Author Topic: Side gig 3D design and printing  (Read 1317 times)

dreampreneur

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Side gig 3D design and printing
« on: November 13, 2023, 10:23:28 AM »
I saw a couple of posts here (mmm forum) from ppl doing 3D printing as a side gig. Would anyone be willing to share more details how to earn the proverbial first hundred bucks with 3D printing? I see a lot of information online but I'm sure 90% is AI generated crap.

CatamaranSailor

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Re: Side gig 3D design and printing
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2023, 02:20:10 PM »
So...DISCLAIMER...I'm NOT making a living from 3D printing. I work at a company that does a ton of 3D printing.

My company does a lot of rapid prototyping of parts. And engineer gets and idea for a different design, they'll draw it and 3d print it to test.

Suggestion: Find a small manufacturing company in you area that does not have 3d printers and offer to be their go-to. All they would need to do is send you the print file and let you know what type of material. Charge a retainer and by the piece and offer quick turn around.

I will say, good 3d printers are pricey. We have 3 that ranged from 1k to 5k and our most widely used one (which uses dry powder and a laser) was 40k.

Second Suggestion: Find a niche and print on demand from an Etsy store. For example....there are stores that will print you a model of the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek. I've seen stores that specialize in cosplay stuff...Bobba Fett's helmet, armor...stuff like that. The good thing about that is you don't incur the expense until after the customer has paid.

This is probably the quickest way to set up shop and start making money.

Regardless, you'll need to really learn the in's and out's. There are some really impressive printers out there but each has a decent learning curve.

Good luck!

WayDownSouth

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Re: Side gig 3D design and printing
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2024, 08:19:27 PM »
So...DISCLAIMER...I'm NOT making a living from 3D printing. I work at a company that does a ton of 3D printing.

My company does a lot of rapid prototyping of parts. And engineer gets and idea for a different design, they'll draw it and 3d print it to test.

Suggestion: Find a small manufacturing company in you area that does not have 3d printers and offer to be their go-to. All they would need to do is send you the print file and let you know what type of material. Charge a retainer and by the piece and offer quick turn around.

I will say, good 3d printers are pricey. We have 3 that ranged from 1k to 5k and our most widely used one (which uses dry powder and a laser) was 40k.

Second Suggestion: Find a niche and print on demand from an Etsy store. For example....there are stores that will print you a model of the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek. I've seen stores that specialize in cosplay stuff...Bobba Fett's helmet, armor...stuff like that. The good thing about that is you don't incur the expense until after the customer has paid.

This is probably the quickest way to set up shop and start making money.

Regardless, you'll need to really learn the in's and out's. There are some really impressive printers out there but each has a decent learning curve.

Good luck!

I have a lot of print & design experience, and while I've never played with 3D printing I can tell you for a fact, rapid prototyping is a great niche to get into if you know how to reach that market. It can be very lucrative if you get in with the right industry.

Archipelago

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Re: Side gig 3D design and printing
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2024, 07:46:36 PM »
I know the topic is old, but I figured heck, why not weigh in. I do not have any direct experience with 3D printing, but I know of a few niche case uses in which 3D printing can be very lucrative.

1. Diffusers for camera flashes. They hook onto a camera lens or flash and diffuse light from the flash. They're printed in regular white and work very well. They are custom made to fit various camera models and extremely profitable.

https://macroscopicsolutions.com/product/turtledove-diffusers-mt-26ex-rt-twin-lite-flash/

2. Replacement parts for video game controllers. These are made to replace worn out controller joysticks. OEM joysticks are no longer produced, and people prefer to replace parts on older controllers rather than buy new controllers. I have personally purchased these and can attest to how useful they are.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1151119069/white-spicy-sticks?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=spicy+sticks&ref=sr_gallery-1-2&sts=1&organic_search_click=1&variation0=2388760454

In either case of these 3D printed products, they are designed well and once the right design is established, can be printed and repeatedly at very high margins. Both are examples of starting in niche markets and appeal to hobbyists who are willing to pay a fair bit of money. If I had knowledge about 3D printing and were looking to develop profitable products, I'd start to identify niche case uses and build product lines out from there.

WayDownSouth

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Re: Side gig 3D design and printing
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2024, 11:00:56 PM »
I know the topic is old, but I figured heck, why not weigh in. I do not have any direct experience with 3D printing, but I know of a few niche case uses in which 3D printing can be very lucrative.

1. Diffusers for camera flashes. They hook onto a camera lens or flash and diffuse light from the flash. They're printed in regular white and work very well. They are custom made to fit various camera models and extremely profitable.

https://macroscopicsolutions.com/product/turtledove-diffusers-mt-26ex-rt-twin-lite-flash/

2. Replacement parts for video game controllers. These are made to replace worn out controller joysticks. OEM joysticks are no longer produced, and people prefer to replace parts on older controllers rather than buy new controllers. I have personally purchased these and can attest to how useful they are.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1151119069/white-spicy-sticks?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=spicy+sticks&ref=sr_gallery-1-2&sts=1&organic_search_click=1&variation0=2388760454

In either case of these 3D printed products, they are designed well and once the right design is established, can be printed and repeatedly at very high margins. Both are examples of starting in niche markets and appeal to hobbyists who are willing to pay a fair bit of money. If I had knowledge about 3D printing and were looking to develop profitable products, I'd start to identify niche case uses and build product lines out from there.

Good stuff, the video game controllers is a good point. Almost anything older/original that breaks and can be easily disassembled and repaired instead of buying a new one (which also may be lower quality and definitely more expensive) is a valid area for 3D printing. It makes me realize that there's an insanely untapped market of things that can be 3D printed and sold which are not available anywhere else. Game console companies don't sell replacement parts for controllers. Huge market.

Start talking about laptop parts, battery covers for any type of controller or popular battery powered devices, literally anything that's plastic that can be printed and isn't already on the market because manufacturers prefer you buy a new product entirely. If you can print guns and they hold up reasonably well, you sure as hell can find a lot of other useful things to print and capitalize on.

Small interior car parts come to mind, especially for older or semi-old vehicles where the pieces are expensive and only available from a dealership. Knobs, switches, etc... Unlimited potential.


 

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