the design process: Learn 3D design software and create high-quality models.
  • Print with precision: Experiment with different materials and printing settings to achieve the best results.
  • Set up an online shop: Use a platform like Etsy, Shopify, or Shapeways to sell your creations.
  • Market your products: Utilize social media, content marketing, and local events to attract customers.


Table of Contents

Quick Tips and Facts

You’ve got a 3D printer – awesome! Now, what do you print to make a buck? Buckle up, because the world of 3D printing money-making is more exciting than a unicorn riding a rollercoaster while juggling flaming chainsaws!

Here are some quick facts to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Global 3D Printing Market: The global 3D printing market is expected to reach a staggering USD 62.2 billion by 2029, growing at a fantastic 18.9% CAGR. This is huge! Source: MarketsandMarkets
  • The Power of Customization: 3D printing is perfect for turning unique designs into real products, which people are willing to pay for! This is a huge advantage.
  • Low Startup Costs: Unlike traditional manufacturing, you don’t need a huge factory! Start small, print from home, and grow your business organically.
  • Niche It Up: There’s not one magic product to print. Focus on a specific niche you’re passionate about, like jewelry, toys, or home decor.
  • Get Creative: The possibilities are endless! Think outside the box – 3D printing can create functional parts, personalized gifts, architectural models, prosthetic limbs, and even food – wow! 🤯

The Rise of 3D Printing: A History of Innovation

man in black and white plaid dress shirt wearing black framed eyeglasses

Wait, you want to know about the history of 3D printing and how it got to where it is today? Let’s rewind the clock!

  • Early Days: We can trace the roots of 3D printing back to the 1980s, with the development of stereolithography (SLA) by Chuck Hull in 1986. This was a big deal! This tech involves using a UV laser to solidify liquid resin, layer by layer.

  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM): The technology really took off with FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), pioneered by Scott Crump in 1989. FDM uses a heated nozzle to extrude melted plastic, building up the print layer by layer. This made 3D printing more accessible.

  • Rapid Prototyping Revolution: Early 3D printers were mainly used for rapid prototyping, helping engineers and designers quickly create tangible models for testing and feedback. This sped things up in the product development cycle, making 3D printing a valuable tool in various industries.

  • The Rise of Desktop 3D Printers: The 2000s witnessed a surge in affordable desktop 3D printers, bringing the technology to individual consumers and opening the door to wider applications. This made 3D printing more accessible to hobbyists and entrepreneurs, fueling further development and innovation in the field.

  • 3D Printing for the Masses: Today, 3D printing is no longer a futuristic concept—it’s becoming mainstream! We see it used for everything from creating custom jewelry to producing medical implants.

The journey of 3D printing has been remarkable, and we’re just getting started. The possibilities are truly endless!

Profitable 3D Printing Niches: Where the Money is Made

Video: 50 Money Making Things to 3D Print | 2022.

Okay, so you want to make money with your 3D printer. You’re in the right place! Let’s dive into some profitable niches where you can thrive.

Here are some ideas, along with potential products and target markets:

1. Jewelry ✨

  • Products: Custom rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants
  • Target Market: Fashion lovers, individuals seeking unique and personalized accessories, wedding and event planners
  • Advantages: Jewelry is a popular niche with huge demand for custom and personalized pieces. 3D printing allows for intricate designs and creative freedom!
  • Example: You could offer personalized rings with engraved initials or create custom-designed wedding bands! 💍

2. Toys & Games 🧸

  • Products: Action figures, miniatures, board game components, educational toys, personalized figurines
  • Target Market: Children, collectors, gamers, educators
  • Advantages: Parents are always looking for unique and engaging toys, and collectors love limited edition pieces. 3D printing is perfect for creating custom toys and games.
  • Example: You could create custom action figures based on popular characters or design board game components that are both functional and visually appealing.

