I started selling my designs on Etsy and it’s been a great learning experience. Just in time manufacturing with 3D printing is really awesome, but assuming the role of manufacturer has had some unexpected issues come about.
With only one printer, I found that it was always busy printing something! Some of my designs can take up to 8 hours to print, and if an influx of orders come in, I might have to update my shipping times. You can load up your build plate (see picture above), but it also raises the risk of failure. If the print fails, you usually will lose everything. Time is money, and waste is money!
No Time to Tinker
I think a lot of people get into this hobby because they like to tinker and experiment. If your printer is busy printing, you won’t be able to tinker as much.
The easiest solution to this is to buy another printer. You can dedicate one for tinkering with, or print orders with the extra printers. The downside to this is that you’ll have to buy another printer. Depending on what printer you have, this might not be financially feasible.
When you have downtime, print your most popular parts so that you have inventory. I’ve started keeping at least one of each item on hand so that at least I have a leg up on things. For the most popular things, I keep more on hand.