- Updated in August 2022
The burgeoning 3D printing industry of India offers multiple business opportunities. Because of the tremendous growth, India’s young entrepreneurs are being attracted towards setting up a 3D printing business in the country. It is also mainly because of these reasons that the Indian 3D printing industry is largely dominated by startups. On 24th February, 2022, India launched its 3D Printing Policy and one of its focus on developing 100 new Startups. This in itself indicates that the time is ripe for you to start a 3D printing business.
However, to establish a profitable business, it is first important to know the different 3D printing business opportunities in India and how you can leverage your skills to succeed. Let us look at some of the 3D printing business opportunities in India.
3D Printing Business Opportunities in India
3D Printer Manufacturer
This is one of the top 3D printing business opportunities in India at the moment. Manufacturing a 3D printer requires technical know-how, an experience in building machines or at least the passion to build one and a sound understanding of electronics and coding. Global manufacturers have survived long years of competition due to the stability and reliability their printers provide and with constant innovation. The industry and technology is still developing and without constantly adding new features and enhancing the printing experience, the business may not earn customers.
The current market is small for a 3D printing business in India but this also means that the opportunity to grow is huge. Now that India has its own 3D printing policy, the market is expected to grow exponentially. it is growing rapidly year on year. Now that the Government of India has launched its 3D printing policy, the scope and awareness of the technology will grow and we will see exponential growth in the coming decade.
- Initial Investment: Medium to High (Depending on which technology you want to build)
- Investment Considerations: Investment in raw materials to build multiple products, R&D costs
3D Printing Material Manufacturer
This business too, like 3D printer manufacturing business, is highly technical and even more capital intensive than 3D printer manufacturing. Manufacturing of FDM filaments or SLA/DLP resins will require a considerable amount of research if you are starting from scratch. Concocting unique or new resins increase the difficulty level.
Even for manufacturing filaments, you will need to invest in extruding machine/s, equipment, spend time in research and development of materials, testing and validating the products, and producing in bulk quantities. The setup will need a lot of monetary resources as well considering the fact that the returns on investment will take time to realise.
The success of the business will depend on the growth of the 3D printing industry regionally, nationally or internationally, but the main advantage here is that materials are consumables and thus have a quick turnaround time.
These are still early days for the technology and though the 3D printing materials market has a lot of competition, it is still quite easy to make a mark in the industry with a high-quality product.
- Initial Investment: High
- Investment Considerations: Upfront investment in extrusion machines to manufacture filaments and raw materials for both filament and resins
3D Printing Service Provider
One of the most common 3D printing business opportunities in India is through providing 3D printing services to those in need. The obvious step is to buy a good reliable 3D printer and offer 3D printing services. A lot of business around the world have started in this same fashion. Once the service starts to pick up and revenue starts to flow, new printers and materials can be incorporated in the business.
- Initial Investment: Low to Medium
- Investment Considerations: Upfront capital investment in buying 3D printers and materials, marketing your business as there is high competition
3D Printer & Material Reseller/Distributor
This can be called as one of the popular as global companies are looking for partners in India who can sell their products. Established brands across the world want to enter the Indian market and the simplest way is to appoint distributors and spread the brand in India. Indian buyers want easy access to the 3D printers, after-sales support and on-demand availability of the feed materials.
An easy way for young entrepreneurs to start a business but the market is competitive. It can be said that starting a distributorship or reselling the printers and materials is a great way to start a 3D printing business in India due to the huge untapped Indian market. This business will need medium to high initial investment.
- Initial Investment: Medium to High
- Investment Considerations: Upfront investment in stocking the 3D printers and materials
3D Printing Accessories & Supplies
3D printing in India is fairly new and the market is still developing. Local manufacturers are still learning and trying to build a competitive product. They are constantly in need of 3D printing accessories and supplies like hot-ends, nozzles, lead screws, motors, lasers, projectors, end-stoppers, electronics, hat beds, silicone mats, etc.
Most of these items are imported from UK, US, China as they provide the best quality and many of the times low cost. The importing takes time and a small number of items end up being costly. It is better to buy from a local supplier instead of importing it individually. So, supplying 3D printing accessories is also a good business opportunity.
This 3D printing business in India will certainly help a lot of manufacturers by reducing the delays & saving costs. This business will require a fair bit of contacts and knowledge of importing goods along with medium investment for the first shipment of goods.
- Initial Investment: Medium to High (It will also require you to on-board partners on your platform)
- Investment Considerations: Initial investment in stocking the supplies
3D Printing Courses
The world is gripped by 3D printing and India is catching up. One of the main reasons is the absence of knowledge about 3D printing business in India. Even Indian companies are facing this problem when they approach a potential client and educating them becomes a big task. The simple solution is to teach 3D printing to a wide class of people. This basically includes students and SME’s who are most likely use and make a career in 3D printing.