3. Home Décor & Accessories 🏠

  • Products: Vases, candle holders, wall art, decorative accents, organizers, planters, lampshades, keychains
  • Target Market: Homeowners looking for unique and personalized pieces, interior designers, gift seekers
  • Advantages: Home décor is a vast and lucrative market. 3D printing enables you to create custom pieces that complement any home design aesthetic.
  • Example: You could design custom vases that come in various colors and shapes for different flowers or create intricate wall art that adds a touch of personality to a space.

4. Prototyping & Design ⚙️

  • Products: Functional prototypes, product mockups, design models, custom parts, tooling
  • Target Market: Start-up companies, inventors, engineers, product designers, manufacturers
  • Advantages: 3D printing is an essential tool for prototyping and product development. It allows for rapid iteration, cost-effective creation of models, and testing of different designs.
  • Example: You could offer prototyping services to entrepreneurs developing new products or create custom parts for existing products.

5. Customized Gifts 🎁

  • Products: Personalized phone cases, keychains, desk organizers, gift tags, personalized nameplates, custom photo frames, custom ornaments
  • Target Market: Gift seekers, friends, family, special occasions, commemorative events, businesses
  • Advantages: People love personalized gifts! 3D printing enables you to create unique and meaningful presents for any occasion.
  • Example: You could create customized phone cases with images or designs, personalize keychains with names or initials, or design unique ornaments for the holidays.

3D Printing for Profit: The Ultimate Guide to Monetizing Your Skills

Video: How To Make Money With 3d Printing Business | Selling 3d Printed Items.

Ready to turn your 3D printer from a hobby into a hustle? Let’s break down the key steps to monetizing your skills and turning your creativity into cash!

1. Choose Your Niche: Where’s Your Passion?

  • Find Your Sweet Spot: The most profitable 3D printing endeavors stem from your passion and expertise. What are you good at? What are you excited to make?
  • Research: Once you have a few ideas, research the market to see what’s in demand, what competitors are doing, and what pricing strategies are prevalent. 🔍
  • Focus and Experiment: Start small. Focus on one or two niches, see what works, and then expand as you gain experience.
  • **** For example: If you love making intricate jewelry, focus on crafting personalized rings, earrings, and necklaces. If you’re a whiz with toys and gadgets, create custom action figures, miniatures, or educational toys.

2. Design Your Products: Be a Creative Force

  • Learn 3D Design Software: You’ll need to learn software like Tinkercad, Fusion 360, or Blender to design your 3D models. These tools allow you to create stunning and functional products. Check out our recommendations for 3D Design Software here!
  • Find Inspiration: Look for design ideas online, in magazines, or by simply observing the world around you.
  • Experiment and Iterate: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different designs and iterate until you find something you’re happy with.
  • **** For example: You might start by creating a simple keychain, then experiment with different shapes, colors, and textures until you find a design that truly stands out.

3. Master Your 3D Printer: A Printing Pro

  • Understand Your Printer’s Capabilities: Know your 3D printer’s strengths and limitations. What materials does it work with? What resolution and detail can it achieve?
  • Practice Makes Perfect: The more you practice, the better you’ll become at printing high-quality products.
  • Tune Your Settings: Experiment with different print settings for each material and design to achieve the best results.
  • **** For example: If you’re printing a delicate piece of jewelry, you’ll want to use finer settings to minimize layer lines and achieve a smooth finish. If you’re printing a sturdy action figure, you might use thicker layers to save time and material.

4. Source Your Materials: The Building Blocks

  • PLA & ABS Plastics: These are commonly used plastics for 3D printing. Choose them based on the strength, flexibility, texture, and color you need.
  • Other Options: Explore resin, wood, metal, and even food-grade materials for more elaborate products.
  • Quality Matters: Use high-quality materials that are compatible with your 3D printer. This will ensure the best results and enhance the durability of your products.
  • **** For example: If you’re making jewelry, you might consider using sterling silver or resin for a more luxurious finish. For durable toys, you can use ABS plastic which is stronger than PLA.

