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Making the monies! [message #43892] Sun, 12 February 2012 19:54 UTC Go to next message
avatar mjasonm1  is currently offline mjasonm1
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Ive been researching 3d printing and It seems next to impossible to create anything where you could actually make money from it. I understand the manufacturer has to make their money too but at the price points for printing its not really economical. IMO It seems the best approach would be to let shapeways make a print of your design and then you yourself make the molds and cast the products yourself.

am i wrong in thinking this way? I have a strong skill set for 3d modeling so this is a perfect outlet for me but even when i did a test for the FCS the price was to great for trying to sell something commercially.

the conclusions i have made are get your ideas created and then find other ways to "mass produce" them. thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Re: Making the monies! [message #43901 is a reply to message #43892 ] Sun, 12 February 2012 21:07 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Hi mjasonm1,

Welcome to Shapeways! Smile

The beauty of Shapeways is that you can design a model, have it printed for testing/photographing/videoing, set up a shop and promote your model. You can put whatever markup you like for a model, even by material. You can also set up co-creator models whereyou customize a model on customer request.

Its a great buisiness model for anyone who can 3D model to make a bit of money through their Shapeways Shop.

There's a few here who have models printed for casting as well as those who create kits for finishing & selling on via the likes of etsy and ebay.

Another spin-off is the oportunity to pick up commission work for those with ideas but not the skillset for the modelling.

Paul
Re: Making the monies! [message #43904 is a reply to message #43901 ] Sun, 12 February 2012 21:21 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mjasonm1  is currently offline mjasonm1
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thanks for the welcome and for the reply.

Ive actually thought about inverting a model and have it printed to make the mold for casting. Im really not sure which material would be best for this. I really like the FCS since you can basically have it painted by the printer and not have to hand paint the thing but still price is an issue. I did a test with a dummy piece that was 6cm tall and it still came to about 15 dollars before shipping and before my markup. who would pay that? I think my best bet is to make the mold myself and do the painting by hand.

as far as offering my service to make pieces for people...lets just say it takes a lot of time to make anything in 3d so thats not really costs effective either. im not trying to get rich but id like to be able to maybe start a business on the side using my skill set. To be clear im not knocking any of these suggestions and im not knocking Shapeways but to make this into a business you have to make things at a price point that people will actually pay and that its worth your time. again, any thoughts are appreciated.
Re: Making the monies! [message #43924 is a reply to message #43904 ] Mon, 13 February 2012 11:25 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bathsheba  is currently offline Bathsheba
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You're right that it's not easy. After 15 years trying to get on with it, my life is not like this...but at least I didn't have to go back to my day job.


-Bathsheba
http://bathsheba.com
Re: Making the monies! [message #43927 is a reply to message #43924 ] Mon, 13 February 2012 13:10 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mjasonm1  is currently offline mjasonm1
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yeah i agree this is better than a day job. im still trying to figure out what i can offer that people will want to buy. i really like your stuff btw.
Re: Making the monies! [message #43928 is a reply to message #43927 ] Mon, 13 February 2012 13:21 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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For the kind of offering you can make, start with your hobbies, find forums for those hobbie & find out what people would like to see - popular items are transforming robots, tabletop wargaming, railway accessories and parts, math art, dice, unique jewellery... steampunk is up & coming for 3D printed items too - or take a trip through the gallery for inspiration.

Re: Making the monies! [message #43954 is a reply to message #43928 ] Mon, 13 February 2012 21:19 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar ana  is currently offline ana
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Welcome Jason!

Your questions reminds me of a conversation I had over coffee a couple weeks ago with a NY-based jewelry designer who gets her work made through Shapeways. She said how even in a rather sorry economic climate, she's seen that items which are custom, or truly unique in some way, continue to sell.

I'd wager that doesn't stop at the jewelry market, but instead that customers for all sorts of goods continue to be willing to part with cash if a thing has enough significance to them.

You just have to figure out what that might be. Not suggesting it's easy, just suggesting it's possible. Smile




Community Manager | Shapeways

Re: Making the monies! [message #43976 is a reply to message #43954 ] Tue, 14 February 2012 01:47 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mjasonm1  is currently offline mjasonm1
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I guess i just need to wrap my head around it more. Im pretty good at thinking outside of the box so hopefully i can come up with something that will benefit us both. I think what discourages me quite a bit is the fact i can walk through wally world and see things i could easily make but they only charge 6 bucks or so for it and its many inches tall/wider than anything i can achieve through 3d printing. Ive looked into the price of jewelry(sterling silver) and again it comes in way cheaper than what i can produce. im looking into electro plating but i hear that stuff wears down over time. i will continue to tinker around and see whats possible and maybe eventually ill hit onto something.
Re: Making the monies! [message #43977 is a reply to message #43976 ] Tue, 14 February 2012 02:38 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar denali3ddesign  is currently offline denali3ddesign
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You gotta make something that you can't buy at wally world - or anywhere else! For mass-producible items, 3D printing is good for prototyping and refining the first designs.

