Business Ideas

50 Profitable 3d Printing Business ideas & Opportunities


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Do you want to invest in a business of the future and become the next Google? Do you want to be the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Jeff Bezos? If YES, here are 50 fast growing 3d printing business ideas to start.

The world has advanced rapidly away from the Gutenberg printing machines of the 19th century to a more advance medium of inscribing ink on paper, the world has moved away from just printing on paper to printing on other surfaces such as cotton, ceramics, wood, and other clean surfaces. To make things simpler, 3D means three dimensional printing which means an additive technology in which objects are built up in a great many very thin layers.

Why Start a 3d Printing Business?

Imagine a future in which a device connected to a computer can print a solid object. A future in which we can have tangible goods as well as intangible services delivered to our desktops or high-street shops over the Internet. 3D printing offers a wide range of business opportunities that can rain cash into your bank accounts now and even more in the future since it is a business that will get better with time.

3D printing is the next big thing in the print industry. Nothing could be more fascinating than having pictures printed out exactly the way they look. Instead of using ink or toner, as is the case with traditional printers, a 3D printer can print in plastic, metal, nylon, and over a hundred other materials.

Starting a 3D Printing Business – Industry Overview

The 3D printing market is expected to garner $8.6 billion by 2020, registering a CAGR of 21% from 2015 – 2020. 3D printing is also referred as additive printing technology that lets manufacturers to develop objects using a digital file and variety of printing materials.

The global market for 3D printing materials includes polymers, metals and ceramics. Also 3D printing offers a wide array of applications in various industries, namely consumer products, industrial products, defense & aerospace, automotive, healthcare, education & research and others.

From detailed analysis, we believe that the factors driving this market are reduction of errors, high degree of accuracy, efficient use of raw materials, ability to build customized products, simultaneous use of multiple materials for printing, efficient use of production time and finances, and competency over traditional techniques among others. High production cost to individual users, expensive 3D printing software, lack of channel partner assistance, and scarcity of skilled labour are some of the factors mitigating the global 3D printing industry.

Reports have it that the global market for 3D printing has been segmented based on component, application and geography. Based on component, the market is classified into technology, material and services. Application wise, the market is categorized into consumer products, aerospace, defense, education and research, automotive, industrial, and others. We believe that the consumer products industry has been the highest revenue generating segment and it is expected to be the highest generating segment even during the forecasted period.

With 3D printing becoming more popular, the market for this new technology is expected to blossom, which means there are huge profit opportunities for entrepreneurs who are willing to start a 3D printing business. So if you are willing to start a business that is related to this field, Here is a list of 50 lucrative 3D printing business ideas you can consider if you want to join this business to the future:


A very profitable business you can venture into in this industry is production of jewelry and ornaments, there is an available market for the products especially if they are really beautiful and cheap. With the possession of a 3D printer and a perfect understanding of how to use it, then you can start your own small business that manufactures fancy cheap but attractive jewelries. Once you can come up with hundreds of creative designs, your printer will readily churn them out in 3D; and you can sell to customers either offline or via the internet.


As kids we all love to have things we can play with, this toys keep children entertained and busy. If you are looking to start a 3D printing business, another area you can specialize in is the manufacturing of children’s toys and selling them.

There’s a huge global market for children’s toys and they are always in-demand. So, there’s no limit to the profit you can make. Since there is no ban of procreation, that is an assurance that all year round there will be an increase in the demand for these toys especially if you can think like a kid and come up with adorable designs that will grasp the attention of this small children.


Pets need distinct identification and most owners have identified the need for this unique and customized means of doing so. You can tap into this goldmine by printing their collars. This is very simple idea with the right market, dog and cat lovers tend to spend a lot of money on their animals, and you have custom content too such as name and address of the dog including the contact details of the owner in case the pet get lost, plus allowing to choose their preferred shape, colors and fonts.


Although there are more competitors in this space with slight variations of user experience and business models. This is a perfect business idea for 3D printing, because content is unique for each user. Especially consider games like World of Warcraft, where people invest a lot of time in customizing and playing with their virtual character. In that case they would be willing to pay much more than for equivalent figurine of mass production. There is a huge market as long as you can find games for which selling figurines is more profitable than other income (ads, in-app-purchases).


