$1,000/Month Passive Income
3D Printing [Beginner Guide]

3D printing is still a new concept to many, but for those who know exactly what it is all about know that they can earn thousands of dollars of passive income every month from it. After you design, download, scan or outsource your work, you can proceed with printing and make some passive income in the long run. 

How to make passive income through 3D printing? There are many ways of making passive income through 3D printing. You can make extra income by designing and selling 3D printed objects (jewellery & fashion accessories, motion picture props, and electronic or electric device casings), opening a printing service, providing 3D printing training or leasing your printer.

This guide is specifically curated for beginners and amateurs looking to understand how to make passive income through 3D printing. There are many ways of making money passively through 3D printing, but we have listed five main ways that beginners can engage in and make money easily. We will also uncover some of the best 3D printing services available today and how you can leverage them to boost your passive income without having to buy a printer. So let’s dive right in!

Where Can I Get 3D Designs?

Before we dive into ways of making passive income with 3D printing, let’s have a quick look at where you can get your designs from.

Printing Existing Designs

You don’t need to be a 3D modeler to be able to print things with a 3D printer. There are thousands of designs and patterns that already exist! You can download the from sites like Thingiverse and send them to your 3D printer.

"Xiaomi Mijia M365 Search" on Thingiverse
I have an awesome Xiaomi Mijia M365 electric scooter. I love it! It’s so much fun riding it to work in the morning. But after binge watching hundreds of YouTube videos before making my purchase, I found that there were a couple accessories that are truly essential to avoid natural wear. For example, it’s a well-known fact that the handlebar mechanism slowly deteriorates over time creating more wiggle room between the bar and the clasp mechanism. In order to be ready for this, I purchased a custom designed piece. It fixes the slack, putting more pressure in the shaft fold for a better fit.
There are a couple sellers offering these pieces on eBay, but I noticed that most of them are located in Europe. However, very few eBay sellers are offering these 3D printed pieces in North America where I am located. I actually bought the accessories while I was on a trip in France to avoid extra shipping and import fees from Europe. I believe that there is a huge business opportunity for these 3D printed parts in North America. The seller I purchased my accessories from has actually sold over 970 parts at about $4 a piece. Without considering expenses, that comes to well over $4,000, just for clicking “print.”

Designing Your Own Prints

Actually designing your own models requires advanced 3D modeling skills. However, as a beginner you probably don’t have any 3D Graphic design skills. That’s not a problem to be able to get started printing 3D items. You can scan items around your home, adjust right in the app, and print them out with the 3D Catch App. You can also use low-cost services like Fiverr where 3D model designers can create the print you need for you. Check it out, you can get it done for only $5 depending on who you choose to do it.

1. Selling 3D Printed Objects

There is a huge business opportunity selling small, light, 3D printed objects online. You can sell them on your own website, or on eBay for example. There are several online platforms that provide you with the opportunity to design and print objects, develop a niche in 3D printing and generate passive income selling your items. If you don’t want to buy a printer, they can be an excellent option to start with. Let’s have a look at both options, from buying your own printer, to using a 3D printing service.

Printing From Your Own Printer

If you have the money and interest they could be a great idea to invest in your own 3D printer. If you have your own 3D printers can print out whatever you want within the comfort of your own home. However, 3D printers can be a costly investment. A basic 3D printer costs around $350, and top of the line 3D printers are around $2,000 to $3,000.

The cheaper printers are usually smaller and therefore limit the size of items you can actually print. Cheaper printers also provide less quality, whereas printers in the thousand Dollar range render higher quality items. If you are planning on going pro, it would be better to invest in a higher quality printer.

You can sell your prints in various places online. The lighter and smaller the item the better because it will be easy to ship. Learn how to sell your items on eBay in our passive income guide for beginners here.

Shapeways

Shapeways is one of the most popular online 3D printing service in the world. The service offers a diverse range of 22 materials (one of the largest services available) ranging from ceramics, plastics, gold, platinum etc. The tool is extremely easy to use, making it the ideal tool for beginners. Uploading & viewing your design, choosing and printing it is easy and fast. The service boasts printing millions of objects and efficient customer service when you encounter technical issues.

i.Materialise

This is a Belgian 3D printing service that offers over 17 materials including ceramics and precious metals. With over 20 years’ experience, i.Materialise offers high-quality 3D printing services with over 70 material combinations. It is easy to use in terms of designing, uploading, adjusting, and purchasing your models. Although it comes with higher shipping costs and extended shipping time, the service is a high-quality option ideal for all skill levels.

Sculpteo

This is a France based 3D printing service with a wide variety of materials and designs. Sculpteo is easy to use, is fast, affordable and high quality. It also offers a wide range of printing and incorporating design apps, making it ideal for different skill levels.

