1. Create and sell designs and print items
There is a wide selection of free 3D modeling software that you can use to create your 3D models. Sketchup, 3DSlash, 123D Design, TinkerCAD, Sculptris, Meshmixer, and Blender are some of the most popular.
Beginners can easily find online courses, tutorials, and YouTube videos to gain skills in using the modeling software, as well as get guidance and support from the large online community.
There are many marketplaces for you to print or sell your designs and prints:
> 3DExport – a marketplace to sell your designs
> 3Docean – – a repository of 3D models
> Azavy – upload your design files here and get paid when someone prints your file
> CGTrader: one of the largest 3D design repositories
> Daz 3D – a repository of 3D models
> iMaterialize – You can set up your store on this website to sell your designs
> Shapeways – Set up your shop here to sell your prints to be printed at Shapeways
> Sculpteo – you can set up your shop here to sell your 3D prints
> Turbosquid – a repository of 3D models
If you have access to 3D printers, you can sell 3D printed items on Etsy, which is a great place to sell 3D printed crafts. You can also sell 3D printed items on Amazon and eBay. Unique 3D printed items could probably sell better on eBay.
2. Buy a 3D printer and offer a 3D printing service
This option requires an investment of hundreds or even thousands of dollars to purchase a 3D printer, as well as some time to learn and gain experience to achieve professional-quality prints.
You can then offer your services through a 3D printing network like 3D Hubs and Shapeways Global Partner Network. Add your printer to your network and potential customers in your local area can find you and sign up for your 3D printing service.
3. Set up a 3D printed food cafe or candy shop
Food Ink leads the pack by establishing the world’s first 3D printing pop-up restaurant in the Netherlands. The restaurant uses a fleet of 3D printers to create culinary dishes and desserts.
4. Create new 3D printed products or services
Polychemy specializes in 3D printed jewelry and allows customers to customize their jewelry pieces online. Protoseyewear features 3D printed glasses to fit you. Danit Peleg specializes in 3D printed fashion. Feetz produces custom 3D printed shoes. As technology develops, there are more and more creative entrepreneurs who will start using 3D printing to produce personalized products.
You can also open a 3D selfie studio where you scan your customers and print their figurines. Sculptraits Studio, Cokreeate and iOYS are some examples.
5. Take 3D modeling and 3D printing courses
Share your experience by taking courses and training in 3D printing. You can also create online courses on 3D printing. This can give you passive income for some time.
6. Create a blog and monetize your website
Write a blog about a 3D printing niche and monetize your website. Get involved in affiliate marketing of 3D printing products.
7. Create YouTube videos
You can create YouTube videos related to 3D printing and monetize your videos.
8. Sell 3D printers
It sells 3D printers, scanners, consumables and software. You can also consider renting 3D printers and scanners if there is demand in your community.
9. Repair of 3D printers
If you’re technically inclined and like to tinker with machines, you can offer a service to help people repair or upgrade their 3D printers.
10. Invest in 3D printing companies or startups
Publicly traded shares of 3D printing companies Stratasys, Organovo and 3D Systems. With enough financial resources and the right network, you could also find opportunities to invest in startups that make better 3D printers and 3D printing-related applications.