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What You Need to Know When Starting a 3D Printing Business [Profitability]


One of the top questions we get from prospective customers looking to get into the 3D printing business to sell 3D printed portraits is how to price their products to ensure they run a profitable 3D printing business. It’s a tricky question since the answer is going to vary based on your local market, business model and who your core customers are. In this post we’re going to do our best to breakdown all of the main factors you need to consider when setting up your business and setting retail prices to ensure profitability. Here is what we’ll go over:

  • Understanding Location/Event Costs
  • 3D Printed Figurine Production Costs
  • Setting Retail Costs for Profitability

Understanding Location/Event Costs

As you’re thinking about what you need to charge it’s really important to understand the costs of the locations/events you intent to set up your 3D printing business for 3D portraits in. When prospective customers come to us they often have a particular use case in mind as to how they want to use our full body 3D scanner for 3D printed figurines. Here is a list of common use cases we hear:

  • Tourist locations
  • Comic cons (read case study)
  • Pet shows
  • Volleyball tournaments
  • Baseball picture day
  • Miniature conventions
  • Mall kiosks for the holidays (learn how to minimize risk)
  • Corporate events
  • Portrait studios (read customer interview)
  • Personalized sports trophies
  • Makerspaces
  • Sports stadiums
  • Cruise terminals
  • Hotel resorts
  • Wedding venues
  • Museums (set up in the gift shop!)
  • Trampoline parks

As you can see the possibilities are endless and there are likely many more use cases that aren’t covered in the above list.

We even hear an increasing number of customers with use cases for 3D scanning in augmented reality and virtual reality.


To prevent this post from becoming too long we are going to focus on how to price for just 2 use cases for 3D printed figurine businesses: tourist locations and miniature conventions. For use cases we aren’t covering you should be able to extrapolate out yourself or get in contact with us. If you want someone to work through numbers with you, we’d be happy to help.

Contact Sales

Tourist Locations

  • Rent: Varies a lot by location, but could be anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000 /month. Some locations also require you give them a percentage of revenue on top of rent. 
  • Staffing: In many cases you’ll want to staff it at first and then over time get a retail employee who is good at retail sales to help run it. You usually need no more than 1 person to run a location. When you do hire a retail employee, it is usually a good idea to incentive them with a sales commission based on the revenue they generate.
  • Miscellaneous costs: Costs like power/internet are usually negligible relative to rent, but do add up. Make sure to do your own research and check with your location.
  • Twindom Subscription: For busy locations you'll very likely be on our Unlimited Plan which is $499 /month. This lets you process an unlimited amount of 3D previews every month.

Examples of good tourist locations to locate a 3D printing business to sell 3D printed figurines include: New York City, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Orlando, Miami etc. Even if you're not near one of these major cities, it's still very possible you have a local attraction nearby that would be a great fit for a 3D printing business selling 3D portraits.

Miniature Conventions


  • Event Costs: This can range from $250 to +$2,500 for a miniature show depending on the size of the event and how many days it lasts. You'll want to check with the event organizer on exact costs.
  • Staffing: While you only need 1 person to run the full body 3D scanner, you will likely want 1 other person there to set up the full body 3D scanner and assist with crowd control
  • Transportation Cost: The Twinstant Mobile full body 3D scanner fits in the back of a regular sized car so transportation costs should be minimal apart from gas and maybe lodging (in case you need to travel)
  • Twindom Subscription: For 1 event you likely only need our Starter Plan which is $299 /month and gives you up to 100 processed 3D previews. (Tip: You can turn off the subscription for months you’re not using your 3D scanner.)

Want to know where to find miniature conventions? Follow this link for a directory of shows to figure out event pricing. They are held in all different parts of the country, so chances are there is one in your area.

3D Printed Figurine Production Costs

The costs to fulfill the 3D printed portraits you sell at your location/event are thankfully a bit more straightforward than the prior section. If you haven’t viewed our fulfillment price sheet already, click the button below to download the most up to date fulfillment pricing. There are a wide array of products you can sell with standard 3D portrait sizes ranging from 3 inch to 9 inch and oversized 3D printed portraits running up to 14 inches. There are also 3D crystals and digital files optimized for AR/VR you can sell to customers.
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Download 3D Figurine Wholesale Pricing

*Introducing full-color resin 3D printing*

Download Full-color Resin Price Sheet

For shipping and sales tax, the majority of our customers just pass those directly onto their customer. For reference the most popular sizes our customers sell are 6 inch to 8 inch sizes.

*If you’re looking to set up a 3D printing business to sell 3D portraits internationally you can leverage our bulk shipping program where we batch ship the ordered 3D portraits to you and then you ship directly to your customers or have them come pick up their order. Doing it this way also helps with import duties since the duties are only calculated on the 3D print production cost and not on the full retail cost the customer paid for their 3D portrait. If this is something you want to leverage, please get in contact with us for more details.