What can be so real like producing the figurine of their unborn babies’ months before birth? Some companies are now offering 3D printed fetuses as souvenirs for expectant mothers. WolfPrint, a 3D printing specialist, has become quite popular in Estonia, where it works with medical facilities that offer 3D ultrasounds in order to generate the data required to print figurines.

In the United States, 3D Babies offer four-inch figurines for $250 and eight-inch figurines for $550. Both can be generated from 3D ultrasound images or from newborn baby photos. All you have to do is to liaise with women and child care hospitals and meet with obstetricians to market your ideas. You are in for a jackpot if you can start this business soon.


Many of us are fed up with the one-size-fits-all ear buds that came with our phones and tablets. Apparently, you’re not the only one. You can offer custom-fit, 3D-printed ear buds. The current market price as offered by Normal is $199, they’re not cheap, but the new technology allows a price point far below that of other custom headphones, which can cost more than $1,000.Buyers photograph their ears using a Smartphone app, choose a color scheme, and have their headphones shipped as quickly as two days from time of order.

Yes, people need to send photos of both their ears because of the differences everyone has between their two lobes, according to Normal’s FAQ. “You might be surprised how different your ears are,” the company explains. “Ears are weird, really weird.” So weird, in fact, that most hearing aids are already being 3D printed. The process of scanning the ear and making molds for the eventual complete device used to take about a week, Kathryn Doyle reported for Quartz. 3D printing has reduced that process to a single day. Time to set up a new business as we all love listening to music and streaming videos aside making calls.


One of the industries that will benefit the most from 3D printing is the health care industry. Patients can now have body replacement parts such as prosthetic limbs and artificial teeth custom made for them within hours. If you are looking at rendering 3D printing services, you can specialize in that aspect.

The outlook for medical use of 3D printing is evolving at an extremely rapid pace as specialists are beginning to utilize 3D printing in more advanced ways. Patients around the world are experiencing improved quality of care through 3D printed implants and prosthetics never before seen. With a sound background in healthcare products, you can join this rare and new business to earn a legitimate income for yourself.


As of the early two-thousands, 3D printing technology has been studied by biotech firms and academia for possible use in tissue engineering applications where organs and body parts are built using inkjet techniques. Layers of living cells are deposited onto a gel medium and slowly built up to form three dimensional structures. This can be really medical and very complicated but with the right technology and expertise in place, it be achieved. One beautiful thing about this idea is that apart from making money, you will also be saving lives and making the world a better place to live.


3D printers are fast becoming very popular. And they will continue to be relevant for as long as they remain the most advanced printing devices technology has ever produced. You can take your share of the “pie” by starting a business that sells 3D printers. However, you must ensure that you have a well-defined target market before taking a plunge.


If you have a 3D printer or can afford to buy one, you can start a business that offers 3D printing services to businesses. Your target customers are manufacturing businesses that need to create 3D prototypes of a new product before starting its production. Although some businesses will have their own 3D printers for this purpose, many others will prefer to use third-party services.


3D printable models may be created with a computer aided design (CAD) package, via a 3D scanner or by a plain digital camera and photogrammetric software. 3D printed models created with CAD results in reduced errors and can be corrected before printing, allowing verification in the design of the object before it is printed. You can become a modeling expert with adequate knowledge in Auto Cad and other modeling software, your services is needed not just by manufacturing companies but also in the construction industry by structural and civil engineers.


Companies have created services where consumers can customize objects using simplified web based customization software, and order the resulting items as 3D printed unique objects. This now allows consumers to create custom cases for their mobile phones. Nokia has released the 3D designs for its case so that owners can customize their own case and have it 3D printed. You can into the mass customization of objects and items for individuals especially clothing as 3D designs can be employed in the production.


3D printing has can be adopted in the world of clothing with fashion designers experimenting with 3D-printed bikinis, shoes, and dresses. In commercial production Nike is using 3D printing to prototype and manufactures the 2012 Vapor Laser Talon football shoe for players of American football, and New Balance is 3D manufacturing custom-fit shoes for athletes.