5. Set Up Your E-Commerce Store: Sell, Sell, Sell!

  • Etsy, Shopify, and Beyond: Choose a platform that fits your business needs. These platforms allow you to easily list and sell your 3D printed products. We’ll talk more about these platforms later!
  • Eye-Catching Product Photos: Take high-quality product photos that showcase your 3D prints in their best light. Use good lighting, backgrounds, and props.
  • Compelling Product Descriptions: Write engaging descriptions that highlight the features, benefits, and uniqueness of your products.
  • Pricing Strategies: Research competitor pricing and determine a fair price that reflects the value of your products and your production costs. Want to know more about the true cost of 3D printing? We’ve got you covered! 💸

6. Market Your Products: Get the Word Out

  • Online Marketplaces: List your products on Etsy, Shopify, or other online platforms to reach a wider audience.
  • Social Media Marketing: Use Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or Pinterest to showcase your 3D printed creations.
  • Local Events & Markets: Participate in craft fairs, maker events, or local markets to connect with potential customers in person.
  • Content Marketing: Create informative blogs, tutorials, or videos about 3D printing to attract an audience and establish yourself as an expert. Check out our blog on 3D Printing Techniques for some inspiration! 💡

7. Provide Excellent Customer Service: Build Lasting Relationships

  • Prompt Communication: Respond quickly and courteously to customer inquiries, messages, and feedback.
  • Clear Policies: Set clear shipping, return, and refund policies to manage expectations.
  • Go the Extra Mile: Offer gift wrapping, personalized notes, or special promotions to create a positive customer experience. 😊

Selling 3D Printed Products: A Step-by-Step Guide

Video: How To Make Money Selling 3d Printed Items In 2024 (3d Printing Business).

Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Want to sell your 3D printed creations? This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process.

1. Find Your Niche: Make It Personal!

  • Unique Products: Don’t try to compete with mass-produced items. Find a niche where you can offer personalized, custom, or unique creations.
  • Target Market: Who are you selling to? Knowing your target audience will help you tailor your products and marketing strategies.
  • **** For example: If you love steampunk gadgets, design intricate gears, clockwork figures, and personalized accessories. If you’re drawn to quirky home décor, create custom planters, lampshades, or decorative accents.

2. Design and Print: Unleash Your Creativity

  • Software Skills: Learn to use 3D design software like Tinkercad or Fusion 360. It’s the foundation of your 3D printing business. Check out our 3D Design Software guide for more details!
  • Prototyping Power: Create prototypes to refine your designs, test different materials, and ensure everything fits together.
  • Quality Control: Print test prints to ensure your products are sturdy, detailed, and free from defects.
  • **** For example: Before you sell custom jewelry, print prototypes to make sure they’re comfortable to wear and capture the details in your design. Test your home décor with various printing settings to find the perfect finish.

3. Choose a Platform: Pick Your Marketplace

  • Etsy: Etsy is a popular platform for selling handmade and creative items, including 3D prints. You can reach a large audience of potential buyers there. Check out Etsy for 3D printed products!
  • Shopify: Shopify lets you create your own online store to sell your products. It’s more customizable and allows you to control your branding. Start selling on Shopify!
  • Amazon Handmade: Amazon Handmade is a marketplace for handcrafted items, including 3D prints. It has a huge customer base, but the competition can be fierce. Browse Amazon Handmade for 3D prints!
  • Other Marketplaces: Consider using platforms like Shapeways, Cults3D, or MyMiniFactory. These platforms specialize in selling 3D printed products.
  • **** For example: If you’re just starting out, Etsy might be a good choice to reach a large audience quickly. If you’re looking for more control over your branding and customer experience, Shopify could be a better fit.