Good luck! Very Happy


If you're new to 3D printing, learn the secrets from a professional. Get my book "3D Printing with SketchUp"
Re: Making the monies! [message #44043 is a reply to message #43977 ] Wed, 15 February 2012 01:26 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar henryseg  is currently offline henryseg
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Another possible angle: make things that cannot be made by casting, so cannot be made more cheaply. Either very intricate geometry with lots of interior shapes, or with lots of moving parts.
Re: Making the monies! [message #44063 is a reply to message #43892 ] Wed, 15 February 2012 10:10 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Twopounder  is currently offline Twopounder
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Keep in mind that this is considered "rapid prototyping" for a reason. It was never really meant for you to sell in a store front like this. Shapeways allows you to do so for people who want to spend the money on a more unique design. However, if you intend to make a very large markup on your item, then you should use 3d printing for it's intended purpose: as a cost effective prototyping system.

This way, you can make molds out of your 3d printed masters and then sell the casts for much more profit.


http://fracturedmesh.blogspot.com/ - my 3d modeling blog
Re: Making the monies! [message #44281 is a reply to message #43892 ] Tue, 21 February 2012 18:33 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Tamert  is currently offline Tamert
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The "money" is in the custom design work. Rapid prototyping is a tool that allows you to realize structures incredibly quickly. It's not a process that makes things inexpensively.

Customization, Customization, Customization.

People pay for such service.
Re: Making the monies! [message #44283 is a reply to message #43892 ] Tue, 21 February 2012 18:44 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
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Well the service of customization isn't the only factor. The freedom of customization has it's costs. You can't make a mold that spits out thousands of items in a day, instead it can take a day or more to make your custom items. The energy, time, and available materials also drive the price. As the machines and materials advance and become more available, the price will drop.


I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. -Maya Angelou
michael@shapeways.com Community Advocate
Re: Making the monies! [message #44290 is a reply to message #44283 ] Tue, 21 February 2012 21:47 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bathsheba  is currently offline Bathsheba
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I am not so much for the customization. I'm with Henry: there's a niche where you can add value that is unique to 3DP, by using the greater freedom of the process to access a different design space.

At the level of strong customization, I don't offer customers the opportunity to make design decisions, because making those decisions is what I get paid for. Not very much I grant you, but it's the job I want. At the level of weak customization, i.e. personalization, I agree there's money in it, but...the 20th century is calling, it wants its class rings and monogrammed towels back.

This isn't a fair breakdown, there are certainly cool things to do that fall between these two catty characterizations. But so far it seems like they're not trivial to find: a lot of people have looked, and not a lot of customization opportunities have been found that leverage 3DP's capabilities well enough to offset its added cost, without involving a lot of designer hours. I'm not yet convinced that this is naturally the dominant part of the consumer market we're looking at.

I would be curious if anyone at Shapeways were in a position to break that down: what percentage of parts that go out the door are personalized?

[Updated on: Tue, 21 February 2012 22:11 UTC]


-Bathsheba
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Re: Making the monies! [message #44359 is a reply to message #44290 ] Thu, 23 February 2012 04:15 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Tamert  is currently offline Tamert
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Bathsheba wrote on Tue, 21 February 2012 21:47

I am not so much for the customization. I'm with Henry: there's a niche where you can add value that is unique to 3DP, by using the greater freedom of the process to access a different design space.

At the level of strong customization, I don't offer customers the opportunity to make design decisions, because making those decisions is what I get paid for. Not very much I grant you, but it's the job I want. At the level of weak customization, i.e. personalization, I agree there's money in it, but...the 20th century is calling, it wants its class rings and monogrammed towels back.

This isn't a fair breakdown, there are certainly cool things to do that fall between these two catty characterizations. But so far it seems like they're not trivial to find: a lot of people have looked, and not a lot of customization opportunities have been found that leverage 3DP's capabilities well enough to offset its added cost, without involving a lot of designer hours. I'm not yet convinced that this is naturally the dominant part of the consumer market we're looking at.

I would be curious if anyone at Shapeways were in a position to break that down: what percentage of parts that go out the door are personalized?



From what I've seen on the forums and and the shops, I tend to think that most of the people here come from a more artistic and tinkerer back ground. Accordingly, they generally don't have the developed business contacts or relationships to help enable rapid product design for small to medium sized businesses. Such businesses don't have in house prototyping services and happy contract with 3rd parties to get things manufactured.