Cubify

This is the consumer division of 3D systems. Cubify sells home 3D printers and offers print-on-demand service with a few select materials. To access the service, you only need to register on the site by navigating to the MyCubify section. The site is appealing, easy to use and high-quality making it ideal for beginners and other skill levels in 3D printing.

Ponoko

This is a New Zealand based printing service, and one of the initial services offering on-demand manufacturing and distributed manufacturing as a business model. Ponoko offers 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC cutting by accessing fabrication machines across the globe. This makes it highly efficient and versatile, which might pose a challenge for many beginners. However, once you are accustomed to how it works, Ponoko is easy to use and highly practical.

2. Leasing Your 3D Printer

3D printing is a new technology that is still developing. That alone clearly indicates there’s a high possibility that only a few people currently own 3D printing machines. Moreover, not all people can afford to buy and own a 3D printer considering that a good one costs more than $1,000. And, although there are excellent 3D printers under $1,000 still few people can afford them.

Therefore, you can easily monetize your 3D printer by allowing others to use it for a duration and pay you accordingly. Considering 3D printers are not common, you can make passive income easily and consistently.

3. Offering 3D Printing Training

3D technology is still developing and only a few people possess the skills to create, design, and print 3D objects. Moreover, many people continue showing interest in designing and printing such objects. If you know more than someone else, you can easily teach how to use 3D printers and monetize your new skills.

As a beginner, you may feel as if you don’t know much about training others. But, even training people on 3D printing basics can earn you money passively. You can also sell them your 3D materials and other relevant information for their learning experience. Better yet, you can extend your services online, capture more interested clients, and make more income passively.

4. Open a Printing Service

You can make passive income through 3D printing by running a printing agency both online and offline. There are platforms that allows you to 3D print for other people. Your clients can send you their prototype design for printing at a fee. Although you are still a beginner, there are a few designs you can learn that most people don’t know. By creating a niche, you can successfully run a 3D printing service and earn passive income.

5. Selling 3D Print Models [Advanced]

If you get far enough into 3D printing you may be interested in learning how to create models and sell the prints as digital products. There are tutorials online teaching how to create 3D models if you are interested. In order to seamlessly sell your digital products, we highly recommend Ecwid eCommerce. This platform facilitates the sales of digital goods! And Ecwid integrates Amazon, eBay, Instagram and Facebook so you can sell in multiple places across the web. We have an awesome passive income resource on eCommerce for beginners, check it out.

What Should I 3D Print?

So now you know how to and where you can 3D print your designs and digital models. But if you want to make money by printing objects you should focus on niche items. Why should you pick a niche? Filling demand may be easy but creating it is a difficult task. Before making products, identify a market with high demand and low supply then create the product they are looking for. As a beginner, you can use the Google Trends to explore similar keywords with similar search traffic.

Let’s take my scooter example from earlier. When I enter the name of my scooter into Google Trends I can see a strong upward search trend. That means that there are thousands of people doing research on this product online. And if you’re looking for the Xiaomi Mijia M365, you will see the accessories available for it. I watched a ton of YouTube videos talking about the scooter before I purchased it. I knew that I would need 3D printed objects to ensure its longevity.

Knowing that there are people searching for a specific product will help you choose a profitable niche. Also make sure it’s something that you’re interested in. If you know that there are things that people need within that niche, that can easily be 3D printed, then you may be onto something. It becomes easier for you to fill demand if you are part of the niche and know the need well. And if you are the only 3D printing service provider, chances are people who will search, find and buy from you!

How Passive is 3D Printing?

3D printing is generally a passive way of making money but the degree of passiveness it offers varies depending on the type of service. Designing and printing 3D objects, for example, requires more of your attention compared to leasing your 3D printer. If you choose to run a printing service or train newbies, you will require more hours to run the idea until it can run on its own.

In the beginning, you might have to spend over 10 hours a day creating, designing, printing and selling your 3D objects. This should not discourage you. It will take a couple of years to become fully passive but if you stick to it, you will be able to make lots of money passively. Make sure to always build your business to be passive, or it will remain active.

Scalability

Regardless of the service you choose to offer, 3D printing is a highly scalable passive income source. There are many 3D printing services you can offer, which requires you to have a helping hand for efficiency. You can do most of the work alone, but eventually, you will need the help of an assistant to come up with faster results. If the demand is high, you can always outsource the work to a 3D printing drop-shipping service.

Start-Up Costs

This is the main stumbling block to offering 3D printing services. This idea comes with a high starting capital considering that printers are expensive. A good 3D printer costs hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the quality of the printer. You also need a good quality computer/laptop, internet connectivity and other equipment used in 3D printing.

