3D printing technology is one of the most accessible methods for rapid prototyping, and due to its popularity, many people have even considered getting into a 3D printing career. There are many ways to make money with 3D printing and modeling, but still, will it even be worth the effort, and how can you see profits as a professional 3D printer?
3D Printing is a good career to get into. The 3D printing market is projected to grow tremendously and reach $51.95 billion by 2028. There are multiple career opportunities for 3D printing in modeling, design, architecture, medical application, etc.
In this article, I will discuss essential questions related to this topic, including whether 3D printing is a lucrative or good career to get into. Additionally, I will explore some attractive work opportunities in 3D printing.
How Much Money Can You Make With 3D printing?
3D Printing is a very lucrative field. In 2021, the global 3D printing market was worth $13.84 billion. Experts expect this figure to reach $51.95 billion by 2028.
So, 3D Printing is one of the most popular technologies in the world at the moment, with massive demand.
However, how much money could you make as an amateur or enthusiast if you were to start 3D printing as a pro? Let’s talk about it.
You can make a lot of money with 3D printing. You may be able to sell printed models, STL or OBJ files, or classes on 3D printing for a small-scale career. However, it’s easy to land a full-time job for tech enthusiasts interested in 3D printer development, software, or medical applications.
3D printing is one of the most exciting technologies today. Its popularity is primarily due to its ability to create items quickly and cheaper than traditional manufacturing.
According to Yahoo Finance, 3D printing creates almost everything, from complex surgical items to plane parts. Consequently, 3D printing’s applications are only expected to expand further.
The sale of 3D printers will likely also grow tremendously. Yahoo Finance projects that up to 10 million printers will sell by 2030. Suffice it to say 3D Printing is arguably the future of manufacturing.
Different Career Opportunities in 3D printing
There are multiple opportunities for starting new 3D businesses for those not seeking large-scale employment. These include the following:
3D Print On Demand Careers
With the cost of 3D printers declining, entrepreneurs can quickly start print-on-demand services and offer their services to individuals and companies who need them. There are currently multiple platforms where you can register your print-on-demand service.
Some common platforms where you can sell 3D printed objects, on-demand printing, and 3D files include Fiver, Etsy, Thingiverse, Shapeways, Treatstock, 3DHubs, MakeXYZ, and others. These platforms have made it easier for service providers to link with those looking for 3D services.
3D Print Retailing Businesses
In addition, selling your 3D prints can be very profitable, especially if you design your models.
Functional objects that can replace more expensive parts – like tools, replicas of artifacts, or replacement parts for machines – are in high demand for consumers looking for the cheapest way to learn new skills or repair things that no longer have replacement parts.
3D prints have a vast market, but most people sell them via Etsy, personal websites, or local markets.
However, it is vital to appreciate that while 3D printing can be lucrative, it largely depends on your target niche. 3D printing aimed at creating products for the general consumer may yield low profits.
That is because most consumers desire cheap products. There is, therefore, a risk that your returns may not cover the costs. However, 3D prints for clients looking to solve costly problems yield much higher returns.
Careers As a 3D File Designer
You may also be able to sell your STL, OBJ, or other 3D printing files to other 3D printing enthusiasts. These files don’t usually sell for much money, but they only require some skill in CAD and a computer to make so that you can start your business with little to no investment.
Careers in CAD Modeling and Design for Businesses
Business News Daily and the experts at MUO explain that the growth of 3D printing will result in greater demand for companies offering 3D printing services, new product design, and even computer-aided design.
Thus, many companies and businesses are looking to hire in-house 3D printing experts to help with modeling, rendering, and printer maintenance.
Design is at the core of 3D printing. Accordingly, designers play a critical role in creating product ideas that they can bring to life via additive manufacturing.
Freelancers and professionals with a good grasp of 3D design can therefore pursue lucrative careers in designing models for use in 3D printing.
The demand for CAD modelers is exceptionally high when creating custom products. Custom prototypes require specialized skills to conceptualize a given object and develop its digital blueprint.
Due to the required specialized skills, 3D CAD modelers can fetch a competitive income as the technology grows in its use and acceptance.
3D Printing in the Medical Field
3D printing has gained notoriety in manufacturing consumer products and functional parts. However, this technology also presents massive opportunities in the medical and scientific spheres.
For instance, 3D Printing is projected to be central in organ bioprinting. This technology will potentially allow experts to print artificial organs to save lives. A great deal of research and development is needed to actualize this vision.
Additionally, 3D printing application in the medical field has resulted in great demand for designers, modelers, and engineers with biomedical backgrounds.
Likewise, dentists and orthodontists have been using 3D modeling and printing for many years to create educational models, print patient-specific corrective tools, like retainers, and create plans for the proper treatment of a dental patient.
Military and Aerospace Applications for 3D Printing
Akin to medical applications, 3D Printing is expected to create numerous career opportunities in the military and scientific spaces.
According to Objectify, 3D printing can be used to modify military equipment through a process known as topology optimization. This process reduces material wastage and optimizes specific parts of an object for movement or flexibility.
In addition, 3D Printing is increasingly attractive for mission-critical and high-precision applications in aerospace and military fields. For example, the aerospace industry increasingly uses 3D printing technology to construct airplane parts.
Because most of these applications are still mainly in the initial phases, there will inevitably be a growing demand for 3D specialists in the continued application of this technology.
3D Printing Careers in Architecture and Construction
3D Printing is quickly redefining and disrupting the construction and architecture industries. As a technology that employs rapid prototyping and the creation of high-precision blueprints, 3D Printing will likely soon replace current 2D plans.
Additionally, 3D printing technology will result in the creation of more accurate, true-to-life models of structures.
Thus, architecture firms will likely hire in-house 3D printing experts to assist architects and other parties in the design of models, 3D printer maintenance, and design optimization shortly.
3D Printing Careers in the Classroom and Education Fields
3D technology is one of the technologies that can potentially improve learning. Accordingly, some schools have already introduced 3D programs from the lower levels of education.
Many high-level schools, such as colleges and universities, have already implemented 3D printing into their curricula for architecture, art, and STEM students.
These schools usually hire a 3D printing expert to assist students, repair 3D printers, monitor printer usage, and maintain a supply of printing materials.
These educational roles present attractive career opportunities for 3D experts. Thus, enthusiasts with a good grasp of 3D modeling and 3D printing will be in very high demand as more and more institutions introduce dedicated 3D printing programs.
3D Printing is an excellent career to get into, especially considering the current trajectory of this technology. 3D technology is increasingly being adopted in multiple sectors and industries, from biomedical research to military applications and construction.
Therefore, persons with specialized 3D printing skills such as design, modeling, and a firm grasp of 3D printing techniques will be invaluable in the near future.
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I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.