In the Internet’s early days, the “worldwide web” didn’t really start expanding until enough programmers had been trained to develop websites. Likewise, 3D printing can’t reach its full potential until more people have been trained to design all sorts of 3D-printable products.
One company that is helping to foster the growth of the 3D design community is CGTrader.com Founded in Lithuania in 2011, this 3D model marketplace now has 150,000 registered users and unites 3D modeling professionals from around the world.
Recently CGTrader.com passed a significant milestone in terms of growth. The number of models uploaded by CGTrader members rose from 10,238 in March, 2013 to more than 104,000 in March 2015.
3D-printable models are available in many categories, including aircraft, animals, household, science, architecture, gadgets, art, and fashion.
“Today, a novice consumer can go our site, download almost anything they can imagine, and send the file to a local 3D printer to pick up their model,” said Dalia Lasaite, CMO of CGTrader. com “Or, they can send the file to online printer and have the model shipped to them.”
Art, jewelry, and miniatures are currently generating the highest number of transactions.
“We started CGTrader to create fair and transparent working conditions for 3D professionals and have been uncompromising in our goals to always put the designer first,” said Marius Kalytis, CEO and founder of CGTrader.com.
While the massive publicity about 3D printing may have seemed a bit overblown at times, it has succeeded in encouraging more people to learn 3D design skills.
“While low-end 3D printers are underutilized by mainstream consumers, we believe the industry is just a few years away from producing consumer products with industrial 3D printers at mass manufacturing prices. This will create immense demand for 3D content and design skills,” said Dalia Lasaite, CMO of CGTrader.com
Advice for Designers
Contributors to the CGTrader website come from very different backgrounds from all over the world. Designers can join for free and keep all the proceeds from their first sale. A 10% royalty fee is charged to continue selling the model on the site.
According to Lasaite, “Most designers are entrepreneurial and ambitious. Many of them are working as freelancers.”
Some designers and teams of designers are doing quite well financially, she notes, “Their main business is selling stock models, and they are living off it. Typically they have large portfolios of high quality models.”
For creative professionals who want to make money creating 3D-printable models , she offers these suggestions:
- Think how you could create a large number of models with a high level of quality.
- Specialize in your favorite field.
- Think about your buyer.
- Invest in model presentation.
As some of the earliest participants of the site have learned, patience and persistence can pay off. It’s unrealistic to expect to make a lot of money from a single model.
As your experience in designing 3D models grows, you may also find job opportunities through CGTrader.com. Some site visitors turn to CGTrader.com to commission specific types of projects.