Consider that a basic 3D printer costs around $350, and top of the line 3D printers are around $2,000 to $3,000. The cheaper printers are usually smaller and therefore limit the size of the item you can actually print. Cheaper printers also render less quality, whereas printers in the thousand dollar range provide higher quality items. If you are planning on going pro, it would be better to invest in a higher quality printer. If you don’t I want to invest in a printer, you can always use a 3D printing service.

Difficulty

Although it may seem difficult at the beginning, 3D printing quickly becomes easy as you get used to it. Many people find it difficult because it is still a new concept. However, there are many online platforms, tools and service providers that can help you master the skills quickly and easily. Check out the video above to learn more about how easy it is for beginners.

Time

When it comes to 3D printing, you will need to invest a lot of time to get things off the ground. Like many new technology concepts’ patience is a virtue that determines the success of your 3D printing service. Generally, you need to spend 8-10 hours every day to understand the details of this work, finding your niche and the right suppliers. After a few years, you can transform this active business into passive income.

Risk

Considering the initial investment, 3D printing is a higher risk idea. If you don’t end up making anything, you can risk losing a lot! Moreover, the equipment you have to use (3D printer, laptop etc.) is expensive and should be handled carefully to prevent loss through breakage. The best way to avert most of these losses and risks is by contracting an insurance policy for your equipment. This allows you to have peace of mind in case your equipment is damaged.

Seasonality

You can make money with 3D printing all year round. The concept of printing objects in 3D using different materials like gold, platinum, ceramics etc. is fascinating and attracting many people, which guarantees you year-round passive income (unless what you are printing is a seasonal item).

Return on Investment

3D printing comes with excellent ROI. Although it might take you time to start earning passively, the amount of income you can make is incredible. Considering it is still a new concept, starting up may be a bit expensive, but there is more and more demand for quick printed parts offering you high returns on invested capital within the first few years.

Related Questions

Which is the best 3D printer for beginners? There are many types of 3D printers available on the market. Every product comes with specific features that makes it ideal for certain purposes. As a beginner, it is prudent to start with a cheap printer that is easy to use and allows you to perform your tasks efficiently. High-end options come with advanced features that might be challenging for most beginners.

How can I learn 3D printing fast? 3D printing is as complicated as it is easy. Initially, you might find 3D printing difficult but as you learn more, it becomes easier. Moreover, you can use the many video and written tutorials online to better your skills and understand 3D printing comprehensively.

How much passive income can I make from 3D Printing? There is a variety of ways you can make passive income from 3D printing. From printing and selling objects to selling prints, leasing your printer or printing for others. 3D Printing Professor talks about how he makes $1,000 per month passive income 3D printing (source).

Disclaimer: The information contained on this Website and the resources available for download through this website are for educational and informational purposes only and are not intended as, and shall not be understood or construed as, professional advice. Results mentioned are not guaranteed. Starting a business or an online business always involves risk and demands a lot of time. The success of your (internet) business depends on your hard work and skill. We do not guarantee any business or income. It is also imperative that you consult a tax and/or legal professional in your area to ensure you comply with local, or nation-wide rules and regulations that pertain to your area before you join a peer-to-peer platform or start a business with the purpose of making money. Consult our Disclaimers page for more information.

Beginners Passive Income

Passive income for beginners. Ideas, guides, motivation, inspiration and everything in between.

Affiliate Disclaimer

Beginnerspassiveincome.com is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to their sites and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. There are no extra costs to you if you sign up to any service through an affiliate link. Please refer to our Disclaimers page for more information.

Content Disclaimer

This blog does not provide legal, financial or tax advice and does not create an attorney-client or client relationship. We are not trained or certified financial advisors, and we are not your financial advisor. For legal, financial or tax advice, please contact a qualified professional in your area.We do not guarantee any business or income. Consult our Disclaimers page for more information.

Try Tidio Chatbots
5 Step Passive Income Blueprint
Our passive income blueprint provides five steps to financial freedom. From learning what passive income is, setting up your passive income goals, choosing your passive income idea, having what it takes to achieve your financial dreams, and then give back.
Outsource The Work
Plan Your Passive Income Success
passive income journal tracking

Plan your success to financial freedom over 24 months. Commit. Organize. Track. Grow. Build and execute your plan to replace your current active income with passive income.

Related Articles

Passive Income

What Does Passive Income Mean?

Passive income is income that is earned without trading time for money on an hourly or per-project basis. Not trading time for money means income is not bound to a fixed rate or a 24h/day limit, thus lifting many limitations of active income. Passive income can, however, require a very large financial and/or time investment to set up. Learn more here.

Read More »
eBooks

How To Make An eBook [Video Guide]

You can easily make an eBook for free. You only need a Google account, a computer, and a stable internet connection and eBook content. Using Google Docs, you can create and format an eBook fairly quickly and easily. Learn more here.

