3D printing is becoming increasingly popular with both businesses and consumers. You can produce a huge array of objects, from toys to appliance parts. With the right equipment, you can even build a business around this method. But first, you need the right supplies to serve your ideal customer. Here’s a guide to sourcing 3D printing materials.
The 3D Printing Industry in 2022
3D printing is gaining popularity as printers and gear become more accessible and the technology improves. The demand for printers is increasing. And the method is impacting a variety of other industries as well since it can be used to produce various items.
Where Can You Buy 3D Printing Supplies?
Before you can open your own 3D printing shop, you need the right printer, additives, and supporting material. Here are some places to source these essentials.
Amazon has basically everything you may need for your 3D printing journey, from actual printers to filament and resin. You can also find bulk items and get products shipped fast and free with a Prime membership.
Etsy is home to lots of 3D-printed goods from makers, along with various materials like resins. Many sellers also offer digital files you can use to make your own 3D-printed goods. Just check the permissions on these files before selling anything you produce.
MatterHackers is an online shop just for 3D printers and supplies. They offer a wide array of machines. And you can shop for supporting materials that are built to work with each option.
4. 3D Universe
3D Universe offers printers, kits, filament, and basically everything you need to get started. They also have educational materials available, and even offer phone and email support for those with questions.
5. 3D Supply Guys
3D Supply Guys is an online resource for hobbyists and businesses. In addition to its guides and community offerings, the site also includes a shop that features printers, filament, and even replacement parts.
6. HartSmart Products
HartSmart Products offers 3D printing services along with supplies for those who want to do their own printing. Their inventory includes printers, parts, filament, and resin.
Grainger is a tool and equipment supplier that does stock an array of 3D printer supplies like filament. You can easily shop for various sizes and colors online, with exact specifications easily accessible.
8. Best Buy
Best Buy is a huge retailer that offers a few 3D printers and filament supplies. The benefit of getting a 3D printer here may be the ability to see or pick it up in a physical store, whereas most other shops only operate online.
MakerBot is a brand of 3D printers. So they sell their own products online and through other retailers. The shop also includes other supplies like filament and software.
eBay has a huge array of ever-changing products from third-party sellers. You can find everything from the filament to printers and replacement parts, depending on your needs.
Essential 3D Printer Supplies for Business
Before you can start a 3D printing business, you need an array of materials and tools to complete the process. In addition to an actual printer, here are several 3D printer supplies to consider.
The first investment many people make when they start 3D printing is an actual printer. Many come with all the necessary parts. But you may need add-ons or replacement components like extruders or hot ends that dispense the material.
A print bed is a flat, heat-resistant surface that serves as the base for many 3D printers. This part often needs to be changed out when completing new projects to provide a clean, even surface.
Kapton tape is a heat-resistant tape that is often used to hold materials or parts in place when 3D printing.
3D Printer Filament
Filament serves as the raw material for many 3D-printed products. It is usually arranged on a spool and can be fed into the printer, which then melts it down and adds it to the specific design.
However, some printers instead work with resin. This is usually a liquid or gel that gets added to the printer to serve as the raw material.
Digital Files or Software
3D printers usually come with software. But there are also some programs you can purchase separately. You can even buy pre-made files from other designers, though some cannot be re-sold.
Tweezers or grippers are usually beneficial for grabbing delicate items after they have been printed or working with small printer components that you cannot manipulate by hand.
How Much Do Supplies Cost for a 3D Printer?
Prices for 3D printer supplies vary widely by quality and type of printer and material. Many projects cost between $50 and $300 per kg of material used.
What Is the Cheapest Material for 3D Printing?
3D printing filaments and resins come in a variety of materials. Many of them are fairly inexpensive synthetics. PLA is generally considered one of the cheapest filaments available.
What Is the Most Profitable Thing to Make with a 3D Printer?
3D printers can make a variety of profitable items, from mechanical parts to toys. Some of the most profitable are figurines used in popular games like Dungeons and Dragons, or cosplay props. However, some also make money creating prototypes for brands.
How Do You Prepare a Print Bed for 3D Printing?
Before starting a new 3D printing project, you need a clean, dry print bed that can support the material as it is added. If the print beds have been used before, scrape off any plastic and clean and dry the material thoroughly. If you’re using your printer for the first time, make sure there is a heat-resistant mat in place to protect the base of the printer.
Is It Cheaper to Make or Buy a 3D Printer?
The cost of a 3D printer varies widely, from about $150 to more than $3,000. Assembling your own 3D printer can cost as little as $100. So that is usually the cheaper option, as long as you have the time and expertise to choose the correct parts and assemble them properly.
Image: Envato Elements