When your 3D printer is no longer useful, what do you do?
The answer depends on the situation, of course. In some cases the printer is no longer useful because it happens to be broken and unrepairable. In that case you’re looking at the scrap heap, parting it out or using it as a museum piece.
What’s more interesting is how you can sell a working, although not-useful-to-you, 3D printer.
Your first step always is to ensure the machine is in fact in good running order. It should be cleaned — which is quite important, as most 3D printing processes tend to leave debris or liquids all over the device. Their presence can give a prospective buyer the wrong idea if seen.
Here are some ideas:
Someone You Know
The best way to dispose of a working 3D printer is to strike a deal with someone you know. This could be an individual, company or organization that happens to have a match in requirements to the machine you no longer require.
An advantage to this approach is that you will have trust in the buyer and can be reasonably assured you will get paid, unlike some other selling scenarios.
Another advantage is that there could be low or zero shipping costs. If the party is local, where most of your contacts are likely to be, they simply pick it up. No shipping costs required.
General Online Marketplaces for 3D Printers
There are plenty of large online marketplaces on which one could consider selling a 3D printer. The big ones, such as eBay, KiJiJi and Craigslist come to mind, and if you look carefully you will find quantities of machines for sale.
The advantage of these services is that they are big. They have enormous numbers of online participants, a slim margin of whom might be interested in buying your device.
The disadvantage is that they are likely to be located far away and thus shipping costs may be required. These can be substantial if the machine is large. Another consideration is that the other party may reside in another country, resulting in additional paperwork and potentially approvals. However, in most cases the buyer will accept looking after those complications.
3D Printer Brokers
There are a very few machine brokers specializing in 3D printers. These small organizations maintain a list of machines known to be for sale and actively seek out buyers who might match the requirements.
This is often the best course of action for larger or more obscure devices that have very small audiences of potential buyers. However, the broker could take a somewhat larger cut of the sale price as their fee for creating the deal.
Specialized 3D Printer Marketplace
Finally, there are a very few specialized online marketplaces dealing in 3D printers. These are essentially “eBay for 3D printer” operations. One we’ve recently seen is 3DPrinterBoom, which lists only 3D printers and related items.
While these operations may seem to be the ideal spot for such sales, the challenge is that they do not have the traffic of, say, eBay. They may attract only 3D printer buyers, but are there any more than would be sailing through eBay itself?
Nevertheless, they often offer advertisements at no charge. 3DPrinterBoom, for example, offers free listings for 90 days. In some cases that might be sufficient to make a sale. And the price is right: it literally costs you nothing to post a listing.