3D Printing and Review Website Business Idea

I’ve discussed 3D printing before and how it’s poised to be a huge field in the coming years…but it’s still got time.

Perfect opportunity for the early bird.

I wanted to do this project, in fact I already started it, but I’m also at a position in my life where I realize I’m not Superman and can’t handle 10 projects at a time….well, I can, but each one suffers from lack of attention, therefore stifling its growth. So this is another one of those good ideas that bites the dust on my end, but there’s no reason it can’t be done very successfully by someone else with the proper expertise and time.

I wanted to create a 3D printing review site that would also tie in a 3D printing service. The 3D print site would need regular news updates, a comparison page, a user registration system along with integrated forums. This would require the person to actually be pretty interested in 3D printing, seek out demos, post reviews and pictures/videos of actual products being made. Basically like a “TechCrunch of 3D printing” or an “Engadget of 3D printing.”

If you have no idea what the above paragraph means then this idea probably isn’t for you.

So the site would have several different things to offer:

  • 3D printing news
  • 3D printer reviews
  • 3D printer videos, demos, example prints
  • 3D print forum where users can discuss
  • 3D print files hosting where users can download 3D CAD and .stl files of ready-to-print objects (maybe even make some iStockPhoto style buying system).
  • 3D print services where a user can upload a 3D file and have it printed for a fee.


Implementation….
The technical requirements seem a little daunting at first, but it’s actually very simple with the help of content management system Joomla. I found some great Joomla Templates at RocketTheme.com and posted one on a domain I bought called 3DprintFactory.com. They already come integrated with forums, user-uploaded news features, user registration etc….so everything is basically included. You can even move the different modules around with great ease, which makes Joomla and these templates extremely easy to use.

Here’s the sample site I put up on 3DPrintFactory.com just to test the system:


Influences…..
The person doing this should try to emulate how other niche-interest sites like DevArticles.com, SitePoint.com and others got to be so big….integrating good information for a variety of skill levels and allowing for lots of community interaction (ie forums etc).

A good example of how NOT TO DO THIS is http://www.fabaloo.com/

They basically take small snippets of 3dprinting news from here and there and post it in a blog-like format. This is a decent idea, but it won’t really go anywhere because it provides little (if any) value. The goal here is to become an online authority on 3D Printing information, and eventually tie in a 3D printing service.

Some examples of a 3Dprinting service are:
http://www.sweetonioncreations.com/index.html
http://www.alphaprototypes.com/

An example of hosting 3D print files is:
http://www.bathsheba.com/downloads/

Money Would Come From….
So the site would have a multifaceted stream of income:

  • Regular contextual ads. Google, Yahoo yadda yadda…
  • Corporate sponsorships. If you make a great comparison page, have good reviews and in general do a great job on the news/information side of the website, it will eventually rank highly on search engines. Prove you have a captive audience of 3Dprinting enthusiasts, including purchasing agents for companies interested in the technology, and the sponsorship deals will sell.
  • Text links. You can probably command a high price for text links if you do a good job with the site because it’s such a niche (and profitable) subject.
  • Reviews. Company XYZ comes out with new product, and if you’re a strong authority on the subject, they request you do a review of their new product.
  • 3D Print Service. If you’re the authority on 3D printing, you can direct traffic to your own “Pay Per Print” service, or setup an affiliate sharing program with someone who already does it. This could easily be more profitable than all of the above combined.

I think this is a GREAT idea, and now is the perfect time since this technology is just breaking out of its infancy!

For what it’s worth, here’s the original design specs I drew out:

Blog posted on: March 5, 2008

26 comments on “3D Printing and Review Website Business Idea

  1. salacious

    This is a nice road map for creating a site. Its applicable to anyone thinking about making a site about any topic at all. And the part were you said “The goal here is to become an online authority..” should be the underlying goal of any site that someone is considering creating…

    Reply
  2. Sebastien

    Inspiring… You have just given the first heartbeat for 10? 50? 100? websites about specific topics! People just usually do not have the “how to”…

    Thank you for everything you write, and idea exchange you generate!

    Reply
  3. Jake

    Hi Neville,

    Great post about 3d Printing…it’s truly amazing technology. As more and more people have free tools like
    Google Sketchup to design with, I think we’ll see personal fabrication rise.

    The prepping of .STL files can be a challenge but with 3d printing in mind from the get-go of a design, the CAD file can be built correctly.

    Thanks for posting our site as a link.

    Best,
    Jake
    Sweet Onion Creations

    Reply
  4. Kevin Gao

    Great idea Neville – your tactical thoughts on targeting a niche market through online products/services is very similar to the 4 hour workweek (and I see you mention Ferriss in an earlier post). Have you met him?

    Reply
  5. Dominik

    Merci pour ce interessant article sur referencement site web.

    Ton Site 3D Printing and Review Website Business Idea | Neville’s Financial Blog est une inestimable source d’infos .

    Reply
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