This is what I think of when I say customization. I don't mean putting your name on a bottle opener or anything trivial like that. I mean rapid custom development of product prototypes. This is where I see the money (and where I'm getting mine) for developers here on shapeways. To access such opportunities, individuals need to aggressively seek out businesses that produce things.

This is in sharp contrast to the shapeways model of having people upload a billion designs and then hoping that people will page through the designs and find something that they like. I just don't think that the following is great enough to generate a large enough quantity of sales to financially support an independent developer.

It would be interesting if shapeways would disclosed anonymized sales data for its top 10 shops. I think it would give people a more realistic view of what you could expect.
Re: Making the monies! [message #44499 is a reply to message #44359 ] Sun, 26 February 2012 13:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Twopounder  is currently offline Twopounder
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Well, hopefully you aren't relying solely on Shapeways to market for you. If you are actually trying to make some pocket change here, then you should have your own site with direct links to your store, some advertising/blogs/etc to promote your products.

But beyond the "neat" factor, you aren't going to find too many customers willing to drop $15 for a coaster they could otherwise buy for $2.50.

Maybe a sister company could be made to produce various molds for people who want to go that route? It would be interesting to see a type of "design to production" pipe that could be done through mail order.


http://fracturedmesh.blogspot.com/ - my 3d modeling blog
Re: Making the monies! [message #44825 is a reply to message #43892 ] Sat, 03 March 2012 07:33 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Innovo  is currently offline Innovo
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I support the idea of getting some marketing and sales statistics from Shapeways. This could be a great help especially for the new designers.




Innovation & Design

http://www.etsy.com/shop/InnovoDesign
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Re: Making the monies! [message #44891 is a reply to message #43892 ] Mon, 05 March 2012 12:24 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar FreakingRiddle  is currently offline FreakingRiddle
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Hmmm, personally I create and publish models based on video games...some are unique, other are just game models or models based on games which are also based on movies or books (check batarang)! [I dont know why i said this, probably cause ACTA will arrest me soon Smile] In my opinion you can't live by 3d printing...only if the shapeways is yours (Very Happy) or if you work on shapeways or a similar company but as model creator for printing you don't make money!


EDIT: I asked shapeways everytime they print my models take a photo so I can use them to promote my items! (still no photo even they said they will Very Happy)

[Updated on: Mon, 05 March 2012 12:26 UTC]


Riddle, riddle riddle...
Re: Making the monies! [message #44902 is a reply to message #44891 ] Mon, 05 March 2012 13:43 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bathsheba  is currently offline Bathsheba
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It's not easy, to be sure. For me it was necessary to take control of my own marketing.


-Bathsheba
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Re: Making the monies! [message #44910 is a reply to message #43892 ] Mon, 05 March 2012 16:24 UTC Go to previous message
avatar aeron203  is currently offline aeron203
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There is tremendous growth potential for Shapeways, but I have to agree with the stated opinions that you aren't going to get significant income just for showing up and making models. This is a very young industry, so the most reward is going to go to those who create new applications and innovative solutions that leverage the strengths of the technology. Just editing the label on a very expensive version of a common product is rarely going to create an object that people really desire. I would say that designing for 3D printing is a little like the restaurant business. There is a huge demand for food, at both the high-end and low-end, but the reality is that nine out of ten restaurants fail. There are many things that need to be perfectly set in place, and if anything at all is missing or done badly, the business will not work. Even if the exectution is brilliant, marketing and promotion are different skillsets, totally unrelated to the quality of the product.

Twopounder- what you are describing has a name. It's called Rapid Tooling, rather than rapid prototyping. It is a very mature industry technique that was developed along with the prototyping application. Almost every major manufacturer is using it, but there is growth opportunity there too, as the technologies become more accessible to designers and small manufacturers. I have been offering services in rapid-tooling for short-run manufacturing in the form of mold tool generation, usually from designs that I create on commision, but I do offer it as a service to anyone wishing to create molds. I haven't focused much on this, because it is the role of a design-engineer more than a designer, but I'm happy to do a little business and enable others to make their product a reality.

So, a potential development pipeline would be to create your design, print and refine the prototype, have a mold tool created and printed, then either outsource the manufacturing or do it yourself. Notice that this reduces the per-part cost, but increases the lead-time and initial expense, and doesn't do anything at all for marketing and promotion, so an integrated digital production pipeline is an incredible way of starting off a product. From here on, the burden is on the designer to make it happen, intially. If you develop something suitable for mass production, then you can pursue it with confidence, having proven it's value at the higher pice-point of individually manufactured items,


Aaron - 40westdesigns.com/blog

 
   
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