How To Make Money With A 3D Printer in 2024: 25 Profitable Ways

Reading Time: 15 minutes

If you’ve ever wondered how to make money with a 3D printer, you’re not alone. With the rising demand for 3D-printed goods, now is the perfect time to turn your printing prowess into a profitable business.

Even with low profit margins in some sectors, owning a 3D printing business can offer you a chance to sell prints to a variety of clients.

From creating molds for customized products to establishing an online presence on several websites, there’s a world of opportunity waiting for you. And here’s a great tip to kick things off: don’t underestimate the power of networking.

A few potential clients can provide you with enough contracting work to jump-start your journey in making money with 3D printing.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Custom Merchandise: Capitalize on the high demand for personalized items by creating and selling unique 3D printed items like name keychains, pet tags, or company logos.
  • Online Courses: Share your expertise in 3D printing and CAD software by creating and selling online courses, offering lessons on various aspects of 3D printing.
  • Contracting Work: Offer rapid prototyping services to companies, a high-demand area, providing consistent project flow and income.
  • Niche Market Products: Focus on specific markets like jewelry or pet products, where fewer competitors can lead to higher profit margins.
  • Local Business Partnerships: Collaborate with local businesses to create custom products like coasters or real estate models, fostering community ties and steady work.
  • Replacement Parts: Produce and sell 3D printed replacement parts for a range of items, from kitchen appliances to automotive components, tapping into a diverse and needy market.
  • Design Services: Offer your CAD skills to create custom designs for clients, selling digital files for a variety of applications without the need for physical manufacturing.

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing is a revolutionary technology that allows you to create physical objects from digital designs.

Using computer-aided design (CAD) software, you can design almost anything you can imagine and bring it to life layer by layer with a 3D printer. This innovative process has opened up numerous opportunities to make money with 3D printing, from creating custom items to offering rapid prototyping services.

If you’re interested in how to turn this technology into a revenue stream, the options are virtually limitless.

You can sell your own designs, create customized products for clients, or even offer specialized printing services.

23 Ways to Make Money With a 3D Printer

With the ability to create intricate models, prototypes, or crafts, 3D printing can be a lucrative venture for anyone looking to sell unique and customized items.

1. Custom Merchandise

One of the most straightforward ways to generate income with your 3D printer is through custom merchandise. You can create personalized crafts, custom items like keychains, or even logos for small businesses.

Given that customers always appreciate personalized items, the demand is usually high. Utilize online platforms such as Etsy or your own website to reach many customers.

The business model here is simple but effective: Use your design skills to create digital files, then turn those files into physical objects via 3D printing.

Strategies for Custom Merchandise:

  • Offer bundle discounts to incentivize higher purchases.
  • Use social media advertising to target your audience specifically.
  • Include a feature on your website for real-time customizations, so the end customer feels involved in the process.

What we recommend:

  • Personalized Name Keychains
  • Customized Pet Tags
  • 3D Printed Company Logos
screenshot of printing dave selling custom 3D shirts - how to make money with a 3d printer

2. Create an Online Course

If you have substantial experience in 3D printing and CAD software, creating an online course is an excellent way to share that expertise while earning passive income.

You can teach several available jobs within the 3D printing industry, from creating digital files to post-processing.

Because the information is packaged in an online course, you can sell it on multiple platforms, allowing for a broader reach of potential customers.

The more skilled you are, the more money you stand to make with this business model.

Strategies for Creating Online Courses:

  • Offer the first lesson free to attract potential clients.
  • Use SEO-optimized content around the course to drive more traffic.
  • Offer a certificate of completion as an added value to your course.

What we recommend:

  • A Beginner’s Guide to 3D Printing
  • CAD Software Essentials
  • Mastering Post-Processing Techniques

3. Contracting Work

Offer contracting work to companies that require rapid prototyping services. In many industries, there’s a high demand for rapid prototyping to create product prototypes quickly.

By offering your 3D printing services, you establish a business that caters to these needs. This model often involves networking with businesses, using your 3D printer to create the prototypes, and delivering the finished product.

It’s a fantastic avenue to earn money if you’re looking for a consistent stream of projects.

Strategies for Contracting Work:

  • Attend industry trade shows to connect with potential clients.
  • Offer a quick turnaround time as a unique selling proposition.
  • Implement a tiered pricing strategy based on the complexity of the project.

