Technology has developed so much through the centuries. Things considered science fiction in the past can now be made a reality.
Besides the genius minds behind these innovations, one other thing that helped give birth to this new era is 3D printing.
Born from innovations of the ink-and-paper printing sector, three-dimensional printing – also called “additive manufacturing” — has now become a widely used method of producing actual objects based on new ideas. In fact, it is one of the few technologies that can be applied to most sectors today.
Want to make money with 3D printing technology? Below is an overview of how the innovation works and a list of high-potential business ideas you can try with its help.
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What Is 3D Printing and How Does It Work?
Many artists strive to bring the most abstract concepts to life through their work. But even the best of them cannot produce something in all its three-dimensional glory.
This is where 3D printing can help.
Aiming to bridge the gap between an innovative idea and real life, three-dimensional printing uses computer-aided design (CAD) to produce three-dimensional objects that people can engage with.
Using a layering method, the technology can create almost anything. It has a wide range of scope and is capable of using composites, plastics, and even biomaterials to build things with varying colors, shapes, sizes, and rigidity.
In other words, it can “print” anything three-dimensional, even those that don’t have a “mold” yet.
After the design is input into the software, it undergoes modeling and slicing. Once it is finalized, the 3D printer builds it up layer per layer using the chosen material and appropriate technique, depending on the project’s size, scope, and details.
If you’re still unfamiliar with the technology, it is best to seek design consultation for your 3D printing projects. This is to ensure that it can pass the following 3D design considerations:
- Base strength
- Grain direction
- Holes and overhangs
- Wall thickness
- Rounded corners
- Unique properties
It will be integrated as follows: on demand manufacturing
6 3D Printing Business Ideas to Try
Want to know what you can do with 3D printing? Here are six ideas with high potential for profit and growth you can look into:
1. Toys and Character Collectibles
Probably one of the 3D printing business ideas with the highest potential is producing children’s toys and character collectibles.
Parents appreciate help in raising their children, and toys definitely provide valuable assistance. Besides serving as entertainment, some of these items also offer educational value to youngsters, especially those in their formative years.
Plus, research shows that the market demand for toys increases annually, not to mention they are considered the most popular item in the 3D printing market. This means you won’t have a hard time promoting your dolls, action figures, toy vehicles, and so much more.
On top of that, toys based on famous characters shown in movies and television shows also appeal to many adult fans. Just remember that many of these have intellectual property protection when you decide which models to print.
2. Made-to-Measure Eyeglass Frames
Eyeglasses, particularly prescription, are often made specifically for the wearer. However, most optical shops personalize the lenses only, and not the frames.
With 3D printing, this has changed immensely. Eyeglass frames no longer need to be a one-size-fits-all but a made-just-for-you kind of product.
In fact, some eyewear companies today made it their unique selling proposition (USP) to deliver made-to-measure products.
Using 3D printers, you can do the same and create one-of-a-kind eyeglass frames for each of your customers. You can even complement the technology with masterful craftsmanship and clever packaging to boot.
3. Customized Earbuds
One of the major advantages 3D printing offers is its capacity to mass-produce customized products. Besides eyeglasses, this perk can be used for something else people like to wear: earbuds.
Just imagine offering customers that perfect pair of earbuds that doesn’t hurt their ears and fits their style at the same time. They won’t need to compromise comfort, practicality, and style, and you would gain their patronage instantly.
Although this isn’t exactly a new idea with hearing aids already being 3D printed, there’s still so much room for you and your business to grow. You just need to put your foot in the door and take the step forward.
4. Houseware and Home Décor
Have unique ideas for decorative home décor pieces you want to sell? 3D printing can make your concept a reality faster than any other method out there.
Houseware like vases, lampshades, picture frames, drinkware, and dishes can be made in a variety of ways. Resin and clay molding are popular options. However, they take time and effort to make – probably more than you can spare.
With 3D printing, you just need to input the design and wait for the machine to conjure a tangible item based on your idea.
Because houseware typically pertains to small items, you don’t need to wait days to complete your very own home décor collection. (This may still vary depending on the complexity of the design and the number of objects to be produced.)
5. Tools and Spare Parts
Although less glamorous than the previous items on this list, selling 3D printed tools and spare parts is also profitable. This is especially true for expensive, obsolete, or phased-out products.
For this type of business, you can target toy collectors, antique enthusiasts, and other companies into restoration or refurbishment.
Just remember that you may need to do a bit more research for the designs you’ll use to make sure the parts you manufacture have the right specifications and the tools are durable and reusable.
6. Marketing Materials
Making money in 3D printing isn’t just about creating products and selling them. It can also be about producing your own marketing materials to help boost your business revenue, regardless of the industry you belong to.
Besides large format printing and online marketing, you can engage with your target market using 3D printed promotional materials such as product models and collectibles.
It is also a cost-effective alternative to outsourcing specialized custom items. Compared to most factories, 3D printers don’t demand a high minimum quantity for producing customized items. This makes it very practical for limited edition marketing tools, too.
Simply follow your brand imagery guidelines, consult an expert on your design, and seek a reliable 3D printing service provider.
Reach Your Potential with 3D Printing
Among the innovations people use today, 3D printing is one of the most helpful tools that assist individuals and businesses in reaching their full potential. Use this article as a guide when tapping into the technology and consider the ideas listed here when starting your own business.
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