Currently, very few courses are available for learning this technology. Skilled teachers with of knowledge in 3D printing can look to start a 3D printing teaching business in India. It is one of the much-needed skills for Indian students and can prove to be highly rewarding. This 3D printing business in India will require small to medium investment, mainly for the infrastructure.
- Initial Investment: Low to Medium
- Investment Considerations: Mostly on infrastructure and marketing
Niche Product Manufacturing (Dentistry, Jewellery, etc.)
3D printing has the potential to impact almost all business sectors but instead of catering to the complete audience, focussing on a niche can be a great start for the business. Attain expertise in your specific niche and build other products around your niche.
For example, there is a great opportunity for 3D printing in dentistry or in the jewellery industry. This will help in gaining expertise and technical problems and their subsequent solutions.
This idea will require focused approach and will need a medium to high investment for buying the relevant 3D printers and materials.
- Initial Investment: Medium to High
- Investment Considerations: Upfront capital investment in machines and materials
Selfies are a craze but they have an inherent limitation. There’s no physical form to it. A 3D Selfie is also gaining popularity around the world and kiosks are set up at malls to print 3D selfies and enabling people to take home their physical model. That is why, this is one of the most sought-after 3D printing business opportunities in India at the moment. This may be a passing trend and may not be a long-term business but cashing on this trend can prove to be highly beneficial.
A considerable amount of risk is involved and it will require high investment in the kiosk, designing artists for cleaning the 3D CAD file and then printing out the model (it can be a personal printer or getting it done through a service).
- Initial Investment: Medium to High
- Investment Considerations: You will require software solutions, 3D printers, Materials and Post-Processing equipment to offer these services which will increase costs. Also high marketing costs are involved.
3D Printer Add-Ons
Raspberry Pi and Arduino devices have revolutionised the complete DIY industry. People are using these mini processors to build cool projects and products which are capable of winning hackathon prizes. Some such projects have even attracted established companies. 3D printing has also benefitted a lot with such devices. You can create new & intelligent solutions for a 3D printer using these devices and sell those Add-Ons to manufacturers or directly to consumers. You can check for numerous such Raspberry Pi projects online.
Raspberry Pi modules are also useful for running OctoPrint which can be perfect if you wish to monitor and control your 3D printer from anywhere. Know more about OctoPrint and the best OctoPrint plugins to get the most out of your 3D printer.
This 3D printing business in India is completely new and people have not concentrated on building this idea into a business but it has the potential. This business will require minimal investment at the initial stage with possibly high returns. Even students can start such a business.
- Initial Investment: Medium
- Investment Considerations: Mostly marketing and initial investment in stocking the add-ons like Raspberry Pi
3D Modelling & Designing Services
3D modelling and designing services is not an actual business as such but it can be used to generate revenue. You can model and design innovative products and sell those designs online on sites 3D printing community sites like GamBody, Pinshape, etc. You can also participate in their regular competitions and possibly win prizes like an actual 3D printer.
The business can be started with zero investment as it only requires a modelling software. Modelling software is freely available for students. You can know more about them in a separate article on the Best Free CAD software.
- Initial Investment: High
- Investment Considerations: Designing software license fees and designer salaries
Start a Makerspace
A makerspace is a collaborative work space that can be located inside a school, a workshop, or any public/private location where people of all ages can come to make, learn, share, and explore the joy of making things. CNC machines, laser cutters/engravers, woodworking equipment, simpler drill machines, and a variety of other tools, including 3D printers, are some of the common machines you’ll find at a makerspace. All of these tools are made available to the public for a fee in order for them to build the products they desire.
A makerspace does not need all machines and can begin with a few tools. If necessary, the founders of these makerspaces can crowdsource some tools. Makerspaces around the world also receive a lot of funding or donations from local schools and institutes where their students can go on a regular basis to gain practical experience in making things. 3D printing companies can also donate a 3D printer.
As a makerspace owner, you can charge people by the hour or by the number of machines they have access to.
Initial Investment: Medium to High
Investment Considerations: Finding a place with reasonable rent, marketing of the makerspace and buying a few machines and tools.
Make Money with 3D Printing
You will undoubtedly make money with these various business ideas; however, if you are only looking at 3D printing as a side hustle and still want to make money with 3D printing, then please see our dedicated article on How to Make Money with 3D Printing in 2022.
You read about some of the popular 3D printing business opportunities in India. Some of these can be started from lowest possible investment to substantially high amount of initial investment. A large number of entrepreneurs are attracted to this emerging technology and the best part is that this technology is still evolving. But remember that starting a business is not as easy as it sounds. If you wish to know how to start a 3D printing business in India in 2023, then you do check out our detailed article which covers all aspects of running a business.
This is the right time to set up a 3D printing business in India considering its huge manufacturing industry. According to the recently launched 3D printing policy, India aspires to achieve goals such as contributing 5% to the global AM market with a target to add nearly US$1 Bn to the national GDP by 2025. So, the time is ripe.
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