Setting Retail Prices for Profitability

A common rule you’ll hear in retail sales is a 3x markup on your cost of goods. The 3x markup is meant to cover your location/event costs and leave you with enough left over to make a profit. Keep in mind that this is merely a guideline and not a requirement. The amount of markup you need for your business will vary depending on how much your location/event costs are relative to your fulfillment costs for the 3D printed figurines you sell. To get a better idea of this, let's dive into our tourist location and miniature convention examples:

Tourist Location Retail Pricing


  • An example single day's sales numbers could be selling 7 3D printed figurines with a size breakdown of:
    • 1 4-inch single person (1 x $36 = $36 print fulfillment cost)
    • 1 5-inch single person (1 x $42 = $42 print fulfillment cost)
    • 2 6-inch single person (2 x $59 = $118 fulfillment cost)
    • 1 6-inch three person (1 x $155 = $155 fulfillment cost)
    • 2 7-inch single person (2 x $70 = $140 fulfillment cost)
  • At a 3x markup your total revenue for the day could be $1,473 with retail prices looking like:
    • 1 4-inch single person (1 x $108 = $108 retail)
    • 1 5-inch single person (1x $126 = $126 retail)
    • 2 6-inch single person (2 x $177 = $354 retail)
    • 1 6-inch three person (1 x $465 = $465 retail)
    • 2 7-inch single person (2 x $210 = $420 retail)
  • Extrapolating this out for a month means $1,473 x 30 = $44,190 in total revenue
  • To figure out the amount you could have left over for staffing and profit, if we subtract out our fulfillment costs and $15,000 for rent plus the $499 /month monthly subscription we are left with $13,961

*While these retail prices may look high, keep in mind that in many tourist destinations, these price levels are fairly inline with what people are used to paying in expensive destinations. You can also experiment with lowering the price points for different sizes to see if a slight loss in % margin is made up for in increased sales volume.

Don't think this is enough profit?

Try increasing your retail pricing by $10 or $20 and see how close you get. It’s very possible that your customers won’t care about the $10 or $20 difference because the 3D printed figurine product is that cool to them. You can also try other tactics like selling 3D printed figurines as a package or investing money into display cases. Display cases and boxes can be $1 on Alibaba and you can sell them as an add-on for $10. If you're still stuck, feel free to reach out to us for more tips on how to make tourist locations more profitable.

*While you can use the above numbers as a starting point, please do not solely rely on them. Make sure to do your own research on whether you think a particular tourist location will work for you and check the latest versions of our fulfillment price sheet to ensure you have the most up to date pricing.

Miniature Convention Retail Pricing

For selling to the miniature community we recommend utilizing our new colored resin 3D printing


  • An example event's sales numbers could be selling 55 3D printed figurines with a size breakdown of:
    • 35 1-inch single person (35 x $15 = $525 print fulfillment cost)
    • 10 2-inch single person (10 x $31 = $310 print fulfillment cost)
    • 10 3-inch two person (10 x $54 = $540 fulfillment cost)
  • At a 3x markup your total revenue for the day could be $1,473 with retail prices looking like:
    • 35 1-inch single person (35 x $45 = $1,575 retail)
    • 10 2-inch single person (10 x $93 = $930 retail)
    • 10 3-inch single person (10 x $162 = $1,620 retail)
  • Adding all of these numbers up could mean total revenues of $4,125
  • To figure out what your potential profit could be, if we subtract out our fulfillment costs and a ~$1,000 event fee from the miniature show organizers and spread the Twindom subscription over an average of 2 events per month, we are left with $1,600. Assuming your transportation costs are negligible, most of this should be your potential profit from just 1 miniature show.

Don't think this enough profit?

Like the tourist location example, try increasing your retail prices by $10 or $20 and see how close you get to your profitability goal. People in the miniature community are extremely passionate about their scale models and are usually willing to pay premium for the right product. Get in contact with us for other tips on running mobile events.

*While you can use the above numbers as a guide, please do not solely rely on them. Make sure to do your own research on whether you think a particular miniature convention will work for you and check the latest versions of our fulfillment price sheet to ensure you have the most up to date pricing.


We hope you found this post helpful as you’re planning your 3D printing business. Setting retail pricing for any product is always tricky and it's important to as much research as possible as you assess the viability of a new business venture. Whether you're planning on getting started in the next few weeks or just doing general research please keep in mind that 3D portraits is still a very new technology and you should expect a lot of continued product innovation that open up new use cases in the years to come. 

Curious about how the 3D printed portrait industry could grow over time?
View Infographic