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Made $500 in a week and a half 3D Printing...

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Spikeroo

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Aug 17, 2011
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Merritt Island, Fl
Hello all, My names Brad. I wanted to share my story with you all. I bought a 3D printer for about $250 about a year ago, just creating ideas I had which I'm currently pursuing for mass production. After my first printer crapped out on me, I looked at it as an investment. I spend $1000 on a new printer that was 10x easier to work with. I decided to flex a little on facebook and posted a picture of it in the box. I never realized I'd be opening a door to a little extra income. I woke up the next morning to 3 different friends who wanted to see if I could 3D print something for them. 1 of them wanted a ship 3d printed from Starwars. He explained to me that he couldn't find it anywhere, other than eBay for $500 which was more than he wanted to spend. Took about 2 days for it to fully print, but I charged $200. Second wanted a part for his car made, a piece for the center console which was fairly simple to 3d model, but took a few tries. I made it for him for $100. The last one was something I really was interested in. It was a modification for a snorkeling mask. It was a pretty small print but took a lot of trial and error. After I got it right, I charged him $200. At this point I'm $500 in which is half of what I paid for my printer. I plan on hustling a little more on Etsy, but I'd prefer to try to bring peoples ideas to life! Never did I think I could make money off of it. Such an awesome side hustle!
 

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quanttastic

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Awesome story!

What lead you to think about 3D Printing? Was it something you were always interested in, or a means to create more products?
 
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Spikeroo

Spikeroo

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Aug 17, 2011
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Merritt Island, Fl
Awesome story!

What lead you to think about 3D Printing? Was it something you were always interested in, or a means to create more products?
I had a few invention ideas. I would draw them out, then try to prototype them with clay or tin foil, which wasnt the best method. I had always been into 3D modeling for games, so when I found out I could 3D print my 3d models very easily, I looked into buying one. I had to wait awhile though. They were very expensive before they were more aimed toward consumers.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Great start to producing value my friend! Thanks for sharing the story.
 

maverick

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Spikeroo

Spikeroo

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Aug 17, 2011
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Merritt Island, Fl
Good work.

I've always wondered whether it would be easy to setup a business in replacement parts. You could start 3d printing stuff like this:
Amazon.com: Kenmore KC03RDKNZV0X Vacuum Power Head Base Plate Genuine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Part: Home Improvement

You buy the original parts, get someone to create an exact model out of it and 3d print parts to sell on amazon.
I wanted to do that but for yachts, or cars. Parts where OEM is stupid expensive. Problem is, idk where I would advertise it. That example would be good, but the profit margin wouldn't be worth the time.
 

maverick

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I wanted to do that but for yachts, or cars. Parts where OEM is stupid expensive. Problem is, idk where I would advertise it. That example would be good, but the profit margin wouldn't be worth the time.
I used to work as strategy consultant and we advised a major water boiler company on one of their projects. They mentioned that 60% of their revenue was from their spare parts business.
 
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Spikeroo

Spikeroo

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Aug 17, 2011
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Merritt Island, Fl
I used to work as strategy consultant and we advised a major water boiler company on one of their projects. They mentioned that 60% of their revenue was from their spare parts business.
I knew there was a market for it! Its finding the niche is the key. This 3D printing thing has a lot of potential, but it will take a lot to find the best place to apply it.
 

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Redwolf

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One of my buddies will print something, like a baby yoda and post it on his personal facebook. Say "$10 shipped". Obviously, this is blatant copyright infringement... or you can download some non infringing designs from thingiverse to sell.

He also printed the bottom/front half of a storm trooper helmet to work as a "mask". I think he still wears a real mask underneath, but that could get some traction in the COVID economy.

But I like the idea of doing your own custom 3d designs and prints. I used to be a professional 3d modeler for the game industry and have a CR-10 printer. I'm too busy with other things to pursue what you're doing. Good luck!
 

Lyinx

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2 ideas that I think could be interesting:
one idea: you would create a website with parts, people place the order, it gets printed and shipped automatically (no contact by you). If you don't have the part yet, can they provide a copy? you duplicate it for free for the first one (or half price, or free shipping, try to incentivize sending in parts to be scanned)

another idea, and I think this could be the most profitable: Emergency 3D printing ... lets say a company breaks a tool that they have, and you could print out a replacement so that they can pick it up in the morning... they would be willing to pay 10X what the product costs if they need to wait a week for it if it's considered an emergency and it gets used a lot. You might want to have "emergency" rates and regular rates, with your lead-time listed beside it.

Check into 3D Hubs | On-demand Manufacturing: Quotes in Seconds, Parts in Days , they have an awesome printing setup where anyone can get a quote for a few pcs, or a thousand pcs :)

And creating value = awesome!
 

Jadus

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Great start to at least a side-hustle! There are some good ideas from members but I would use caution (and Redwolf touched on this) printing parts or other items that may have a patent or trademark on it. Infringement lawsuits could be quite costly.
 

Lyinx

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Another Idea that I had... have people send you ideas, you design them, and charge them to design and print them (also, create a library from that, maybe charge for access to library?)
video the whole thing on youtube, so that people can see each build and how it (kind-of) works... don't need to give all the details, but make it simple..

All kinds of fun things to do :)
 

Matt Sun

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You went the Andy Black way and simply helped people. Nice.
Never thought of offering an entire city "Hey you all, want to 3D print something ? Just contact me". From car parts, to human protesis, to decoration, the list of things people could want is endless.
Thought for commandment of Time one should train an employee to be able to craft the parts. And focus on just selling and helping people.
 

Gepi

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Hi there,
that is cool to read - you made something out of your investment :)
If you need designing something, I am a 3D-designer specialized in figurines and jewelry - but I am also quite good at helping to fix defective files, clean up meshes of objects, etc. Working with a Prusa MK2.5s and I am in looove with it :hilarious:
If you want to see some free models of mine (and myriads of other free models)
check out Thingiverse
Amazing stuff to be found there.
 
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Spikeroo

Spikeroo

Bronze Contributor
Aug 17, 2011
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Merritt Island, Fl
Thank you all for the advise, sounds like I have some research to do! I'm very excited to pull something together from this. I really want to get into 3d printing Prosthetics. It could be profitable and help someone in need.
 

Redwolf

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Please be very careful printing anything medical related, with regards to violating whatever laws exist around medical devices. Definitely worth reading up on to make sure you are in compliance, or preferably, fall into a category that is not regulated.
 

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