How to start a successful 3D printing business today
Posted By Eole Recrosio on Feb 22, 2017 |
Starting your 3D Printing Company is challenging, and we’ve compiled the do’s and don’ts for your first year of business. The quest for business success doesn’t come with a road map but it can be navigated by studying those who have been successful in the industry; you’ll learn today how to start a successful 3D printing business and how companies already use these tips and tricks. Keep in mind that everything is 3D printable. You can use it for production, rapid prototyping or to work on designs, and it can lead to great business opportunities.
1. Create, innovate and Iterate with 3D Printing
Innovation and creativity are the bedrock for the 3D printing industry and are at the heart of your project. There is also another key that entrepreneurs forget: iteration.
When designing your prototype, it is important to consider several versions and iterations of your object before starting into production. Indeed, rapid prototyping is part of the biggest advantages of 3D printing.
3D printing is the technology that allows design innovations like in the AudioQuest NightHawk over-the-ear headphones. When they designed the headphones, it was decided to create an essential component thanks to 3D printing. The few design limitations make the part only possible to manufacture with 3D printing. That success shows how they take the most of a technology and innovate with it.
2. Produce at the right scale with Additive Manufacturing
Once you’ve prototyped and designed your product, it is time to go into production. Production is certainly one of the most decisive steps of your project. It is costly, stressful and can lead to the success or the failure of your business. Production is often entrusted to an industrial manufacturer on which you have few control. With Sculpteo’s digital manufacturing services, you have hand on production and how you want your part to be produced.
A major thing with the production of your product is the way you produce it. For the first series of your object, you can do like Nanoracing, one of our customer who chooses to produce its first product with Sculpteo. Producing in batches for a limited amount of customers allow to limitate cost and to add value with personalized products.
Another solution is to choose an “on-demand” production system where you produce the part you need when a customer places an order. With 3D printing, the production time is very short and the cost remains the same.
To read more about our customers who go into production with our digital factory, download our free ebook.
3. Turn a product into a service with 3D printing
3D printing has the advantage to offer great values to your business: fast conception and prototyping, enhanced productivity, very fast production time. Another value that is not always considered is the possibility to turn your product into a service thanks to the 3D printing technology. From your customers’ data, you can create unique and personalized goods that fit their needs. This concept is the mass customization (you can read more about mass customizationit in this article).
It can lead to amazing 3D printing business ideas. One of our former colleagues decided to start her own business, Endeer from this idea. She combines 3D scanning and 3D printing to create made to measure women bra.
This benefit can be extended to the whole fashion industry (read this article on how 3D printing is disrupting fashion) and can also have interesting benefits in the medical sector. Making custom medical devices that fits the patient need is a valuable gain for both professional and patient. It reduces the effort and time of a surgical or medical act. You will be able to create 3D models adapted to the patient’s anatomy, which isn’t possible with traditional manufacturing. To learn more about the benefits of 3D printing in the medical industry, you can visit our dedicated application page.
Anything can be 3D printable tanks to the wide range of 3D printing materials available on the 3D printing market. 3D printers can now create 3D printed models in different types of resin, plastic or even metal.
4. Think of the lifetime of your product
Once you’ve released your product, the course is not finished yet. Improving your product from your customers’ feedback is very important to be sure that it matches their expectations. With 3D printing, you can iterate and modify the design between each batch. It is quite easy for 3D designers to edit a 3D file through a modeling software and print a new batch.
Another important aspect to think about is the lifetime of a product, how it will get “old” and how you will provide parts for the after-sales service. 3D printing technology is again the solution to this issue as you can at any time 3D print spare parts from the original 3D model design without adding huge costs. Additive manufacturing has the capacity to be very accessible and sustainable for small businesses, startups and for single parts to small batches.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these 4 easy tricks to build a successful business in the 3D printing industry and if you want to learn more about digital manufacturing, you can take a look at our great infographic.
We believe in your 3D printing projects. We encourage you to be part of the experiment and create the future of 3D printing with us! Additive manufacturing technology is evolving quite fast. Who knows, maybe you’ll even be able to use 4D printing in the upcoming years.
You believe in a new business model? You have new business ideas only possible thanks to 3D printing technology, but your boss doesn’t understand all the advantages of 3D printing? Here’s a top 9 of the best arguments to convince your boss to use additive manufacturing.
We would enjoy knowing what kind of business you are in our State of 3D Printing, so if you feel interested, you can take the survey here.
If you want more 3D printing news, feel free to subscribe to our weekly newsletter!