Invented in the mid-eighties, 3D printing was restricted to the B-2-B market. Now, as prices for 3D printers have come down, the technology is making its way into the consumer arena.
Rapid product development at low cost has made this technology popular in various industry verticals. The automotive, aerospace and medical industries are three of the most affected industry verticals.
Hence, a lot of companies, as well as individuals, are coming forward to 3D print on demand. Selling 3D printed items on e-commerce platforms is rising too.
These days, everyone is doing business online. Whether it be the 15-year-old entrepreneur at your YMCA, or a grandmother selling hand-made trinkets on an e-commerce website.
Times have changed. The concept of using the Internet for communication, information and especially commerce is common now. 3D printers have given people abilities and purpose.
Using this technology, people can create things from imagination and manufacture 3D printed items from their home. This opens up a whole new spectrum of doing business from one’s own home.
Not everyone who does business based on his/her home has a website. Building one’s website takes time and resources to create and maintain one. Instead, there is a huge crowd that likes to focus on just selling their product.
That’s where websites like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay come in. These web-platforms are very popular because of their ability to reach millions of people.
One doesn’t have to go through the struggle of marketing, instead, they can earn pretty well by listing their products on these popular sites. Selling 3D printed items is no more a challenge as it was before.
What is a 3D Printer?
A 3D printer uses an additive manufacturing approach to create a 3D model. This model is created using computer-aided design or modeling software.
The 3D printed item is created by using layers of various raw materials. The list of these materials includes plastic, metal, liquid, powder, wood pulp and many others.
A series of cross-sections are formed by using these materials which fuse together in the manufacturing process.
History Of 3D Printed Items with eBay, Etsy, And Amazon
As the price of 3D printers continues to fall, new opportunities continue to emerge. For assisting e-commerce vendors in selling 3D printed items, several dedicated online stores have been set up.
In 2012, eBay rolled out an iPhone application called eBay Exact. This app allows customers to buy customized 3D printed items from 3D printing companies.
At the same time, Etsy had 13 pages completely dedicated to selling 3D printed items. In early 2012, Amazon established a 3D product store by partnering with 3DLT.
This partnership then offered 73 3D printed items on Amazon. The list of 3D printed items mostly included jewelry and accessories for electronic goods.
It is because of the initiatives taken up by these three e-commerce giants, one can say that bigger e-commerce players were looking beyond just selling physical products.
The world started taking the 3D printing concept into the service arena. A successful approach to selling 3D printed items has radically changed e-commerce.
Now, there are merchants selling designs to consumers. This enables a customer to manufacture his/her own customized products.
What’s more? 3D printers used to cost several thousand dollars, now there are models which are sold under $600. This is another reason why people started preferring to sell 3D printed items online.
With the printers being sold cheaper, it enabled them to set up a complete business, where people could manufacture from home. Since then, the business of selling 3D printed items has been growing.
Selling 3D Printed Items on Amazon
Currently, Amazon has its own dedicated 3D Printing store. Not only can you buy a 3D printer from here, but also you can customize it.
3D printed items like 3D printed mini-me, toys and much more can be bought from this store. In this Amazon’s Creative Expressions store, there are more than 25 things you can personally customize.
Customizable things range from rings and necklaces to mini swords, cufflinks, and wallets.
Each of the items that are available has its own personalization window that lets you customize it. You can change the shape, color, patterns, text and/or material.
A tool related to customization also allows you to have a complete 360 view of the 3D printed item that’s being made.
The Amazon 3D printing marketplace works best for unique standalone objects. The best part about selling things on Amazon is that: if your item sells well, they market it on Amazon.
Not only does your product shows up in, but “Users also viewed,” but also on “Users also purchased” lists. And it also creates a nice cycle of sales.
How do I Sell My 3D Printed Product on Amazon?
One of the coolest customizable products is the ‘Create Your Own’ 3D Printed Bobble Head. Here the customization tool lets you customize the skin color, eye shape, hair color, and clothing.
Viewing the customized creation in 3D is simple and sharing with the world is simpler. This 3D printed item is probably the best one listed on Amazon.
There are a few designers which are popular on Amazon. Names include Makerbot 3D Printed Products, Joshua Harker, Noah Hornberger, and Emmett Lalish. All of these designers have their own set of unique 3D printed items for sale.
Sandbox and ZVerse have painstakingly put up their detailed 3D printed figurines and models. Even if you can create a product with 3D printing, such as a toy or a work of art, you can consider listing it for sale on Amazon’s list of 3D printed items.
Selling 3D Printed Items on Etsy
Regardless of which e-commerce website you choose to list and sell your 3D printed items, the demographics and interests of users vary.
Etsy is a great place to sell 3D printed items such as art and accessories. But it’s not a good platform for 3D printed RC drone parts.
Before the selling of 3D printed items on e-commerce websites came into place, Etsy was known as one of the best places to sell handcrafted items. The website has maintained its impression completely in 3D printed items too.
