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3D Printing Business Question Answered

From reading https://www.instructables.com/community/What-3D-printers-can-do-and-what-they-cant/, this article. It seems as the sky is the limit as long as I have a good artist, a proper 3D modeller and the correct material. 

However, I want to start a business whose main focus is 3D printing. What are things, I really can't make?

Besides hiring an artist and 3d modeler. What printer would you recommend for the business idea? How many would you recommend as starting point for a small business with an expansive focus?

Is there some multiple materials printer that includes glass, plastic, resin, wood, etc.?



4 years ago

As a one-man-band, you cannot hope to compete on a level playing field with established services such as Ponoko.

You need to come up with a unique reason for people to come to you with their business, and pay more than they probably would with the big boys.

I have a laser cutting business, but I do not [usually] provide a service where somebody sends me a file and I cut it. Instead, I offer a range of "standard" items (not easily available elsewhere), which I can modify purely based on the written instructions of customers who have no need to understand the ins and outs of laser cutting. My USP is a full-on, 1-to-1 customer service experience (so far, my reviews are 100% 5*. It is not proving me with a living wage (largely because I have a "real" job that gets in the way), but it could if I had the time to put into it. At the moment it is really a self-financing hobby.

So, imagine yourself with the single, best 3d printer you can afford....

What kind is it? What does it it print with? What is the printing speed? How large an item can you print? Can you already work the software that creates files and runs the printer? What could you do that Ponoko cannot? As I have done, is there a niche item that you can manufacture and then sell (either individually to people or in bulk to stores), rather than sit and wait for folk to send you files that probably won't work? Is your device portable enough that you could take it to street markets and print out objects on the spot?


Reply 4 years ago

Well currently, I live in Honduras, and currently there doesn't seem to be competition in 3D printing. One advantage is the location, since customs is a nightmare things might stay there around two to three weeks (Govt. always look more creative ways to tax).

The markets, I intent to focus are: events and fashion accesories. Since the fashion seems to be in a up-trend. In events, I plan to sell memorabilia products or weding glass printed products.

Most memorabilia are made in metal, glass and really smaller sample plastic.

In the future, I plan to expand by selling current entertainment trends.

The major differentiation is the customization of the requested items. Hence the requirement for artist with 3D-modelling abilities.

By an alliance with designers and event planners we can smoothly sell the memorabilia. For the fashion items, I'd have to search for several popular designers and give them the idea of creating fashion accesories to the already produced clothes.

I'm still thinking what my exit strategy will be.


4 years ago

Do you actually have a business plan and know what you are talking about?
Printing in glass, resin and wood does not show the level of knowledge you would need to buy a 3D printer for home use.
As you need quality and speed I think your only options are DLP printers or these fance printers that use fine powder as they can print complex structures without support. (and even things like bearings).