Small businesses might not think a 3D printer is a helpful addition to their equipment. However, given the endless opportunities that come with a 3D printer, it’s bound to be a powerful tool to rely on in your business. In this article, we’ll cover some innovative ways a 3D printer can change the game for your small business.

What is 3D printing?

If you don’t know what 3D printing is, it is when you create a three-dimensional model using digital software and then print it out into a physical object. To do that, you need both the software and a 3D printer. With 3D printers, you can make a 3D model from these digital renderings layer by layer.

Although people usually believe that 3D printers print using plastic and polymer materials, they can use a whole load of other materials. For example, steel, ceramic, and titanium are materials that you can use with a 3D printer.

In some highly niche industries and with specific machines, these 3D printers can even print out food or medicine. However, not all 3D printers can do that.

Now that you know what 3D printing is, let’s explore how it can be a favorable tide for small businesses that need that push.

1. Rapid prototyping for product design

When you want to launch a new product, it can take a while before you find an end product that is immediately ready for launch. If you want a faster production time until you find a workable prototype that suits your needs, you can use a 3D printer to create prototypes of your products faster.

When you have a faster, ready-to-go prototype, it will be much easier to test your product, get feedback from those tests, and change your prototype faster to accommodate it.

Since every part of the product development process becomes faster, the product launch can go much faster, and you can serve your market with that new product.

You can perfect your product design much faster so that it can launch and start manufacturing officially immediately.

2. Create customized products

Being a small business gives you much more leeway to be creative, a great way to stand out and be unique from other companies. That’s why 3D printing work can be beneficial for that since you can upgrade your products and make them more customized so that it’s clear that it’s only for you.

You can create better ergonomic packaging while being unique in aesthetics so your products stand out compared to the standard of what they usually look like.

It’s much harder to get customized products when working with large manufacturers since they might require a specific production volume to accept personalized products. As a small business, committing to a large volume of orders will be hard. Luckily, with 3D printing, you can achieve these customizations without creating large volumes.

3. Enhanced efficiency

Worry not if your business wants to rely heavily on your 3D printer. A 3D printer is reliable and won’t break down that fast, even if you use it often. Despite being a relatively new tech, there are many ways to find parts in case you need to replace them. There are plenty of places to buy filaments of different materials these days, and they’re not too expensive to refill.

Given the efficiency and reliability of a 3D printer, investing in it will surely be a worthwhile expense since it has long-term staying power.

If your 3D printer needs replacement parts, many affordable options are available. You won’t need to replace your entire 3D printer to get things going again.

4. Enhanced product design and quality

3D printers, if you calibrate them just right, can produce intricate details on the items or models it prints out. Therefore, if you’ve been looking to manufacture products with such subtleties, 3D printers are a great tool.

What’s great about this is that it’s easier to assess the quality of your products with these intricate features since 3D printing them won’t cost that much. You can then tweak your print and software settings until the print quality is desired.

You won’t have to wait for your manufacturer if you want to change any of the product designs or details. With your 3D printer, you can do the product design and quality assurance checks yourself.

5. Decrease in waste

Some people worry that the foundations you remove as part of your 3D models are wasteful of the filaments. However, what’s great about 3D printing is that you can use and reuse the “waste” filaments that go into the foundation of your 3D models. You can recycle them, but that requires a separate tool on a commercial level, so if you’re interested, you can do that.

You can also plan out your 3D models so that you have little to no waste to recycle in the first place. It’s all about being conscious of how you design your models if you want to reduce the waste each print makes.

What’s great about this is the environmental implications of reducing waste and its financial snowball effect. When fewer of your filaments end up as waste, you become more economical with your materials suitable for your small business’s finances.

6. Unique promotional products and merchandise

3D printers are great for producing high-quality and unique items at the drop of a hat without incurring too much costs. Given the flexibility and the light financial hit that doing this takes, you have more chances to play around with the unique products and merchandise you can make.

You can then create exciting products and merchandise that promote your business. This ability benefits events where you’re setting up stalls, and people can come by and get a freebie.

7. Save time and lower startup costs

Time is money, but especially during the beginning phase of your startup, where your resources are limited.

With a 3D printer, you can lower product design, testing, and manufacturing costs. Also, since it speeds up the production process, you can speed up the process of product concept to launch. 

The sooner you launch and sell your product, the faster you can be more profitable while reducing your production costs using a 3D printer.

8. Streamlines mass production

Getting a manufacturer to work with you, especially during the start of your small business, is hard. They might be willing to produce a small batch, but only for additional costs per batch. To circumvent that, you can streamline your products’ mass production while you can’t pay for large-scale manufacturing.


Given all the different ways you can incorporate a 3D printer for your small business, you can find a way to make the most out of it to benefit your business’s growth. If you’ve been interested in investing in a 3D printer but haven’t yet, then hopefully, knowing these advantages of a 3D printer should help you decide once and for all if a 3D printer is right for your business.

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