3D print on demand is already here. Is the future of ecommerce in front of our eyes?

POD Weekly #54

3D print on demand is already here. Is the future of ecommerce already in front of our eyes?


Last week, I designed and created my first 3D print on demand product in about 30 minutes. It was a simple setup process – far simpler than I imagined and it’s made me think much more about the role of 3d printing in the future of ecommerce.

This past November, we linked to a story about a newly released Shopify app from Voodoo Manufacturing. The app makes it easy for any Shopify store owner to add custom a handful of 3d print-on-demand products, including coasters, cookie cutters, and wall hooks.

Read more: Print on Demand Apps for Shopify

In the midst of the holiday season, cookie cutters seemed like an appropriate product to setup. After converting some PNG files to SVG files, I uploaded 5 cookie cutter designs and placed a sample order, all in about 30 minutes.

Read more about using the Voodoo app on EcomLoop: Combine Shopify and Voodoo 3D printing to quickly create custom cookie cutters for your next batch of Rachael Ray inspired mouth-watering treats this holiday season

While the product options in the Voodoo Shopify app are limited, they are really just the starting point. Nearly any design can be create with 3d printing and custom design files. A visit to Voodoo’s own site shows some of the endless possibilities they can create.

While Voodoo only offers plastics currently, 3D print on demand isn’t just limited to plastic materials. Shapeways, another 3d print on demand platform, offers a range of materials including aluminum, silver, platinum, gold, sandstone and more.

With Shapeways, the setup process isn’t quite as fast, but the products available in their marketplace appear extremely detailed and of professional quality. With products including gold jewelry, model trains, precision parts, phone cases and more, it’s impressive to see how many products can already be printed – and how this may be the future of ecommerce.

shapeways 3d print on demand marketplaceSUMMARY: 3D print on demand capabilities are already here from companies like Voodoo and Shapeways printing products in plastic, aluminum, sandstone, silver, and gold to create products including precision parts, fine jewelry, cookie cutters and more. Have you created any 3d print on demand products yet? 



Each week, we share content from a variety of sources intended to help print-on-demand sellers. Get even more links by following us on Facebook or Twitter


Looking for passive income? Merch by Amazon seller Michael Essany discusses his success in this Time.com article

Passive Income: Michael Essany Talks Making Money Online
Julia Glum Money

Essany is a genius when it comes to print on demand, an increasingly popular way to generate passive income online. Generally, passive income models involve people putting in work up front and then perpetually earning cash from it without maintenance. In print on demand, entrepreneurs use services like Merch by Amazon and Redbubble to sell shirts, hoodies and accessories they’ve designed without ever having to handle inventory, ship heavy boxes or answer customer emails.1



Turn browsers into customers by utlilizing #socialproof throuh product reviews. Here’s how to get reviews.

How to Get More Product Reviews for Your Online Store
Giedrė Kronberga Blog – Printful

Real product reviews, on the other hand, give uncertain customers an unbiased look into the quality of your products and overall experience of buying from your store. They also offer the outsider’s point of view that first-time shoppers don’t have — they describe your product in ways that you, as a store owner, never thought of.
And don’t worry about negativity — as long as the majority of your reviews are positive, negativity will only add more insight than anything else. In fact, over 80% of online shoppers will specifically search for negative reviews. And if a product only has 5-star ones, they are less likely to buy it than those with 4.X-star ratings.2



Ready for the first holiday of 2019? It may be the busy holiday shopping season, but it’s also time to look ahead to next year.

Valentine’s Day HOT Selling Items for Print on Demand Stores
Elina Jurkane Printify

It’s the first big retail event of the year, so you should start gathering Valentine’s Day marketing and design tips early, in preparation for the increase in demand. Valentine’s Day Spending Slapping some hearts on a few products and email campaigns is not enough to tip motivated consumers your way. Creating promotions that drive action and strike an emotional chord with your customers requires some research, planning, and effort. That’s why we’ve pulled together top marketing and design tips for Valentine’s Day to help you aim your arrow true and maximize sales this holiday season. From search trends to high in-demand product designs – everything you need to kick off the new year right is down below.3



Want to hit 2019 running? Now’s the time to plan. LIsten to this MerchMinds podcast to get ideas for the new year.