Read More »
Audibooks

Audiobook Narration For Beginners

There are many ways you can improve your narration skills. Some factors that affect narration include your posture, vocal cord exercises, intonation, your interest in the content and what you consume before narrating. With the right posture, healthy diet, and preparation, it is possible to produce high-quality audiobook content. Learn more here.

Read More »
Side Hustles

17 Online Passive Income Side Hustles

There are tons of side hustle ideas you can undertake outside of your normal schedule or day job to earn passive income. Making passive income from a side hustle is not something new. Passive income ideas such as eBooks, eCommerce, podcasts, dropshipping, and stock photography can make for excellent side hustles. Most of these ideas are easy to start even for beginners. Learn more here.

Read More »
Jobs

9 Passive Income Ideas for Illustrators

As an illustrator, you can earn a passive income by sharing a passion via a passive income idea. Some ideas include print-on-demand, blogging, affiliate marketing, chatbots, podcasting or selling eBooks. Your choice depends on your interests and what you would like to share. You can combine ideas to create multiple streams of passive income. Learn more.

Read More »
Jobs

8 Passive Income Ideas for Real Estate Agents

There are numerous passive income-earning opportunities for real estate agents. Some streams include blogging, podcasting, creating niche sites, chatbots, selling eBooks, affiliate marketing, YouTubing and many more. With hard work, dedication, and skill, you can turn your passion into a passive income stream. Learn more here.

Read More »
Chatbots

How to Make Money Selling Chatbots

You can make an excellent income by creating and selling chatbots. One way of monetizing your blog is by selling it to a company/business or offering it to them for free, and earning a commission on sales from it. Many businesses are willing to buy chatbots to automate parts of their sales, support, and marketing processes. Learn more here.

Read More »
Chatbots

9 Ways to Make Money From a Chatbot​

You can make money from chatbots in a variety of ways. You can monetize your chatbot with affiliate marketing, eCommerce, advertising, lead generation, surveys, landing page, and sales funnel processes. You could also sell your chatbot to businesses to reduce customer support overhead. Learn more here!

Read More »
eBooks

How to Sell eBooks on Your Own Website

It is possible for you to create and sell eBooks on your website. eCommerce tools such as Ecwid make it super easy to sell products online. For instance, if you run a niche site on educational content you can create and sell eBooks about your niche topics and earn income through your online store. Learn more here.

Read More »
Jobs

6 Passive Income Streams for Lawyers

There are numerous passive income-earning opportunities for lawyers. So long as you are passionate or knowledgeable in something, you can turn it into a passive income source. Some easy streams you can earn passive income from include blogging, podcasting, creating niche sites, selling eBooks, affiliate marketing and many more. Learn more here.

Read More »
Ideas

10 Ways to Create Multiple Streams of Passive Income

Yes, you can create multiple streams of passive income by combining different passive income ideas. Online, you could combine affiliate marketing, blogging, YouTube, and Ad placement, and monetized chatbots. If you were running passive income businesses (brick and mortar) you could combine a laundromat with an ATM, self-service vending machines and more. Learn more here!

Read More »
Jobs

8 Passive Income Ideas for Massage Therapists

There are numerous passive income-earning opportunities for massage therapists. Some streams include blogging, podcasting, creating niche sites, Chatbots, selling eBooks, affiliate marketing and many more. If you are passionate about massage therapy, you can build a passive income stream to turn it into a passive income source. Learn more here.

Read More »
Passive Income

What are Passive Income Streams?

Passive income streams are sources of income that enable a person to make a regular, sustainable income without having to trade time for money. Although the income you earn is passive, it takes time, money, effort and skill to initially build, and then run a passive income stream to keep it profitable. Learn more here.

Read More »
Ideas

6 Awesome 3D Printing Money Making Ideas

You can make money 3D Printing, even if you are a beginner. Some ways you can make money 3D printing include selling 3D printed objects, leasing your 3D printer, offering 3D printing training, or creating 3D printed models. You do not have to have advanced development or design skills to get started. Learn more here.

Read More »
Jobs

9 Passive Income Ideas for Students

You can earn passive income as a student by dedicating time to building a passive income stream. Some great ideas for students include blogging, building niche sites, selling digital products, charging scooters, selling eBooks, affiliate marketing and more. Learn more here.

Read More »
Jobs

8 Passive Income Ideas for Artists

Artists can make income passively, but not just from their artwork. The growth of technology and especially the internet has brought about many opportunities that artists can use to grow their income streams like blogging, affiliate marketing, print-on-demand services, eCommerce, 3D Printing and more. Learn more here.

Read More »
Jobs

8 Passive Income Streams for Teachers

There are numerous passive income-earning opportunities for teachers. So long as you are passionate or knowledgeable in something, you can turn it into a passive income source. Some passive income streams teachers can build can include blogging, podcasting, creating niche sites, chatbots, selling eBooks, affiliate marketing and many more. Learn more here.

Read More »