Starting a 3D Printing Business – Profitable Business Plan Overview

3d printing ideas

3D printing which is also known as additive printing is a new mechanism of printing an image in 3-dimensions. A 3D image looks quite real in comparison to a 2D image and is quite attractive in looks. The process of 3D requires a series of layers that are laid down on each other simultaneously so that each layer is somewhat above from the other one.

This gives shape to the final image coming out from a 3D printing machine. In recent years demand for 3D printing has increased rapidly and therefore this is absolutely right time to kick start your small 3D printing business. In this article I have crafted some unique ideas for 3D printing business which will attract lots of customers. Because of rapid increase in demand, you can easily make this business profitable by following effective business plan which is given below.

How does 3D printing works?

The working of a 3D printing is quite easy. You can create the image of a 3D object using a 3D image software. You can also scan the image of an object and then print it. You will eventually get the 3D image of an object.

A 3D printing model is not something very new but it still has huge craze among the people. The industry that was very minute in 2012 is around $20 billion in 2021 and tend to be $50 billion by 2025. The future of 3D printing industry seems to be very bright. If you are looking for a business investment in this field then this is not a bad idea at all. Though in the present times the competition is quite high yet you can set up your own market with trusted customers.

The 3D printing allows you to get a print of a solid thing. What you need is a combined system of 3D printing equipment along with a grand plan on how you can earn a decent sum of money from this business. The starting thing that matters is how much capital investment does it requires in this business?

A total of $10000-20000 is required to open up your own 3D business. Though the mentioned rate may vary based on your choices and requirements but in a general condition, this is the amount you will require. So if the issues of investment has been solved, we can head towards the other issues.

The 3D Printing Business Plan

A 3D printing business requires a lots of efforts, hard work, investment, skill, employees and market. Though the early stages of this business are little hard and expensive but if all gets up well then you will have great returns. For a business plan to succeed, it needs to be thorough and comprehensive. One also needs to be realistic and simply not dreaming because it actually requires lots of efforts to gain the fruits.

The 3D printing business plan here is divided into few steps. Here are they:-

  • The 3D Printing Setup
  • The Investment Required
  • Other Types of Requirements
  • Process Time
  • Return on Investment

Now let us start with the 3D printing setup.

The 3D Printing Setup

Your 3D printing setup will require a series of items around that will make your whole business. Here are few of them.

  • Software
  • Thermo Plastic Filament
  • Spool of Filament
  • Sample Material Kits for Metals
  • 3D Printer
  • Digital Animation Course

Software: You need a software to run your 3D printing setup. In starting you may go for free sample software but if you want to be a professional then you need to buy a licensed software package.

Thermo Plastic Filament: You need this material on which your 3D designed components will be built. A thermo plastic filament is strong, light and durable and will give a great shape to your printed image.

Spool of Filament: Though the above option is good but can also have some other options as well. You should not shy from using materials of other substance.

3D Printer: Of course printing a 3D image requires a 3D printer. You should wisely choose your 3D printer because it is what in the last determine the quality of your creation. It costs the most therefore should be chosen wisely because you can’t have another easily.

Digital Animation Course: This is one of the most important part. You need to be skilled enough to process a 3D image. If you are highly skilled in this than half of your job is done.

Investment Required in 3D Printing Business

If we want to calculate how much capital is required to setup your own 3D printing business then you need to count the cost of the above requirements. Here it is:-

The cost of purchasing a software varies with the requirement. Some top software cost around $500-$5000. Some of them are listed below.

Software                        Prices

Fusion 360                   $25 a month

Geomagic Design          $2111

Rhino 3D                      $1166

Sketchup                      $412

Solid works                   $4683

After software, the cost of purchasing thermo plastic filaments and spool of other filaments will be $50. The cost of sample material kits for metals will cost around $70 and the price for the printer will be around $1500 to $3000. It may vary depending on the quality of printer you want. Always go for the best so that it doesn’t impact the quality. The last remaining thing is the digital animation course that will maximum cost around $500.

One can also add the miscellaneous cost like the renting space, employee cost, repair cost, and other such costs. It will total around $1000. So the total invest you need is about $10000 (+,-).

Other Requirements:

These requirements include the space where you will run your business, the employees required, repair cost, electricity charge and connection, desk and furniture and other such usage. Apart from this you can also add the requirements of design and patterns for your 3D printing.

Process Time:

It won’t take more than a month to setup all these things. You may need around 3 months to learn all the skills required to run your 3D printing shop. Animation, designing, drawing, sketching, finishing and operating are something that will require time. To avoid this you may hire a professional but it require you to pay them which will add additional cost. If you can afford then you can go for it or else you better learn.

Return on Investment:

You will get the return on your investment only when you start selling the 3D prints. This will take at least a month. You may sell these prints online to earn go money. It will take at least a year to start getting a good return on your investment but if you keep doing hard work then you might do quite well.

What you should print that will attract Customers?

Easy & Unique 3D Printing Ideas

Your target should always be what is in the trend and demand. Apart from the trends you can also go for cool and different things that are extremely appealing to the customer. You can also customize your prints to fit your customers. Though you should prefer varieties but at the same time you should also target specific niches in order to gain your customer’s trust. If he/she finds your work good then he might end up buying every time from you.