3D printing has come to the point where companies are printing consumer grade eyewear with on-demand custom fit and styling (although they cannot print the lenses). On-demand customization of glasses is possible with rapid prototyping. Therefore, a good business venture to exploit is mass production of apparels and clothing.


The first pill manufactured by 3D printing was approved by the FDA in August 2015. Binder-jetting into a powder bed of the drug allows very porous pills to be produced, which enables high drug doses in a single pill which dissolves quickly and can be ingested easily. This has been demonstrated for Spritam, a reformulation of levetiracetam for the treatment of epilepsy. So what this implies is that you can become a pharmaceutical producer with a 3D printer and the right combination of chemical.


Consumer grade 3D printing has resulted in new materials that have been developed specifically for 3D printers. For example, filament materials have been developed to imitate wood, in its appearance as well as its texture. Furthermore, new technologies such as infusing carbon fiber into printable plastics; thus allowing for a stronger, lighter material.

In addition to new structural materials that have been developed due to 3D printing, new technologies have allowed for patterns to be applied directly to 3D printed parts. Iron oxide-free Portland cement powder has been used to create architectural structures up to 9 feet in height.


3D printing can also be used to make laptops and other computers and cases. For example, Novena and VIA OpenBook standard laptop cases. I.e. a Novena motherboard can be bought and be used in a printed VIA OpenBook case. Open-source robots are built using 3D printers. Double Robotics grants access to their technology (an open SDK). On the other hand, 3&DBot is an Arduino 3D printer-robot with wheels and ODOI is a 3D printed humanoid robot. You can therefore start a business of assembling computer by buying motherboards and printing the cases and other accessories. That will be a hit for you with the right marketing strategy.


In 2014, a man from Japan became the first person in the world to be imprisoned for making 3D printed firearms. Yoshitomo Imura posted videos and blueprints of the gun online and was sentenced to jail for two years. Police found at least two guns in his household that were capable of firing bullets. Even this sound illegal and illegitimate you can start producing firearms but with the right certification and permission by the government, without this permission, it might end up as a jail term for you if caught.


A popular way to make money from 3d printing business is to create a blog where you share information on the intricacies of 3d printing ranging from the technology, equipment and usage. If you can ensure your blog grows in traffic, you can start selling advert spaces to 3d printing services, 3d printing companies and 3d printers manufacturers. You may also create e-book and video tutorials as well as online courses on 3d printing which could be offered for sale on your blog. Blogging on 3d is one of the best lucrative 3d printing ideas for students.


Many people who do not have any experience of 3d printing have succeeded in exploiting the huge demand in this industry just by buying offering 3d printers for sale. They buy and sell industrial 3d printers and related accessories. Ensure you carry out extensive market survey to know what sizes and brands of 3d printer sell fast in the market. This will make you get good 3d printers prices for your business.


Just like a company called Twindom that specializes in 3D printing miniature figurines of people, they are a lot of positive feedback here from people we’ve sold our 3D photography turnkey business package to. Our Mobile Scanner is totally portable, attaches to the back of an iPad, and produces pretty awesome 3D scans that we then print for our partners at our facility at a wholesale price (they determine their own pricing and margins on top of that). In our experience, 3D printing technology seems to get people way more excited when they see it create a product that’s very personal. You can join the figurine or the 3D photography business too in your own location.


Until recent years models were built by hand, often taking a long time. Thus, architects are often forced to show their clients drawings of their projects. Manchester-based company Hobs’ business is based around working with architects, engineers and other creative to use 3D printing as part of their work, but to show off its capabilities, the company 3D printed models of the city’s two football stadia – Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium. This are just practical examples of how 3D printing can be adopted in designing structures, you can also start a business in that line.


Another lucrative business to invest in today in the 3D printing niche is the 3D gaming lounges. You can start a gaming lounge that will make use of 3D gadgets in making game freaks enjoy their games while you make your money. The youth love adventure and action, if you can provide such in your lounge; you will always smile to the bank at the end of every month. Not only that, you will become an employer of labor as it cannot be a one man business, with the right marketing strategy and platform, the business will make a headway.


