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Subject: Custom game pieces, sets, and storage rss

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Caleb Isaacson
United States
Utah
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I'm ramping up to start a 3D printing business and I need some market research.

I want to focus on creating custom sets, replacement pieces, and custom game boxes. I would work one on one with clients to design models perfectly tailored to client needs, rather than a "one size fits all" business model. Clients would also be able to personalize items, making each item truly unique.

If you are interested or think this is a good idea, comment here or email me at agentisaacson@gmail.com
 
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Peter S.
United States
Sacramento
California
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[Fair warning, unsolicited advice incoming!]

Immediate thought: your design cost is way, WAY too low. Minimum-wage-ignoring-all-other-costs low. I realize it's just an example, but it has me worried.

Assuming this is out of a home office (and thus you're not paying any separate rent/utilities/etc. from what you'd likely be using anyway), you still have to figure how much money you want to make per commissioned hour, then factor in that you're likely not going to have 40 hours commissioned each and every week. Don't assume you'll be spending less than an hour on a given project.

Also, you'll have to ship the finished parts to your clients, so you'll need to factor that cost in as well.

I mean, this would likely be fine as a hobby or an extension of an existing Etsy-style endeavor, but "start a 3D printing business" seems like a larger, quit-your-day-job kind of idea. Serious advice: draft a complete business plan. Segment your product offerings (e.g., separately consider your "off the shelf" set of immediately printable replacement models that require minimal labor, and your premium "custom commission" product offerings with higher labor inputs, and play with differing assumptions about each). See if there are other products (revenue streams, really) it would be easy to branch out into (custom inserts, trays, or bins perhaps? Card and tile stands?). Set some realistic goals AND some conditions under which you know to end the business (far too few businesses specify the conditions under which they'll wind down and limit losses, and end up losing too much for too long as a result).

Without a complete business plan to review, no one can accurately answer the question of whether an idea for a business is a good idea because it really does depend upon those particulars.
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Peter Gray
United Kingdom
Nottingham
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This sounds interesting, and is something I briefly considered in passing a couple of years ago. What you need to look at with the model you are proposing is how much of your time it requires to meet you customers needs in relation to what they are prepared to pay you for the result.

It sounds very much like you are suggesting that you will act as the designer with the machinery taking care of the manufacturing parT of the operation. Assuming that is the case you will need to balance the cost of manufacture - initial cost of equipment, plus materials, plus power, as well as what you will charge for your time to work with the client, (you must do this even if it is a hobby business, otherwise you will not realise any personal increase in wealth from the business), against what your customers will be willing to pay for the finished items. I know the quality of 3D printed items is improving all the time, but the expectations of your clients is likely to match this.

Any kind of bespoke manufacturing always has a higher price point for the customer. That's why most of what we buy is off the peg.

Most personalised products are actually pre-designed and in many cases pre manufactured items that then have small personalised elements added to them in some way. With 3D printing, existing companies that deal with one off items tend to be print on demand type services where the customer has taken care of the design aspect in advance eliminating this cost element from the final price. They then have numerous machines that are large enough to give them an economy of scale.

I don't want to discourage you, it sounds exciting, but make sure you save if all worked out financially first - a personal 1 off game box with a resultant price of $75 is going to appeal to a limited market, given the states of most economies. That said we live in an increasingly entrepreneurial society with a global marketplace and many niche manufacturers are doing ok.

Good luck
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Dave Platt
United Kingdom
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Cost a project first. Make sure to factor everything in, materials, shipping, packaging, etc. If you're going to do all the work yourself you'll need to decide if you want to make money out of it and how much your time and effort is worth. You'll need to decide how much set up will cost and whether or not you will stand that cost or if you need to recoup it by passing it on to your customers. If anything overestimate, some extra profit is a nice bonus, but extra costs can land you in trouble.

Once you have a price for a project, post it on here and get some feedback from your potential customers.

I know all this is boring and you'd much rather be designing and making but first and foremost you need to establish just what you're getting into. Is it a viable, profitable business, a hobby that pays for itself or a black hole for your cash. You know what you want it to be, make sure as best you can that it is so before you commit time and money.
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Caleb Isaacson
United States
Utah
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Thank our for your input thus far. I've been creating a business model and your input has given me some good ideas for what to add/change.

I'll make sure to create and post a product idea with some pricing standards within he next week or so.

If anyone has something to add, please feel free, as I am still new to entrepreneurship and especially to the industry.
 
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