With 3D printers becoming affordable, increasing numbers of hobbyists, artists, small scale manufacturers, research and development people are looking into 3D printing. In this article we’ll explore how you can use your own website to earn money blogging about 3D printing and all the cool stuff that can be done.
3D printing has been around for more than 30 years since the first working 3D printer built by Chuck Hull was demonstrated. Back in the ’80s this was called “rapid prototyping”. The technology back then was expensive and used mainly to quickly develop and test prototypes. The expense was justified by avoiding having to create or modify expensive tooling. It was cost effective to invest in the nascent 3D printer.
Today, the costs of owning a 3D printer have come way down. Just about anything can be 3D printed – even full size houses, steel bridges, body parts and elaborate wedding cakes!
Additionally there are many community sites like Thingiverse where users can share 3D printing designs and files.
Demand! Demand! Demand!
Businesses and hobbyists who use 3D printing technology are continually researching the Internet for ideas, solutions to problems, or are looking into purchasing a 3D printer, or supplies, parts and accessories for it. The cost of purchasing and owning a 3D printer has come way down in the last few years. Many very affordable 3D printers are coming onto the market.
A good example is the Prusa3D i3 printer which is sold at a very affordable price and is easy to upgrade without having to buy a new printer.
I have also been following the development of the compact unibody Tiko 3D printer. This was due to come on the market in the under $200 category but unfortunately the project failed. I am looking forward to trying one of the beta units, as it looked very promising! Oh well – Who ever said entrepreneurship was a piece of cake?
Major hobby/industrial websites, and merchants have been getting in on this 3D printing boom by offering related goods and services. If 3D printing is a niche you enjoy and are knowledgable about, why not build a website, if you don’t already have one, dedicated to what you do with your 3D printer(s)?
With costs coming down there are a lot of new people coming into the 3D printing market!
Why A Website?
Sure you can participate in the many boards, mailing lists and Facebook groups of fellow 3D printing enthusiasts. But with your own website, it like having your own home! You can set it up how ever you like, and most importantly it can earn YOU money. There are many ways to monetize your website. In this article we’ll discuss ways to tap into the 3D printing market.
With your website up and running, all you have to do is provide lots of great content, get traffic, and wire it up to sources of revenue.
Naturally a website is a great place to document and share your own projects, ideas and experiences with 3D printing. There are countless topics you write posts on.
- Tests and reviews of 3D printers and plastics
- Tips and techniques
- “How To” articles
- Earning money with your 3D printer
- Your own projects
- Care and cleaning
- Homebuilt 3D printers
- Ideas for stuff to create
- Tests and results of various settings, temperatures
- Experiments with different materials
- CAD/CAM/G-code software for creating models
- Open source options
- Emerging technology
The list can go on – your imagination is the limit! There’s no shortage of stuff to write about, but it is vital that it be high quality relevant content because you want to attract the right audience.
Now you need to attract the right audience to your website. It is very important that you dedicate the focus of your blog or website on 3D printing. More specifically the aspects of it that you do and know very well.
Having an entire website with many articles dedicated to your specific subject will attract a very targeted audience. It will help establish you as an “authority site” Careful choice of relevant search keywords to include in your content is important, too.
Ideas For Making Money With 3D Printing
There’s lots of stuff that people buy for 3D printers, including the printers themselves or parts to make one.
- 3D Printers
- Replacement parts
- Plastic filament in various materials and colors
- Extruder nozzles
- CAD/CAM software
- Books and videos
Many merchants of the above items have affiliate programs that you can join and earn a commission off of sales that you refer.
Search through the major affiliate marketing networks like Commission Junction (CJ), Share-A-Sale, Rakuten, etc for 3D printing related affiliate programs. A quick web search on “3D printing affiliate program” will reveal countless options, as well.
For example, you may be writing a review of a certain model of printer and the great results you had with it. At the end of the article, you offer affiliate links to a merchant who sells that printer. If your visitor clicks through your link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission!
You could be writing an article about various types of filament and the results of using it. You can offer links to a merchant who offers a selection of filaments in different colors, sizes and material.
The same for replacement parts, books on 3D printing, CAD/CAM modeling software – you won’t have to search far to find an affiliate program.
Once you’ve made some sales and know which articles are converting the most, you could even write up a special super targeted landing page, try a PPC campaign and scale up your business!
Your own products
In addition to earning commissions, your website is a great place to offer and promote your own products. These can be:
- Items you’ve designed and 3D printed
- Mathematical or geometric art
- Ebooks or physical books you’ve written about 3D printing
- Training courses
- Hard to find or custom made parts
- Design and make your own custom LEGO® bricks!
- Starter kits for newcomers to 3D printing
If you’re considering offering eBooks or other digital products, I have written an article on “How To Sell eBooks Online“.
Printing 3D parts for others
People are always looking for that odd replacement part or have a custom idea that they need printed. A great way to earn some money with your 3D printer is to offer your service on a 3D printing network called 3D Hubs. Basically they are a place where people who need something printed can publish their request, and their location. People who have 3D printers, and are nearby, will see the request and can offer the service. Sort of like a “Fiver” or “Upwork” for 3D printing.
Where To Now?
In this article I’ve covered some ideas on how to earn money from a website dedicated to the 3D printing niche. If you’re new to the whole internet marketing thing, there’s a lot of boilerplate stuff to learn if you to do this right and succeed.
Let’s Get Started!
I hope I’ve stirred up some ideas on how to earn money blogging about 3D printing. This can be a very lucrative niche if you invest some effort and do it right. Getting the right training can save you a lot of trail and error.
Your thoughts, ideas, questions and comments are welcome below! You’ve invested a lot of time into that 3D printer, so print some moolah with it!
Cheers and best to you!