4. Photography & Descriptions: Present Your Work

  • Professional Photography : Your 3D prints deserve amazing photos! Invest in good lighting, a plain background, and props that highlight their details.
  • Showcase Details: Show off the product’s texture, shape, and any intricate details. Take pictures at different angles.
  • Engaging Descriptions: Write compelling product descriptions that captivate potential buyers. Highlight the features, benefits, design process, and personality of your 3D prints.
  • **** For example: When you’re selling a custom phone case, use pictures that showcase the intricate design, the smooth finish, and any unique details you’ve incorporated. Your description should also highlight the case’s protection, grip, and its unique personality.

5. Pricing & Profit: Find the Right Balance

  • Production Costs: Calculate your cost per print, including materials, energy, and time.
  • Competitor Research: See what others are charging for similar products.
  • Value Pricing: Consider the value you’re offering, including the uniqueness of the design, the quality of your work, and the customer experience.
  • **** For example: You might charge a premium price for custom-designed jewelry or one-of-a-kind home décor because of the time and skill involved in creating them.

6. Marketing & Promotion: Get the Word Out!

  • Online Marketing: Use social media (Instagram, Facebook, etc.), paid advertising, or online blog posts to promote your 3D printed creations.
  • Local Events & Markets: Participate in craft fairs, maker events, and local markets to connect with potential buyers in person.
  • Word-of-Mouth: Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and share their experiences with your 3D prints.
  • **** For example: If you’re selling custom jewelry, you might use Instagram to post pictures of your creations and run targeted ads to reach individuals interested in personalized accessories.

Etsy, Shopify, and Beyond: The Best Platforms for Selling 3D Prints

Video: The BEST 3D Printed Products to SELL On ETSY! (With Proof).

Choosing the right platform for your 3D printed products is crucial. But with so many options out there, how do you decide? Let’s break down three of the most popular platforms and their key features to help you pick the one that’s perfect for your business.

1. Etsy: The Handmade Haven

  • Pros:
    • Large Audience: Etsy boasts a thriving community of crafters, makers, and art lovers, providing a ready-made audience for handmade and unique products.
    • Focus on Handmade: Etsy emphasizes handcrafted items, giving your 3D prints a distinct advantage over mass-produced goods. This creates a more unique shopping experience for customers.
    • Easy-to-Use Interface: Etsy’s intuitive platform makes it simple to list your products, manage inventory, and promote your shop.
  • Cons:
    • Competition: Etsy is home to countless creative sellers, so you’ll need to stand out with high-quality photography, compelling descriptions, and a unique niche.
    • Transaction Fees: Etsy charges a per-item listing fee and a commission on each sale, which can impact your profit margins.
  • Ideal For: Beginner 3D printing entrepreneurs looking to reach a large, niche-specific audience.

2. Shopify: The Ecommerce Powerhouse

  • Pros:
    • Customization: Shopify offers a high level of control over the design and branding of your online store, allowing you to create a unique and personalized shopping experience.
    • Advanced Features: Shopify provides powerful features for managing inventory, processing orders, handling payments, and analyzing your sales data.
    • Scalability: As your business grows, Shopify can scale easily to meet your increasing demands.
  • Cons:
    • Cost: Shopify involves monthly subscription fees, which can be a barrier to entry for budget-conscious businesses.
    • Website Design: While Shopify makes it easy to create an online store, designing a professional and engaging website requires some effort.
  • Ideal For: More established 3D printing entrepreneurs looking for full control over their online presence and scalability.

3. Amazon Handmade: The Ecommerce Giant

  • Pros:
    • Massive Audience: Amazon has a vast customer base, providing you with access to a huge potential market.
    • Customer Trust: Amazon’s reputation for reliability and security builds trust with buyers.
    • Built-in Fulfillment: Amazon offers fulfillment options, allowing you to ship orders from their warehouses for added convenience.
  • Cons:
    • Competition: Amazon Handmade has a competitive landscape, as many other handmade products are available for sale.
    • Fees: Amazon charges a commission on each sale, and there are additional fees for fulfillment services.
    • Strict Policies: Amazon has strict policies and guidelines that you must adhere to.
  • Ideal For: Experienced 3D printing entrepreneurs looking to tap into a large audience and potentially leverage Amazon’s fulfillment services.