What we recommend:

  • Basic Prototyping Package
  • Advanced Prototyping with Post Processing
  • Industrial Level Prototyping

4. Niche Market Products

Focusing on a niche market, like jewelry making or customized pet products, can be very lucrative.

Given that niche markets often have fewer competitors, you’ll likely enjoy higher profit margins. Here you’re not just selling products but offering customized solutions that are tailored to a very specific target audience.

By mastering a niche, you can build a strong foundation for your business, setting it up for long-term success.


  • Utilize niche-specific online forums and social media groups for marketing.
  • Partner with influencers within that niche to showcase your products.
  • Offer limited-time promotions to entice new customers to try your products.

What we recommend:

  • Customized Pet Bowls
  • 3D Printed Niche-specific Jewelry
  • Personalized Gaming Accessories

5. Local Business Partnerships

Forge partnerships with local businesses to offer your 3D printing services. This can help you establish a strong foundation within a local community.

You might help a local cafe create custom coasters or offer a real estate agency scaled models of homes.

These collaborations not only provide immediate income but also open the doors for future contracting work, making it a sustainable business model.

Strategies for Local Business Partnerships:

  • Offer a ‘first project discount’ to new business partners.
  • Use local SEO strategies to appear in searches for 3D printing services in your area.
  • Establish a referral program for businesses to refer you to other potential clients.

What we recommend:

  • Business Logo Coasters
  • Real Estate Scaled Models
  • Custom Business Signs
screenshot of sample service office for 3D Logo

6. Replacement Parts

One fantastic way to make money with a 3D printer is by producing replacement parts. Whether it’s for home appliances, automotive components, or tech gadgets, there’s a high demand for this kind of service.

This business model involves using CAD software to create designs for the parts, 3D printing them, and then selling them online.

Given that many industries require such parts, this venture can attract many customers and generate significant income. All you need is a reliable 3D printer and the skills to create accurate digital files.

Strategies for Replacement Parts:

  • Offer volume discounts to attract larger orders.
  • Promote your services on online forums and DIY websites where people often look for replacement parts.
  • Use SEO techniques to make your online store more discoverable.

What we recommend:

  • Replacement Knobs for Kitchen Appliances
  • Custom Car Parts
  • 3D Printed Drone Components

7. Create Designs for Others

If you’re skilled in computer-aided design (CAD), another lucrative opportunity is to create designs for clients.

You don’t even have to print the items yourself; you can sell the digital files on platforms like Shapeways or your own online store.

This business model allows you to leverage your design skills and work with clients in various industries, from jewelry making to product prototypes.

You’re essentially providing a critical service without the overhead of manufacturing.

Strategies for Creating Designs:

  • Use social proof: showcase testimonials from satisfied clients on your website.
  • Offer different tiers of services, from basic designs to more intricate projects.
  • Give free sample designs to attract potential customers.

What we recommend:

  • Custom Jewelry Designs
  • Architectural Model Files
  • Personalized Smartphone Case Designs

8. Offer Post-Processing Services

Post-processing is an essential step in the 3D printing process that many people prefer not to do themselves.

Offering services like sanding, metal plating, or painting can add another revenue stream to your business. You don’t necessarily need to do the initial 3D printing; some businesses focus entirely on post-processing.

This model allows you to work with a variety of industries and many potential clients, boosting your income in the process.

Strategies for Offering Post-Processing Services:

  • Bundle post-processing services with other offers to increase average order value.
  • Document the before-and-after results to showcase the quality of your work.
  • Develop a clear pricing strategy based on the complexity and time needed for each post-processing job.

What we recommend:

  • Sanding and Painting Combo
  • Metal Plating Service
  • Detailing and Finishing Package

9. Prototyping for Inventors

One interesting niche within the 3D printing business is working with inventors who need product prototypes.

This work can usually be done remotely, which is great for digital nomads. Use your 3D printer to bring their ideas to life, then refine them through a series of iterations.

Given the intricate nature of this job, you can charge premium rates, contributing significantly to your bottom line.

Strategies for Prototyping Services:

  • Build a portfolio showcasing your work in different industries.
  • Offer a package that includes both the prototype and a set number of revisions.
  • Use NDAs to assure clients their ideas will remain confidential.

What we recommend:

  • Basic Prototyping Service
  • Premium Prototyping with Material Options
  • Turnkey Prototype to Production Package

10. YouTube Channel

Starting your own YouTube channel focused on 3D printing is a fantastic way to earn money.

Not only can you monetize through ads and sponsorships, but it also allows you to sell your own products or services.