Merch Minds Podcast – Episode 109: 2019 Predictions and Goals
Merch Minds Podcast with Glen and Yong

Yong is going to focus on quality as he always has. Glen talked about getting back on a schedule and getting his wife more involved in his eBay business. Either way, they agreed that it’s important to not give up and to try and scale in 2019. What are you guys doing to try and scale next year? Will you focus more on filling up your slots or marketing? Either way, let us know what your strategy is to grow in 2019.4



Looking for stories of new ways to use print-on-demand? Check out what these 3 small businesses did.

How Small Businesses Use Teespring to Create More Than Merch – Teespring Community
Teespring Community

After customers began to inquire about their employees’ unique uniforms, daughter Rachel Tufano began using Teespring’s made-to-order service, Teespring Direct, before eventually turning to a print-on-demand model and opened a Teespring storefront for the business.“The customers were actually a pretty big part of why I chose Teespring as well, because I’d be able to just give people the links to the designs and they could purchase them on their own versus us having to order hundreds in bulk and either give them away for free (which is SO costly) or make little to no profit on them because they were so expensive to buy to begin with (again, SO costly).”5



Learn how this mom used print-on-demand to create a succcessful t-shirt busniess – with no upfront inventory.

Chicago mom creates T-shirt line to empower women of color – Story

Her T-shirts with phrases like “Slay,” “Brown Skin Woman,” and “Caribbean Queen” caught the eye of some high profile celebs, like Issa Rae from HBO’s “Insecure,” Yara Shahidi from “Black-ish,” and Thandie Newtown from “West World.””She actually found me on Instagram and asked me to send her some shirts and she wore them,” Williams said.Printful, an online company, prints, packs and ships the orders so Williams can focus on her full-time job.6



Americans want sidehustles. If you’re looking for a low cost way to get started, check out print-on-demand.

Americans Dream of Starting a Side Hustle to Quit Their Day Jobs
Volusion Bootstrapping Ecommerce

Americans say they want to work…as long as they’re doing something they’re passionate about.

While two-thirds of Americans (67%) say they would still work on something they were passionate about after winning the lotto, men were more likely to agree (70%) than women (64%).
Millennials are most motivated to work on their passion project post-winnings (79%), followed by 34-54 year olds (70%), and 55+ (54%).
If it were financially feasible, 75% of Americans and 84% of full-time workers would rather focus on a job or career tied to one of their passions.

The study also found a gender gap in pursuing passion: More men (80%) would rather focus on a job or career tied to one of their passions, as opposed to women (71%)
Four-year college graduates agree with this the most (85%) followed by post-graduates (82%), some college/2-years of college (81%), and those with a high school degree or less (65%).7



Need some design inspiration? Check out these super-simple maps.

These Are Barely Maps
Jason Kottke kottke.org








Order custom t-shirt designs with free revisions to take advantage of these opportunities. 

Tue, December 25    Christmas
Mon, December 31    New Year’s Eve
Tue, January 1    New Year’s Day
Thu, February 1    Black History Month
Fri, February 2    Groundhog Day
Wed, February 14    Valentine’s Day

Bold entries are new since last week


  1. http://time.com/money/5465676/this-36-year-old-dad-is-the-king-of-selling-t-shirts-online-and-hes-sharing-detailed-strategies-on-how-others-can-make-thousands-a-month-too/
  2. https://www.printful.com/blog/how-to-get-more-product-reviews/
  3. https://printify.com/valentines-day-marketing-and-design-tips-for-print-on-demand-stores/
  4. http://merchminds.libsyn.com/episode-109
  5. https://community.teespring.com/blog/how-small-businesses-use-teespring/
  6. http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/local/chicago-mom-creates-t-shirt-line-to-empower-women-of-color
  7. https://bootstrappingecommerce.com/starting-a-side-hustle/
  8. https://kottke.org/18/11/these-are-barely-maps
  9. Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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