3D Printing And Money – Are There Ways to 3D Print Money?
Besides getting ahold of the best selling book; How to 3D Print Money (downloadable or on Amazon)
Create and sell designs. 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.
Invent a design.
* 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 thingiverse.com to marvel at the creativity and possibilities shared by others.
* Once your design is complete in CAD, make sure it’s 3D printable (or “watertight,” in industry jargon). Other free tools like netfabb or the Solid Inspector plugin for Sketchup will find and correct errors you inadvertently created.
* Now with your ready-to-print file, you just need to find an outlet to sell it. Sites like CG Trader are pure design marketplaces which allow users to search for 3D printable designs and print them on their own 3D printers. Other sites like Shapeways or i.Materialise allow similar services.
Buy a 3D printer and offer a 3D printing service. While the concept is simple, this option is not quite as easy. It will require an investment of hundreds to thousands of dollars to acquire a printer.
* The first step is to select a printer that has the right balance of cost, output quality, versatility, and ease of use.
* Once you have the printer in your home or office you will need to spend ample time experimenting with it and mastering its intricacies. You will need to understand how variables like layer height, extrusion temperature, and travel speed will impact your print job. You will need to know how to select appropriate feedstock and optimize it based on the material type. Even the software you choose to turn the printable file into machine code (G-code in industry jargon) can influence the output. Many printers come with their own software to do this, but you may get different (perhaps better, in some cases) results with the open source replicator G, for instance. This in itself can be a fun path of discovery.
* Once you are confident in your expertise you can enter the fray by offering your services as part of one of the emerging 3D printing networks. These are turnkey solutions with support for invoicing and shipping that allow you to list your printer and accept orders from people with designs they want printed. Currently, the largest such network is 3D Hubs.
Come up with a novel online product/service that leverages 3D printing. 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.
* Once you have crafted a service, develop your website. Website design has become fairly streamlined and commoditized. Mainly you will want to focus on the features that uniquely leverage 3D printing. The output of your website will be ready to print models.
Once your website design is underway, next secure a means to fabricate orders.
* If your website takes off, you will want professional grade equipment costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. While you are building up to that, you can start out by partnering with an existing 3D printing service provider. These are firms that own banks of professional grade 3D printers and will print objects for you for a fee.