Imagine yourself ordering a food at a restaurant and it can be printed out based on your criteria and taste in a matter of minute. You can start a 3D food restaurant where people can print out their foods either by themselves or with your supervision. This business can yield for you high level of income as it will be a different adventure and taste for people who love. You can tap into Foodini’s idea, Foodini is an automated meal-assembly machine that creates homemade meals faster and more efficiently than human hands, it is the first product by Natural Machines.


Ever wanted a 3D printing of your selfie? Well you’re in luck. Swiss company Dacuda and Swedish company Volumental have developed a mobile app that allows selfie-lovers to have their picture printed in 3D.Users can take a picture using their Smartphone or tablet, moving it from left to right in front of their face. This will create a 3D rendering of their face.

They will then be able to send the picture to a 3D printing company and receive a 3D version of their face in the post. You are wondering how you can tap into this idea and make money; all you need to do is to set up a 3D printing studio. So instead of being an ordinary photo studio, you will be printing out 3D versions. You can even combine the 3D selfie studio with a 2D printing.


Leverage the power of 3D printing by creating complex shapes easily, customize designs cheaply, or create moving parts which require no assembly. Need inspiration? Spend time perusing the 40,000+ designs on to marvel at the creativity and possibilities shared by others. Once your design is complete in CAD, make sure it’s 3D printable. Other free tools like netfabb or the Solid Inspector plugin for Sketchup will find and correct errors you inadvertently created. You can stand out as a 3D web developer and make money more that your peers using the 3D platform as leverage.


This is the most affordable and easiest way to get started. It’s essentially like creating a Smartphone app and selling it for royalties. Start by learning from free CAD tools like Trimble Sketchup or TinkerCAD. Most beginners are surprised by how easily they can whip up a complex looking design after a few tutorials. Sophisticated and professional quality designs can be made with these tools. Make sure to leverage the available online tutorials and communities for help. Leverage the power of 3D printing by creating complex shapes easily, customize designs cheaply, or create moving parts which require no assembly.


This opportunity requires the most money and creativity, but it also has the highest return potential. Here, you are making an online business where you sell a product revolutionized by 3D printing or some other related service. The key to coming up with a valuable service comes back to the freedoms inherent to 3D printing. For instance, the ability to easily modify designs lends to automated customization of products. Users can self-create customizations on your website and let 3D printers do the work. For inspiration, consider examples like the custom 3D figurines of Shapify or the new site for custom shoes called Feetz.


3D printing and art is a staying point as the technology develops well beyond the early days when artists, those who are interested in digital 3D design and printing, were largely on their own when it comes to mastering the technology or accessing a wide variety of software and hardware available in today’s burgeoning marketplace. The choices and techniques out there are far too numerable to fully grasp the printing for creating sculpture and /or integrate it in mixed media canvas. If you have an in depth background in art, you can combine it with 3D printing to achieve the desired results.


Not many people today are conversant with 3D printing. You can create a niche for yourself with the right training by becoming a 3D tutor and making the field wider. You are not only going to be earning a living but you will also be educating people.


With the emphasis on digital technology and such a savvy, artistic culture, designers and manufacturers have definitely caught on to all the benefits 3D printing has to offer them. Aside from the total novelty of presenting 3D printed dresses, shoes, jewelry, and myriad other accessories, they are able to cut out the traditional middlemen and can even become their own mini-factories, should they wish. And high-tech is in high demand, meaning that 3D design, 3D printing, and virtual reality have all carved out a place within that area of the world and they aren’t going anywhere.


It’s hard to believe that we’ve already reached any sort of crossroads where 3D printing could already need redefining, but if you think about it, makers and scientists have been redefining the technology since square one to meet their own needs for innovation and production, and especially since digital design and 3D printing truly hit the mainstream.

The industry, and technology, is in a constant—and spectacularly impressive—state of evolution. That is mainly in thanks to the brilliant minds of our time, and scientists like Paul Chiarot, a Binghamton University engineer whose research attracted a lot of attention; in fact, so much that he has received a five-year grant for $500,000 to continue his research with 3D printing and electronics. So very soon, you can start producing electronics in a mini way.