Share tips, tutorials, and reviews to attract a target audience interested in 3D printing. As your channel grows, so does your income.

Strategies for your YouTube Channel:

  • Offer exclusive content or early access to subscribers who join your channel.
  • Partner with 3D printing companies for product reviews or giveaways.
  • Use your YouTube channel to drive traffic to your other businesses or online store.

What we recommend:

  • Video Course on Advanced 3D Printing Techniques
  • Custom Merchandise showcased in videos
  • Exclusive Membership for Personalized Tips and Tricks
screenshot of The Next layer youtube homepage

11. Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes are a fantastic business model for making money with a 3D printer. You can offer an array of 3D printed items, customized to a niche market.

Whether it’s monthly sets of home decor, personalized crafts, or specialized tools, a subscription box can provide a stable income and a way to maintain a loyal customer base.

You’re essentially turning your 3D printer into a money-making machine, creating digital files that translate into physical objects people want and need.

Strategies for Subscription Boxes:

  • Survey your target audience to understand their specific needs and preferences.
  • Use tiered pricing strategies to accommodate different customer budgets.
  • Run seasonal promotions to attract new subscribers.

What we recommend:

  • Monthly 3D Printed Toy Box
  • Quarterly Craft Supplies Kit
  • Bi-monthly Home Improvement Tools Box

12. Dropshipping Model

One way to minimize overhead and focus purely on the printing process is to collaborate with existing businesses using a dropshipping model.

You produce the items and the partner company handles the selling, shipping, and customer service.

This model allows you to sell online without worrying about inventory.

You generate income by simply fulfilling orders as they come in, allowing you to serve many customers across various industries.

Strategies for Dropshipping:

  • Partner with companies that complement your 3D printing capabilities.
  • Invest in rapid prototyping services to show potential partners the quality you can offer.
  • Develop a clear and efficient process for handling orders.

What we recommend:

  • On-demand Custom Jewelry Making
  • Rapid Prototyping for Small Businesses
  • Bespoke Industrial Parts

13. Licensed Products

If you can acquire a copyright license, selling trademarked content is another avenue for earning money.

For example, you could sell 3D printed models of popular characters from movies or video games.

Make sure you thoroughly read and understand the fine print of the licensing agreement to stay on the right side of the law.

Strategies for Licensed Products:

  • Regularly update your product lineup to coincide with popular releases or events.
  • Invest in high-quality materials to ensure a finished product that meets licensing standards.
  • Build relationships with companies offering licenses to negotiate better terms.

What we recommend:

  • Licensed Sports Memorabilia
  • Collectible Movie Characters
  • Limited-Edition Game Accessories

14. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing offers another avenue for how to make money with a 3D printer. Use your platform to recommend 3D printers, CAD software, and essential tools to your audience.

You can offer discount codes to incentivize purchases, earning a commission for each sale made through your links.

Strategies for Affiliate Marketing:

  • Produce quality content that showcases the benefits of the products you’re recommending.
  • Keep your audience informed about any updates or promotions from affiliate companies.
  • Use analytics to track the success of your affiliate marketing efforts.

What we recommend:

  • Best CAD Software for Beginners
  • Essential Tools for 3D Printing
  • Top-Rated 3D Printers for Small Businesses

15. Print-on-Demand Services

Print-on-demand services are another business model where your 3D printer can shine. Offer a menu of available jobs that customers can choose from, and only print when an order comes in.

This minimizes waste and allows you to adapt quickly to market demands. Such a service caters to many customers, from individuals looking for custom items to businesses needing specialized components.

Strategies for Print-on-Demand Services:

  • Use an easy-to-navigate online store to showcase available jobs.
  • Implement a real-time order tracking system for customer convenience.
  • Develop a pricing strategy that factors in material costs and post-processing.

What we recommend:

  • Personalized Keychains
  • Custom Business Logos
  • On-the-spot Novelty Items
screenshot of Market Portal homepage

16. Consultation Services

Offering consultation services in 3D printing is an excellent way to make money with your expertise.

Not only do you help businesses and individual clients understand this burgeoning field, but you also generate income through your guidance.

Consultations can be focused on a few different ways to improve processes, materials, or design strategies.

You can help companies build a strong foundation in 3D printing, leading to long-term contracts and a stable income stream.

Strategies for Consultation Services:

  • Network at trade shows and online platforms to find potential clients.
  • Develop a pricing strategy based on the depth and scope of consultation.
  • Offer discount codes for repeat consultations to encourage loyalty.

