3D Printing Business Models

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  • This page aims to show various Business Models to aid Microfactories and Print Farms in breaking even, or earning a small profit, to prevent the typical issue of good causes becoming Money Pits
  • #3 business models - subcontracting, reverse engineering, product design



  • Not for everyone, but 3D Printing can be a GREAT art medium
  • Lattice Cubes, Lampshades, Lithophanes, Sculptures, and kinetic art can all be made easily (assuming you have someone to make the desings...)
  • Market may be the issue, but either online Etsy , Flea Markets, or local craft fairs are all options

Cosplay/Props Service/Store

  • Between Haloween, local theatres/indie film studios, and the emerging prevalence of cosplay there is a large market for 3D Printed Parts, or Molds etc in costumes or props
  • Many can't afford 3D Printers, but a 3D Printed Helmet, Sword, Mask, etc is often doable
  • Can also be combined with metal casting (even simple aluminum from Lost PLA Casting , Greensand Casting (using 3d Printed forms), Lost Wax Casting ), Silicone Molds (3D Printed), CNC Foam Cutting and more for little additional cost of equipment (toolheads, or propane etc, and a crucible + some cans)

Desing/Model Service

  • Make architechtual models
  • Make models for various academic uses (heart cutaways, skeletons, cell cutaways, etc) (something as simple as a local elementary school would work as a user base)
  • Make models for presentations


  • Work hand in hand with local schools
  • Mainly middle and high schools would be the targets (perhaps vocational schools (models of engines?) ? )
  • Work with engineering classes, physics classes, art classes, and anyone who would want the service
  • Print designs made by students, print models, or even do 3D Printer builds long term


  • Sort of it's own category, but if you have a 3D Printer, you are a great cantidate to start your own, or team up with others to make one
  • At this phase it would most likely be garage/school/library based level stuff (no 5 axis wire edm machine yet...), but still a makerspace in your area is better than NONE
  • ANOTHER can of worms of models, but "throw money into the pot" and events/people paying for materials can work
  • This is especially true if the market is EMPTY (ie no local makerspaces)

Print Farm

  • Use websites and local ads
  • People send you files, and you sell them the printed parts
  • Can also perhaps have local pickup as well

See Also

Useful Links