Indeed, it was no small feat to engineer a multi-faceted smart robot that can be assembled by kids like a Lego set, programmed by ages six to twelve, and then raced all over the house while being controlled remotely with a phone or tablet. The team worked meticulously not just to create programming that would work best for a toy that kids could customize, but also to integrate 3D printing and robotics that would offer just the right of challenge. Therefore, you can go into robotics engineering using 3D printing and designing using 3D printers


Advertisers and PR professionals always think out of the box in reaching their target audience in order to sell whatever goods and services they are advertising. Partnering with advertisers can bring about a new way in advertising; you can develop 3D ways of advertising products to the target audience. Humans want to see new ways of doing things always. Therefore become distinct from the crowd by coming up with a form of 3D advertising form and smile to the bank.

  1. 3D HUB

This is some kind of 3D market place where designs in 3D and products can be bought and sold. The marketplace connects shoppers with designers of 3D printed objects, and allows designers to upload their products for production. Buyers can provide feedback to designers, who can make adjustments and continue to sell their wares through the site. What kinds of items are for sale? Products range from tech toys to jewelry to home decor pieces.


Additive manufacturing is a manufacturing process through which three-dimensional (3-D) solid objects are created. It enables the creation of physical 3-D models of objects using a series of additive or layered development framework, where layers are laid down in succession to create a complete 3-D object. Additive manufacturing is an alternative to the traditional product manufacturing process, where objects were designed by cutting and forcibly shaping raw material and constructing an object through the use of molds and dyes. You can invest in additive manufacturing and earn a good living.

  1. 3D CINEMA

The cinema culture has been alive for several years. But 3D cinematography is becoming more popular and is fast becoming the next big thing in the cinema industry. If cinema-goers abound in your locality, then you should consider stunning them by opening a cinema that display movies in 3D.3D glasses are to be worn, so that the images are correctly filtered to your left or right eye.

The 3D illusion is created when our brain receives different images from each of our eyes and automatically merges them into a single image. This is how the perception of depth comes into play in reality whenever we visually process our physical 3D environments. Opening a 3D cinema center might be a bright business idea as the world is moving beyond 2D movies.


Another way you can monetize your 3D printing business is to start a blog for sharing all you know about the technology and application of 3D printing. With time, you will build a large audience of readers who are eager to learn more about 3D printing. Once you have built a high traffic blog, you can start making money from it by selling advert slots to 3D printing services and companies selling 3D printers, offering e-courses on 3D printing, selling your own eBook on the topic, and so on.

Create a 3D printing review site that would also tie in a 3D printing service. The 3D print site would need regular news updates, a comparison page, and a user registration system along with integrated forums. This would require the person to actually be pretty interested in 3D printing, seek out demos, post reviews and pictures/videos of actual products being made. Basically like a “TechCrunch of 3D printing” or an “Engadget of 3D printing.” In the long run, advert or Google Adsense would generate income for the site.


3D printing of shoes uses pictures of a person’s feet to create 3D printed shoes that are customized to exactly fit that person’s feet. After a customer uses the app to upload photos of his feet and pick a design for his shoes, Feetz prints the pair and ships it within seven days. How interesting can it get, start printing shoes and making a good living for yourself.


Unlike traditional 3D Printing, Holographic Printing uses pulse lasers to deposit your 3D models onto film, when illuminated with a light your 3D model is released from the film creating a high resolution 3D light field of your model that exists in space and feels so real you want to reach out and grab it. Like most solid 3D Printing Zebra Holograms use the same 3D models to produce the product.

The Holographic print offers a bevy of improvements over its solid counterpart. The beauty of holographic printing lies in three dimensions. It is faster as the print speeds of a Zebra Holograms print full-color objects up 24″ X 34″ in less than 3 hours. The resolution of 3D Printed Holograms boast much higher resolution than their solid counterparts, each hologram contains ~1TB of high resolution data and lastly, it is cost effective as you can print a 8″ x 10″ holograms are as low as $70.00.


3D holographic maps provide the highest quality 3D visualization to help military, NGOs, State Department personnel and Joint Task Forces coordinate relief efforts quickly without language or interpretation errors. With the right training and knowledge you can develop 3D maps and sell to both the military and the intelligence gathering agencies at a huge price. You also will be able to maintain the mapping system for a fee.


