Making money. Has anyone made a profit from their designs?

Discussion in 'Materials' started by SRZDesign, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. SRZDesign
    SRZDesign Member
    When joining Shapways I didn't know what to expect, I mostly saw 3D printing as a cheap alternative to making some prototypes for possible products (to be made somewhere else). Shapeways, being a service provider and middleman, I'm sure (and hope) is making money off the platform, but do any of you guys come here to make money or you just want to make original items for yourselves? The costs of most of the 3D objects, despite being very original and beautiful, really make it almost impossible or unrealistic to sell to everyday people with everyday budgets.
  2. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    I don't have any statistics, but there are a few people at Shapeways "making a living". There are (obviously) a large number of people that are making inexpensive single parts.

    But, there are a good number of people (like me) that hit somewhere in between. Simply put, I am building a model train layout. My shop is filled with model train items that are largely unavailable from other sources. Over the past several months, I have had what could be referred to as "steady" income, but in truth, it's a small amount of money. It it is NO where near my "day job" level of income, but I'm able to turn most of the markup back into "supporting my habit" - spending the money on buying more locomotives and artificial trees. (it is very nice to have a self-supporting hobby :) )

    However, for me the reward is in the design process. Designing something on the screen and then being able to hold it in my hand is incredibly rewarding. (Hey!@! It WORKED!) Then, when someone takes one of my creations and paints it properly and I see it on THEIR train layout.. it completes the circle for me, and makes me want to go "build something else".

    Like is picture of several items from my shop: and
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  3. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team
    Yup, nothing to add :) I feel the same with my trains ;)

    And yes: i have earned quite some money with my shop
  4. barkingdigger
    barkingdigger Well-Known Member
    I too echo Stony's sentiments (although my designs are tank parts instead of train parts). The things on my "Shop" are designed for my own hobby, but the mark-up from sales has gone some way towards reimbursing my own purchases. Besides, it's cool to get a thumbs-up from a fellow hobbyist when they find I've made something they were looking for!

    I also take on design commissions for clients, but as these are exclusive deals the items will not appear in my public "Shop". Instead, these involve cash payments for services rendered. However, I doubt I'd ever be able to quit the day job...
  5. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    I've spent way more on having parts made than what has been earned. That's compounded by the problem of needing to do multiple trials to get things to fit together or to work well with pen kits. It's one thing to design a 3D bobble that sits on a shelf and quite another if you want to attack anything that resembles a manufacturing process. There's some variability in resulting dimensions of any particular process, and if you want one design that can span the variability of several materials it takes a few tries to get everything close to a "final" design for the more important dimensions.

    But pen making is one of my hobbies so I mostly use my store to let friends and family pick out a design if they want a pen made. Until I can make sure parts are reliably made without rejection I can't move beyond friends and family and spread the word in the pen making world.

    But now there's an additional issue! I've been using the 8mm Metallo pen kit for most of my development work and to generate a physical library of example pens. Unfortunately this pen kit is in closeout and will soon no longer be sold from the vendor. I'm not sure if this kit will be available from other vendors in the future. So that sucks. Fortunately there are other pens I can design blanks for but that will require more time, effort, and cost to transfer the designs. Oh yes, this could become a big money loser but it's fun, interesting, and I always have nice presents for birthdays and holidays!

  6. SavIsSavvy
    SavIsSavvy Member
    People definitely make money on Shapeways :). While I can't tell you how much at risk of their privacy, I can tell you we have multiple Shop Owners earning a living (even in expensive cities like here in NYC) on Shapeways, and many more making a sizeable ($400-$1500) chunk of change every month.

    It's my job here at Shapeways, as your Shop Owner coach, to make this number increase- let's work together to get those sales where you want them to be :).

    Be sure and check out the Shop Owner Challenge to get some Pro Tips for your shop :).
  7. SRZDesign
    SRZDesign Member
    This is all good to hear. Thanks. There are several ways to benefit from shapeways.