3D printing has been around for a while now and low cost desktop 3D printers have become more prolific than ever before. Design software to make 3D models are now open sourced and the tools to build your local in-house industry has become more affordable than ever. What can you do with a 3D printer you ask ? well there are a whole host of options for you to choose from. I am going to cover six different areas that come under the umbrella of 3D printing.
Start A 3D Printing Farm
A 3D print farm is manufacturing unit with multiple 3D printers that have only one purpose, print parts for customers. These print farms collect orders from clients who do not own machines and 3D print parts for them at a cost. The year 2020 is a good time to dive into starting your print farm as awareness of 3D printing has reached the masses. A larger audience is looking to outsource and the rise in electronic projects using the arduino and raspberry pi are increasing exponentially as well. This means more custom robotic components, custom enclosures and other parts that can be made only by 3D printing.
Now lets look at the profitability of a 3D print farm, the major expenses you will have are filament cost and electricity. The cost of filament can vary based on your vendor but we can safely say that it will be between 1000 to 1500 INR or 12 – 15 $ per Kilogram of filament. That translates to roughly 1 to 1.5 INR per gram of filament. The cost of electricity is almost negligible, a typical 3D printer uses about 50 watts of power per hour and can go up to 200 watts at max this translates to 0.2 kilowatt-hour of power consumption meaning that it takes about 0.2 units of power per hour. For one day of continuous production you will be looking at 4.8 units of electricity consumed. In Indian cities power rates vary between 4-7 INR per unit, hence to run a 3D printer for one day you will have to pay about 34 INR per day which a drop in the bucket.
Now lets take a look at how much money you can make. The 3D printing process involves slicing the file this is a great first step to take, when a model is sliced on the slicing software you will be presented with information about material usage in grams and the time it takes to print. This information can help you decide your pricing, some companies base their pricing on the material usage and some companies base prices on taken for the part to be printed. Both pricing strategies can be fine tuned to be competitive, make sure to check how local companies around you are pricing their services. Profits from 3D printing services can be quite lucrative, I have worked with several 3D printing companies and I can say that on an average these companies charge 5 to 6 times the filament consumption cost. This means almost 400 % profit on each print. If you can achieve high quality output and maintain a good clientele who come back to you regularly , you will see your profits soar.
In my upcoming articles I will mention how you can manage an entire print farm from the internet and have you production move 24/7 without your constant attention.
Reselling 3D Printers And 3D Printing Equipment
With regards to numbers, each student can be charged roughly 1000 to 1500 INR for one session, try to bring in a crowd of 30-50 participants per week. This should roughly translate to 1.2 to 2 Lakh INR per month. You will also need to account for other costs such as renting a space and marketing costs. Conducting workshops initially might not be very profitable as you may not attract a large number of participants. A good option is to diversify your business by running a print farm or other related products along side your workshop. An advantage of doing this would be that your workshop participants can be easily converted to customers for your other business as well.
The journey towards becoming a high value 3D artist is a tough one, to make your name among the elite designers you have to start by giving out a few designs initially for free and build your name and reputation along the way as well, remember that presentation of your model is important too. Now coming to numbers, these models can vary a lot based on the quality and requirement of the model. Prices vary anywhere between 4 $ per model to 200 $ per model and yes you will be earning in dollars as your 3D models will be sold globally which is an added advantage !.
Start A Youtube Channel
Online creative platforms such as youtube, facebook and pinterest are great platforms to make videos and share your creative content, this can help in two ways first you will generate large following of potential clients, second you can generate ad revenue from your content on platforms like Youtube. This is probably though one of the hardest ways to create an income, Youtube channels require at least a few thousand subscribers before starting to earn any kind off serious money. If you are planning to start any of your own content based channels then make sure you absolutely enjoy what you are doing cause you will need to stay in the field for years sometimes before you get your break. Top youtubers like the 3d printing nerd have about 390 thousand subscribers and assuming he gets roughly 1 million views a month on all his videos combined he can be making roughly 5000 $ a month at 5 $ per 1000 views. This becomes a form of passive income as you grow your channel and put out high quality videos consistently over a long period of time.
Youtube channels in local languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu etc. can cater to a huge audience, the number of Indians who are coming online everyday for content is steadily increasing making this a good opportunity for the long run.
3D printing is at a growth phase in India and its right for businesses and individuals alike to take this opportunity to start their business. It has been predicted that 3D printing industry is set to grow at 14 % year on year. In 2018 roughly 1.42 million machines were sold and its expected to reach 8 million machines worldwide in 2027 and this is just machines alone. The future for 3D printing looks bright so hop on and join in !!
Hey there, if you enjoyed reading and learnt something new do let me know in the comments !