So how do you go about making money with the STL models that you created in your 3D printing journey? If you are working with a 3D printer you no doubt have a number of STL files. You may have collected them by downloading them from Thingiverse or you have actually created them. If you have created some original 3D models, we are going to break down the best places to sell your files to get a little extra cash.
The question that a lot of 3D designers have is how do you monetize your 3D designs? Many 3D designers want their hobby to generate some sort of income to support the expense costs of filament and the 3D printer itself.
Another, more consistent option, is Patreon. Patreon is best for designers that are consistently producing content monthly. Creating a Patreon is a good way for creators with a little bit of a following. By paying you a monthly subscription fee, your followers get access to your models and any new models you choose to upload to the platform. You can create different tiers varying in price and can upload models whenever you would like. As you produce new STL files, the stipend you receive is your monthly subscription fee multiplied by however many members you have. The more members you have, the higher your income is each month. This is more consistent pay and can be better for people who set aside dedicated time to create.
To solve this problem, we recommend selling your physical prints instead of selling your STL files and you don’t have to build a 3D printing farm in your home to do this. Using a service like Angled or Shapeways, you can submit your STL files to these platforms and sell your 3D prints to anyone in the world. For example on Angled.io when a customer makes a purchase on our website, we print the product using the STL file the designer gave us and then ship it out within days. Once a designer sells one of their prints, they receive royalties from Angled for each product they sell. If you create a rockstar product you can easily make consistent money each month similar to Patreon; all without having to distribute your STL files. Creators have full control of their designs at all times, and STL files are securely stored within the Angled database. Sites like Angled are perfect for the designer who wants to make money but keep control of their original art without the pain of running a business.
Those are a few sites and ways you can make money with your STL files you are creating. If you are prolific, go on Patreon, if you have a few files you can use the standard 3D model repositories, or if you want to maintain control of your files you can use a print-on-demand service like Angled or Shapeways.