The artisanship of modeling a 3D dimensional item is an articulate and free form craft similar to sculpting or painting.
The transformation of a 3D model into reality has some sort of a magical quality because it comes straight from the imagination. On a fundamental level, artistic and high utility 3D printed items seem to sell well on Etsy.
It’s not uncommon to find 3D printed clothing and accessories along with jewelry while browsing Etsy. It is Categories like this, which have a large market on Etsy.
Other categories that also have a huge market include Furniture and art. Such items are fun especially if the idea of printing on them is unique.
There are an incredible number of things you could 3D print and sell on Etsy. It would not be difficult to carve out a 3D printed brand within Etsy. Having said that the technology is still in its primal stages and Etsy is still growing as a marketplace.
How do I Sell My 3D Printed Product on Etsy?
Some of the more popular 3D printed items seen on Etsy are lamps, iPhone cases, rings, dolls, and skulls.
A 3D-printed Trex shower head by GreekFabLab has gained immense popularity. The designer has shown creativity in putting Trex’s mouth in the form of the showerhead.
And giving the water opening from it. The overall design makes it look like fire coming out from the mouth of a dinosaur.
Cube Theory Gold plated brass 3D Printed Jewellery by Lana Batty and Young Maleficent 3D Printed Dark brown Horns by MudpiesandMajesty are also equally popular.
Selling 3D Printed Items on eBay
eBay differs from Amazon and Etsy in terms of its auction priced nature. This nature of eBay, makes it sell specialized 3D printed items very well. Common 3D printed items like jewelry or accessories fare better on eBay.
This is a great platform to sell 3D printed parts for machinery and equipment that are hard to find. In such a market, generally, the design is made by the consumer himself.
You need to personally model the part. And this means you are the only seller of this specific part shape in the world.
3D printing is a world of completely customized parts. So here the advantage is when it comes to price, you are the sole decision-maker.
The satisfaction of having an original idea and bringing it to life is what makes it so compatible with 3D printing. There are also parts for specific models of existing items that you could 3D print and potentially improve.
For example, instead of going to your hobby shop and paying an arm and a leg to fix a chassis, you could simply find a 3D printed chassis to replace the one in your RC car, boat or plane.
eBay is a great place to test one’s outlandish 3D printed creations. And what makes it even more exciting is the auction format.
Anything can be listed on eBay as long as it follows the basic guidelines. Another great thing is you can sell your items at either a “Buy It Now price” or as an “Auction.”
How do I Sell My 3D Printed Product on eBay?
There are 3D printed mounts and electronic accessories that do well such as ones for the GoPro or the iPhone. Gun parts, from paintball to Nerf, also have a decent marketplace on eBay. 3D printed cosplay clothing and even custom cookie cutters have their own unique markets.
The 3D Printed – Steam Punk Nerf Barrel Extension for Nerf Silencer – Gun Blaster is one of the most popular items amongst the kids because of its unique design and customization.
3D Printed GoPro Hero 2 Action Camera Frame allows you to choose your own color which is an option that isn’t available elsewhere.
The 3D Printed Protective Shell Case for NAZE32 Flight Controller version 5 is eccentric in its own terms. There isn’t any other available in the market.
Can you Make Money Selling 3D Prints Online?
3D printing offers e-commerce vendors an alternative in buying goods from manufacturers directly. For a fee or share of sales, designers are can create templates for their 3D printed items. Products like 3D-printed jewelry have become a fashion trend.
The peculiarity of 3D printed goods is that it can supplement regular inventory. Vendors can differentiate themselves by offering unique products, usually at a lower cost.
At some point, vendors can even sell designs to customers who are interested in DIY manufacturing. 3D printing is still a growing area and unless 3D printers become more common objects in homes, selling actual products is likely a safer bet than designs.
The point to note is that 3D printers only print one at a time. The markets that have the best potential to be disrupted by 3D printing are the ones that are small-run, high quality, customized markets.
Limited and high-quality personalized items tend to have larger profit margins otherwise also. But by utilizing the advantages of 3D printing, its makers can create less work for themselves.
Instead of envisioning to create an economy of scale with 3D printing, they can seek to fill the holes of niches that an economy of scale creates.
3D printing is a reflection of how a normal human being can utilize the skills, knowledge, and advanced equipment for benefitting himself from his/her home.
Offering a customized 3D printing service on Amazon, Etsy or eBay is the ideal way to get started with a profitable 3D printed products business.
Moreover, you can sell 3D prints pertaining to a huge number of niches. There are many things to 3D print and sell. You can choose the one that sounds easy for printing and in demand among your target audience.
Moreover, the cost savings of printing on a large scale will increase your overall earnings and reduce the frustration and pressure of fulfilling orders alone.
Whilst, on the other hand, earning huge profits by selling customized products and designs will make your hesitation of the manufacturing process, smoother.
You can raise your efficiency once you start doing it and also become popular among your target customers sooner than ever by selling 3D printed items online.