What we recommend:

  • Hourly Consultation Packages
  • Business Strategy Audit in 3D Printing
  • 3D Printing Workshops for Businesses

17. Design Templates

Creating design templates is a fantastic avenue for making money with a 3D printer. Customers can modify these digital files for personal use or even for small business applications.

By selling these templates on several websites or even through your free newsletter, you tap into a passive income model while catering to many customers.

Strategies for Designing Templates:

  • Understand your target audience’s needs and design accordingly.
  • Use your own website and third-party platforms to reach a broader customer base.
  • Offer a bundle package for a series of templates to generate more income.

What we recommend:

  • Home Decor Template Packs
  • 3D-Printable Toy Sets
  • Customizable Office Supplies Templates

18. Art and Décor

Your design skills can be a great asset in creating 3D-printed art pieces or home décor items.

Artistic creations have high demand, and the added uniqueness of 3D printing makes your products stand out. This could be your main business model or a profitable side hustle.

Strategies for Art and Decor:

  • Partner with local businesses or galleries to showcase your art.
  • Use social media and online platforms to build a strong customer base.
  • Experiment with different materials and post-processing techniques to create unique items.

What we recommend:

  • 3D-Printed Wall Art
  • Customized Lampshades
  • Bespoke Sculptures

19. Collaborate with Schools

3D printing is not just for businesses and individual customers; educational institutions are also keen to get involved.

Offering online workshops or courses targeted at schools can encourage the younger generation to dive into this exciting field.

Your 3D printer can be an educational tool that also earns money.

Strategies for Collaborating with Schools:

  • Develop an online course curriculum tailored for different age groups.
  • Reach out to local and international schools to offer your services.
  • Provide student discounts to make your courses more accessible.

What we recommend:

  • Introduction to 3D Printing Course for Schools
  • Online 3D Printing Workshops for Educators
  • STEM-Focused 3D Printing Modules

20. Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is another specialized service you can offer. This involves taking a finished product and creating digital files to replicate it, helping businesses and inventors understand and modify existing products.

This can be a complex but lucrative area, particularly if you possess both 3D printing and CAD software skills.

Strategies for Reverse Engineering:

  • Ensure you have the necessary licenses or permissions to reverse engineer specific products.
  • Offer tiered service packages based on the complexity of the project.
  • Use your expertise to consult on potential improvements or modifications.

What we recommend:

  • Basic Reverse Engineering Service
  • Complex Product Analysis
  • Prototype Replication and Modification

21. Remote Training Services

Remote training in 3D printing and CAD software can be a lucrative venture. This is especially appealing to your target audience of 50+ digital nomads and solopreneurs who may want to learn from anywhere.

With this business model, you can teach the essentials of 3D printing, including creating digital files, post-processing, and more.

By offering an online course or one-on-one sessions, you can generate income while adding value to many customers in a high-demand area.

Strategies for Remote Training Services:

  • Develop a comprehensive online course covering 3D printing and CAD software.
  • Use social media and your own website to promote your courses.
  • Offer a tiered pricing strategy to accommodate different budget ranges.

What we recommend:

  • Basic 3D Printing Course for Beginners
  • Advanced CAD Software Training
  • One-on-One Remote Consulting Services

22. Medical Models

Creating medical models through 3D printing has a strong foundation in the healthcare industry. Doctors and educators can benefit from these physical objects for training or surgical planning.

With your skilled designer abilities, you can create customized products that serve a specific need and generate income.

Strategies for Medical Models:

  • Establish partnerships with medical institutions or healthcare professionals.
  • Offer a range of materials to choose from, including bio-compatible options.
  • Develop a pricing strategy tailored to the healthcare industry.

What we recommend:

  • Anatomical Training Models
  • Custom Surgical Planning Models
  • Specialized Dental Models

23. Crafting Tools

Crafting tools represent another niche market where you can make money with a 3D printer.

Whether it’s personalized crafts or jewelry making tools, you can design and sell items that cater to specific crafting communities.

These could be sold on your own online store or various other platforms, offering another way to earn money.

Strategies for Crafting Tools:

  • Identify popular crafting communities and their needs.
  • Use social media to showcase your crafting tools and gain potential customers.
  • Provide sets of crafting tools as bundles for more money-making opportunities.

