Selling 3D printable files?

I understand that there are a few avenues to selling your 3d printable files. Does anyone know if anyone is making any money at this? Is there any protection from having your files just passed around without payment? Who here has personal experience with this?


Once files leave your machine, anything is possible. If you don’t want something shared around, dont share it in first instance, even if paid.

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The only people making money are the ones designing for a known client, maybe a retail store or such. The websites that host your random STL’s for sale are one only ones making money and very little at that.
If you think you’re good then build a portfolio and then visit the jewelry retailers in your area and sell yourself… Victory.


Good advice.

Unfortunately my observations of sites like Shapeways, Cafepress, 3Dhubs, Etsy, eBay, and many more is that there are so many people trying to sell their wares that almost everyone gets drowned out in the digital noise. I’m sure there are some people making a decent living; but they are the exception to the rule.

If one is making a some money selling via these sites; I’m sure they are spending boatloads of time on the sites keeping their presence at the top of the pile where people are likely to see there stuff in the first 5-pages or less.

I looked into 3Dhubs; but I found their Terms and Conditions way too restrictive considering their 12% commission. It was a moot point however as they weren’t accepting any SLA printers at the moment due to a glut.

If people want to sell files then what would probably work best rather than sending the files is for the printer manufacturer to design something in their printer software where the owner of the 3D file could submit the printing project to the printer remotely to where it would have a temporary print “license” to print the file and the end user wouldn’t be able to access the actual file.

If you just want to sell your designs and don’t want to deal with the actual printing then the best bet is services like Shapeways.

Isn’t that just what shapeways does already ?

Sort of, but I’m talking about if I have a 3D printer and I want to print someone else’s 3D file and they don’t want to just send me the file (for security reasons) there would need to be something implemented with Preform where I could print something without having access to the raw file and it couldn’t be shared with anyone else.