Here is the list of 3D printing ideas that may attract the customers:-

  • Jewelry in 3D will always attract its customers. This is in trend and will work in initial stages
  • Bracelets of hexagonal shapes are quite fashionable these days
  • A ring that is designed with a moon theme also looks extremely appealing.
  • The smaller you. Yes you can try this as well. You can use a scanner to scan your customer then take a print of him with a small size. This will be certainly the best thing for your customer. This will also compel him to try this on their other family members thereby increasing your profit and sale.
  • A musical instrument like a 3D guitar will also be interesting thing
  • If you have your kids then you can take out a 3D print of your child’s drawing and gift him. He will definitely love you.
  • You can also ask your customer to have a print with his/her spouse or partner. Scanning them together in a single frame will be a very dear moment. The print will certainly be close to their heart.
  • 3D crockery products like cups and glasses.

These are some of the ideas that are quite popular these days and are extremely appealing. Having a small version of you in your house is in itself a very exciting idea. You can go for these prints in your shop and it would be extremely successful.

Your items should also be affordable to your customers. Like few items should be in cheap list so that any passerby can buy it while some of them should be specific for target customers. Some of them can be customized that will give you good price while the last category should be the special one where you can charge a good price. A 3D scanner should also be with you that will scan an object and will create its replica.

Have you ever imagined that what will your replica in a smaller size would exactly look like? If you haven’t got the answer then you can try this using your scanner and printer. A replica of your customer would certainly be the best way to attract them. Below is the way how you can attract your customers so that you make a good profit out of your business.

Is 3D printing profitable?

The profit from 3D printing business is quite impressive. The early days of your business may not give you that good result but with time you will really enjoy and earn a good sum of money from your business. Here is how you can make the best profit out of your small 3D printing business.

Make your Reach Global: Don’t limit yourself on till your shop or your locality. Go global using online portals. You have your own website which may require some more cost but it will give you immense profit. You can also sell your prints on e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, E-bay and their likes. You can also take customized orders from your customers through your site.

Print things that are popular yet interesting: Replica of popular themes attract people. A replica of famous celebrities, monument or their like will attract customers. You can also go for human replicas where you scan your customers and them their own replica.

Charge Decent yet Standard: Don’t be too expensive nor be too cheap. Always charge the standard rates where you can give some discount, offers and incentives.

Always maintain your Standard: On the name of earning more profits never compromise with your standards. The early days may not give you expected returns but if you will maintain your standard then eventually you will attract standard customers who will give you your required price.

Be Experimental and be Creative: This is the last yet important point. Experiments create something knew which may not be attractive in the start but may prove out to be the most demanded item. Be creative as it always works. Offer something different from your peers so that you make the difference and that is how it works.

3D Printing Business Scope:

With the passing time your business will grow and will eventually help you in earning more. It will also create a new market for your customers eventually pushing them to buy more and that will help you in earning more. This field is new and creative. Boosting your creative will always be beneficial for you who knows what one can discover from this

The last and the most important point to remember if you are going for this business is that it is a growing business and is continuously gaining ground. People are getting attracted towards it and are buying 3D prints. There is a billion dollar business out there so even if your business is going humble you may do well in the upcoming future. Always give a try and go for something new, who knows where you land up, maybe in a gold mine.


1. What is 3D Printing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process by which digital 3D models are turned into physical objects. A 3D printer follows a digital blueprint, created in a computer-aided design (CAD) program, to create physical three-dimensional layers of material in the required shapes and dimensions.

2. What are the advantages of starting a 3D Printing business?

Starting a 3D printing business offers several advantages. 3D printing is cost-effective, requires minimal initial investments and does not require a large space. Additionally, rapid prototype development and short time-to-market are possible with 3D printing.

3. What is required to start a 3D Printing business?

You will need a 3D printer or access to a printing service, a computer with CAD software, a business plan and a strategy for marketing your services.

4. What type of 3D printer should I use?

It depends on the type of 3D printing services you plan to offer. The two main types of 3D printers are Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) and Stereolithography (SLA). If you plan to offer rapid prototyping services, an FFF printer is likely the best option. However, if you plan to offer more detailed or intricate 3D printing services, an SLA printer may be a better choice.

5. Do I need insurance to start a 3D Printing business?

Yes, it is recommended to get business insurance to protect your 3D printing business from property damage and product liability claims.

6. What types of materials can I use for 3D printing?

A variety of materials can be used for 3D printing, such as plastic, metals, glass, and ceramics.

7. What types of products can I create with 3D Printing?

There are almost limitless possibilities for 3D printing. Potential products include phone cases, toys, jewelry, prosthetics, jigsaw puzzles and other custom items.

8. What price should I charge for 3D printing services?

Pricing depends on the size of the project, the level of complexity and the materials used. It is recommended to research the industry standard for pricing to ensure you remain competitive.

9. How can I market my 3D printing business?

There are many effective ways to market a 3D printing business, such as creating a website, leveraging social media, attending trade shows, and offering discounts or freebies.

10. What is post-processing?

Post-processing is the process of finishing 3D printed parts. Common post-processing techniques include sanding, painting, heat treating, cutting, and polishing. This step is important as it ensures the quality of the final product.

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