No doubt, starting a business that sells 3D printers might require huge startup capital; and that because each unit comes at an expensive price, thousands of dollars. However, there’s a less expensive way to make money from the 3D printing industry: selling 3D printer accessories and supplies. If you live in a place where 3D printing has become popular, then this is for you.


3D printing is a new concept to most people. (In fact, in some parts of the world, it’s literally unheard of). If you deeply understand 3D printers and how they work, you can turn your knowledge into huge profits by teaching others who want to learn how to use these fascinating devices. Both individuals and corporate clients will readily pay to learn from you.


Since many people want to learn 3D printing and are ready to pay to achieve just that, you can make fortune by packaging all the information they need into an electronic product; such as a video or an eBook—and put it up for sale. Only few people have knowledge of 3D printing enough to fill up an eBook or long video. So, the competition is minimal.


Even if you are on a flat budget, you can make a fortune from the 3D printing industry by referring finding customers online and referring them to companies that sell 3D printers. Because these printers are expensive, you will get a fat commission each time a customer buys a 3D printer through your affiliate link.


3D TV offers a sense of depth that standard 2D TV can’t match. Bear in mind, though, that you’ll have to wear special glasses to watch it.3D TVs polarize the original 3D pictures into separate images. Seen with the naked eye, the picture appears to be blurred, but if you put on 3D glasses, the separate images are directed to either your right or left eye, creating the impression of depth.

It’s worth bearing in mind that there’s really no such thing as an exclusively 3D TV. Rather there are TVs that come with 3D as a feature. You can use them to watch your usual 2D TV and films, but also 3D content providing you own a Best Buy Blu-ray player, or have access to 3D programs through your TV provider, such as Sky or Virgin Media.


You will buy a product, customized to your exact specifications, which is 3D-printed and delivered to your doorstep. Innovative companies will use 3D printing technologies to give themselves a competitive advantage by offering customization at the same price as their competitor’s standard products.

At first this may range from novelty items like custom Smartphone cases or ergonomic improvements to standard tools, but it will rapidly expand to new markets. The leaders will adjust their sales, distribution and marketing channels to take advantage of their capability to provide customization direct to the customer. Customization will also play a big role in healthcare devices such as 3D-printed hearing aids and artificial limbs.


Even though this will reduce the creativity of human race, you can start to print and sell artworks made with 3D printers. This you can exhibit and sell for huge amount of money. 3D printed art is now being showcased in galleries in the United States, but unlike most exhibits, the work is meant to be experienced through both the tactile and visual senses.


3D-printed medical implants will improve the quality of life of someone close to you. Because 3D printing allows products to be custom-matched to an exact body shape, it is being used today for making better titanium bone implants, prosthetic limbs and orthodontic devices. Experiments in printing soft tissue are underway, and may soon allow printed veins and arteries to be used in operations. Today’s research into medical applications of 3D printing covers nano-medicine, pharmaceuticals and even printing of organs. Taken to the extreme, 3D printing could one day enable custom medicines and reduce if not eliminate the organ donor shortage.


Once reserved for prototypes and toys, 3D printing will become industrial strength. You will take a flight on an airliner that includes 3D-printed components, making it lighter and more fuel efficient. In fact, there are aircrafts that already contain some 3D-printed components. The technology will also start to be adopted for the direct manufacture of specialist components in industries like defense and automotive. Overall, the number of 3D printed parts in planes, cars and even appliances will increase without you knowing.

  1. 3D MALLS

3D print shops will begin to appear, at first servicing local markets with high-quality 3D printing services. Initially designed to service rapid-prototyping and other niche capabilities, these shops will branch into the consumer marketplace. As retailers begin to “ship the design, not the product,” the local 3D print shop will one day be where you pick up your customized, locally manufactured products, just like you pick up your printed photos from the local Wal-Mart today. So open a 3D mall where people can shop for products

The good thing about this new business is that it will never stop working. Everything in this world can be printed in 3D and sold. The huge demand on 3D printer products and prototype is going crazy. Unlike what obtains with traditional 2D printers, the outputs of 3D printers are far beyond on-paper pictures. They are real-life objects that you can see and touch. Now, you can imagine how fascinating that could be. 3D printing is still very new, but it promises to become one of the biggest industries ever–due to its relevance to a wide range of sectors.


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