How to Make Money with a 3D Printer?

3D printing in action.

3D printing in action. Image source:

Many people usually have one main question around the topic of 3D printing, how can I make money with a 3D printer? If you have just received your first 3D printer or you have been 3D printing for sometime now and you are now thinking of using it as a business, we’re going to teach you how you can make money with your 3D printer.

6 Ways to Generate Income Using a 3D Printer

  • Making profit renting out the 3D Printer

You can use your 3D printer to make money by renting it out. Generally, the charges for the types of 3d printers can start anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars and can go up to 2,000 dollars depending on the type of 3D printer that you have.

You can rent the printer for a few hours, days, weeks, and even months depending on the agreement that you will have with your clients. This is a great business if you have an industrial and large 3D printer as you can rent them out to large institutions and even companies.

A few months if not weeks of renting out your 3D printer can help you get the money that you used to buy it. There are also other websites like that allows one to outsource their 3D printers.

  • Building Prototypes

3D designing a Prototype of a Bridge in SelfCAD

3D designing a Prototype of a Bridge in SelfCAD

The majority of the investors and entrepreneurs work to create prototypes for their potential items in the preliminary stages of their startups. 

Before, for one to create any prototype, they had to spend a lot of money hiring different groups of people and it was time consuming too. But with 3D printing, preparing prototypes is much easier. They can be prepared in a 3D design software, sliced and then 3D printed.

Creating prototypes can be a great way to generate profit with a 3D printer because it is a crucial step for each business owner.

  • Teaching 3D Printing

You can also make money teaching 3D printing technology. 3D printing is still a new technology and not many people are aware of it. So arranging for the training can really help you make good money out of it. You can be teaching 3D printing in schools, institutions, organizations, and also you can open a Youtube channel or a website dedicated to teaching 3D printing and you can later monetize it using Google ads and even affiliate marketing.

  • Launch a Local 3D Printing Business

If you have all the modalities in place and have a good number of 3D printers, you can set up your own local 3D printing business where you can 3D print items for people at a fee. Your customers will be mostly hobbyists who would like their customized designs to be 3D printed, mechanical engineers who would like their parts to be 3D printed. 

Not all mechanical parts are easily accessible in the market and most require outsourcing from other countries and this is usually expensive and time consuming as well. Hence if you can set up a local 3D printing business, you can get a lot of customers.

Also, research institutions and universities also might require some parts to be 3D printed for their projects. So having your business set up and running you can make a good amount of money. You can also extend it and be selling 3D printers as well as 3D printing materials.

  • Offer Laser Engraving and Laser Cutting Services

Laser Engraving on transparent Acrylic using Endurance lasers.

Laser Engraving on transparent Acrylic using Endurance lasers.

Even if you don’t have a CNC machine, you can use your 3D printer as a CNC machine. You can turn your 3D printer into a laser engraver and laser cutter by installing the appropriate 3D printer attachment. One of those attachments is a laser diode like Endurance lasers. Once installed, it will turn your 3D printer into a powerful functional laser machine. 

Because not many people can afford CNC machines and they would like to do laser cutting and engraving, you can get an opportunity to create a profitable business in this area. But before buying a laser module for your 3D printer, ensure that it can cut on the materials of your choice and it also has enough power.

  • 3D Print Lithophanes

Lithophanes are pieces of art that reveal images after light is shone on them. This is an interesting technology that most people aren’t aware of. You can build a successful business in it as you will be showcasing interesting lithophanes projects like that you can showcase and I believe they will really like them. 

Examples of the projects one can do is 3D printing rotating lithophane lamps like the ones shin.

3D printed Lithophanes lamps

3D printed Lithophanes lamps. Image source: Pinterest

Wrapping up

So it is clear that individuals can make a substantial amount of money with a 3D printer. The above ideas are just some of them. There are many other methods that you can use to make money with your 3D printer and you can discover them as you go on using your 3D printer. In case you don’t find any that fits you, you can sell your 3D printer and you will have made money.