Marketing Your 3D Printed Products: Strategies for Success

Video: Why My 3D Printing Business Failed, and How to Prevent it for Yours #3dprinting.

Got a killer 3D printed product? Now it’s time to get the word out there and attract customers! Here’s a breakdown of effective marketing strategies.

1. Social Media Powerhouse:

  • Visual Storytelling: Instagram is perfect for showcasing your 3D prints. Use high-quality photos and short, engaging videos to capture attention.
  • Engaging Content: Showcase the creative process, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and customer testimonials.
  • Hashtags for Discovery: Use relevant hashtags to increase your visibility and reach the right audience. #3DPrinting #3DPrint #3DDesign
  • Collaborations and Giveaways: Partner with other makers, artists, or influencers to expand your reach and engage your audience.
  • **** For example: Create a video demonstrating the process of designing and printing a custom phone case, then share it on Instagram with relevant hashtags and a catchy caption.

2. Etsy’s Search Engine:

  • SEO Magic: Optimize your product listings on Etsy for search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Targeted Keywords: Research popular search terms related to your niche and incorporate them into your product titles, descriptions, and tags.
  • 👉 Shop Title & Description: Create a concise and clear shop title and description that accurately reflects the products you sell.
  • High-Quality Images: Use high-resolution photos and a consistent style throughout your shop.
  • Competitive Pricing: Price your products competitively to attract customers.

3. Content is King:

  • Step-by-Step Tutorials: Create tutorials or videos showing how to use your 3D printed products or guides on how to design and print them. Check out our 3D Printing Techniques archive!
  • Blogs and Articles: Write about your creative process, highlight your inspirations, or share tips and tricks for 3D printing. Our 3D Printable Objects blog may spark some ideas!
  • Product Reviews: Encourage customers to leave product reviews on your Etsy shop or online store. Positive reviews build credibility and trust.
  • **** For example: If you design custom home décor, you could create a blog post on “5 Creative Ways to Use 3D Printed Wall Art to Enhance Your Home.”

4. Local Events & Markets:

  • Connect Face-to-Face: Participate in craft fairs, maker events, and local markets to showcase your products and connect with potential buyers.
  • Engage with Customers: Be approachable, answer questions, and provide personalized recommendations.
  • Promote Online Presence: Share your online store details and social media handles.
  • **** For example: If you create custom jewelry, you could participate in a local craft fair and offer on-site design consultations or gift wrapping services.

3D Printing Business Models: From Etsy Shops to Custom Orders

Video: How I Sell on Etsy | 3d Printing Business Tips.

The world of 3D printing offers a wide range of business models, so how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Let’s explore some popular approaches to help you build a profitable and sustainable business.

1. Etsy Shop: Selling Ready-to-Go Products

  • Model: Design and print a range of 3D printed products and sell them through your Etsy shop.
  • Pros:
    • Easy Start: Etsy offers a straightforward platform for listing and selling your products.
    • Built-in Audience: You can tap into Etsy’s large community of potential buyers, including those interested in handmade and unique items.
    • Low Overhead: Setting up an Etsy shop is typically less expensive than creating your own online store.
  • Cons:
    • Competition: You’ll face competition from other 3D printing sellers, so uniqueness and marketing are crucial.
    • Fees: Etsy charges per-listing fees and a commission on each sale.
  • Example: You create custom-designed jewelry, figurines, or home décor and sell them through your Etsy shop, handling production, marketing, and customer service yourself.

2. Shopify Store: Ecommerce Powerhouse

  • Model: Develop your own online store (using Shopify) to sell your 3D printed products.
  • Pros:
    • Customization: Shopify allows for full control over your store’s design and branding, creating a unique shopping experience.
    • Scalability: As your business grows, Shopify can easily scale to accommodate increased sales and inventory.
    • Advanced Features: Shopify offers powerful features for managing orders, payments, marketing, and analytics.
  • Cons:
    • Higher Investment: Shopify involves monthly fees and potentially additional costs for themes, plugins, or marketing.
    • Marketing Effort: You’ll need to invest time and effort in marketing your Shopify store to attract customers.
  • Example: You create a compelling Shopify store and sell your 3D printed toys, games, or personalized home décor items, handling production, fulfillment, and customer support.