What we recommend:

  • 3D-Printed Jewelry Molds
  • Custom Crafting Knives
  • Specialty Stamps for Crafters

24. Reselling 3D Printers

Reselling 3D printers can also be a lucrative business. Many industries are on the lookout for reliable 3D printers, and with your expertise, you can offer curated choices.

This allows you to earn commissions or profit margins and serves as another avenue to make money with a 3D printer.


  • Collaborate with 3D printer manufacturers for bulk purchase discounts.
  • Offer guides and tutorials as an added value to your customers.
  • Provide post-sale customer support to differentiate your business.

What we recommend:

  • Beginner-Friendly 3D Printer Models
  • High-Resolution 3D Printers for Professionals
  • 3D Printer Starter Kits

25. Participate in Trade Shows

Participating in trade shows isn’t strictly online, but it’s a goldmine for networking opportunities.

These events gather many industries and potential clients, allowing you to showcase your 3D printing services and products.

Trade shows can rapidly expand your customer base and give you several ways to make more money.

Strategies for Participating in Trade Shows:

  • Prepare a portfolio showcasing your range of 3D-printed products or services.
  • Use the trade show to launch new products or offer exclusive discounts.
  • Collect contact information for post-show follow-ups and potential contracts.

What we recommend:

  • Portable 3D Printing Demonstrations
  • Exclusive Trade Show Discount Coupons
  • 3D-Printed Business Card Holders with Your Branding
screenshot of 3d Print upcoming event

How To Make Money With A 3D Printer: Summary

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and entrepreneurship, 3D printing stands out as a compelling avenue for making money. From offering specialized design templates to establishing a consulting business in this niche, the potential is both vast and varied.

The key takeaways are clear: understand your target market, specialize in high-demand sectors, and always operate within the legal framework, especially when it comes to selling trademarked or copyrighted materials.

So, if you’re looking to dip your toes into this exciting realm, there’s no better time than now. The technological barriers are lowering, and the opportunities are multiplying.

And remember, whether you’re considering this as a side hustle or a full-fledged business, success in 3D printing is very much achievable.

Interested in more entrepreneurial and money-making ideas? Don’t forget to check out our rich array of articles on the blog; such as;

We’re committed to providing you with invaluable insights to help you thrive in your business endeavors.

Make the leap today and unlock your potential in the world of 3D printing and beyond.

How To Make Money With A 3D Printer: FAQs

Is there money that can be made in 3D printing?

Absolutely, there’s significant potential to make money with 3D printing, whether as a side hustle or a full-time venture. From selling customized products to providing rapid prototyping services, the avenues are diverse and abundant.

This technology isn’t just a hobby; it’s a burgeoning industry with a variety of niche markets you can tap into. Whether as a side hustle or a full-fledged business, 3D printing offers multiple ways to generate income.

How to make money with your 3D printer in 2023?

The year 2023 is a promising time for anyone looking to make money with 3D printing. With advancements in technology and growing demand for personalized products, the opportunities are aplenty.

You can sell prints directly to consumers, collaborate with businesses for custom designs, or even offer educational courses in 3D printing techniques. Also, consider exploring online platforms that connect 3D designers with customers looking for specialized prints.

Can you sell things with a 3D printer?

Yes, you can certainly sell items created with your 3D printer. The ability to sell prints and designs opens up a wide range of possibilities for making money with 3D printing. Whether it’s custom-designed jewelry, specialized crafting tools, or architectural models, the sky’s the limit.

Just make sure you’re adhering to copyright laws when selling items based on existing designs or trademarked content.

Is 3D printing a good small business?

3D printing can indeed be a lucrative small business venture. With relatively low startup costs compared to other businesses, and the ability to produce goods on demand, it presents an excellent opportunity for those looking to start a side hustle or a full-time operation.

The key is to identify a target market and offer specialized, high-quality products or services that meet its specific needs.

How do I price my 3D printing services?

Pricing your 3D printing services can be challenging but is crucial for making money with 3D printing. It’s important to consider material costs, time spent on design and printing, post-processing work, and other overheads.

Research your competitors’ pricing and target a similar range. Always offer a mix of budget and premium options to attract a wider range of customers.

Selling 3D printed copies of existing products can be legally tricky regardless if it’s a side hustle or a full-time job.

Make sure you have the appropriate licenses or permissions to sell any trademarked or copyrighted materials.

Failure to do so could lead to legal consequences and harm your credibility in the long run.

About the author

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links, from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or would use myself. If you choose to purchase from any of my links, thanks so much for your support! 😊