3. Print-on-Demand: Scalability and Convenience

  • Model: Partner with a 3D printing service like Shapeways or 3D Hubs to manufacture and ship your products on demand.
  • Pros:
    • Low Overhead: Print-on-demand services handle production, fulfillment, and customer service, reducing your overhead costs.
    • Scalability: You can easily scale your business as demand grows without needing to invest in additional equipment or staff.
    • Global Reach: Print-on-demand services can ship products worldwide, expanding your reach.
  • Cons:
    • Limited Customization: You may have restrictions on the materials and designs you can offer.
    • Profit Margins: Print-on-demand services take a percentage of your sales, which can impact your profit margins.
  • Example: You design a range of unique phone cases or personalized jewelry and list them on Etsy or Shopify, using Shapeways to manufacture and ship each order upon purchase.

4. Custom Orders: Personalization and Niche Expertise

  • Model: Focus on taking custom orders from customers, creating unique 3D prints tailored to their specific requirements.
  • Pros:
    • Higher Profit Margins: Custom orders often have higher profit margins than selling mass-produced products.
    • Unique Value Proposition: Creating personalized items provides a distinct advantage over competitors offering standardized products.
    • Direct Customer Engagement: Custom orders foster direct relationships with customers, allowing you to understand their needs better.
  • Cons:
    • Time Commitment: Handling custom orders can be time-consuming, from design consultations to complex print setups.
    • Production Complexity: Creating unique prints often requires more time and effort, potentially slowing down production.
  • Example: You offer custom art and sculpture printing, working directly with clients to design and print unique creations, such as personalized figurines, statues, or decorative pieces.

5. White Label 3D Printing: Partnering for Success

  • Model: Produce 3D printed products under another company’s brand, allowing them to sell them through their online store or retail outlets.
  • Pros:
    • Reduced Marketing Costs: You can leverage the brand recognition and marketing reach of the partner company.
    • Scalability: White label agreements can help you scale your production and reach a broader market.
    • Streamlined Operations: Partnering with a company can streamline your operations and allow you to focus on production.
  • Cons:
    • Profit Sharing: You’ll need to share profits with the partner company and possibly agree to specific pricing structures.
    • Brand Control: You’ll have less control over branding and marketing your products.
  • Example: You create a line of 3D printed toys or gadgets and enter into a white label agreement with a toy retailer to sell the products under their brand name.

3D Printing for Businesses: How to Offer Your Services

Video: 3D Printing Start Up Cost 2024.

The world of business and 3D printing is a perfect marriage. You can offer a wide range of 3D printing services to businesses of all sizes, helping them create customized parts, prototypes, and even final products!

1. Identify Your Niche: Where Do Your Skills Shine?

  • Prototyping Power: Specialize in creating functional prototypes for businesses developing new products.
  • Custom Parts & Tooling: Offer 3D printed solutions for replacing or customizing existing parts or creating specialized tools.
  • Production Runs: Scale up to produce small batches of 3D printed parts for businesses that need specific components in limited quantities.
  • **** For example: You could specialize in creating 3D printed prototypes for medical devices, designing custom jigs and fixtures for manufacturing processes, or producing small batches of replacement parts for industrial equipment.

2. Craft Your Service Offering: Tailor Your Approach

  • Clear Value Proposition: What specific benefits do your 3D printing services offer? Highlight how your services can save businesses time, money, or resources.
  • Targeted Marketing: Focus on industries where your skills and equipment are particularly valuable.
  • Pricing Strategies: Establish transparent pricing structures based on project complexity, materials, and time commitment.
  • **** For example:

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