How to Start 3D Printing Business in South Africa [Step-by-Step Guide]

| Posted in:

Africa has seen significant growth in the 3D printing industry lately. In South Africa, for instance, millions of rands are being invested in the industry by the public and private sectors. If you are interested in starting a 3D printing business in South Africa, this article will help you to learn how to get started.

3D Printing in South Africa

  • According to 3D Printing Market Outlook – 2020, 3D printing market in emerging economies is expected to garner $4.5 billion by 2020.
  • The report shows that South Africa is among the emerging economies such as China, India, UAE, and Brazil that are investing substantially on the 3D printing technology.
  • In 2014, South African doctors successfully completed jawbone replacement surgery using 3D printed titanium bones and at that time it was the second time such an exercise was done anywhere in the world.
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with Aerusud, an aviation manufacturing company, have built one of the world’s biggest 3D printers. The printer has capability to print tiny items to large customized parts as tall as 2m.

What is 3D Printing?

The 3D printing process builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model, usually by successively adding material layer by layer, which is why it is also called additive manufacturing.

Why Start 3D Printing Business in South Africa?

  • 3D printing eliminates barriers associated with traditional manufacturing such as time, cost, labour, etc.
  • Entrepreneurs can gain new customers and markets (both small and big) as well as improve their cash flow.
  • 3D printing allows enterpreneurs to meet consumer demand for on-demand and advanced customisation.
  • The technology allows for rapid proof of concept and prototyping.
  • Ability to quickly create new product lines.
  • 3D printing market in South Africa is constantly growing.

How to Start a 3D Printing Business in South Africa

Initial Steps

You need the following to kickstart your dream:

  • Register a company. For your business to be formal and legitimate, you should first register a company in South Africa by following the steps outlined here.
  • Business plan. Business plans are important for all businesses. They help business owners stay focused and stick to core business goals. The document is also very important when you need to apply for funds. A good business plan must clearly state the goals of the business and how it intends to accomplish the stated goals. You can use a professional business plan writer if you are not comfortable to do it yourself.
  • 3D printer. You need a 3D printer that meets your capital size and intended output.
  • 3D printing materials. The materials include filament, resin, glass, plastic, pellets, powder, granules, wax, etc.
  • 3D design software. You will need a 3D software to design your 3D models. You can use commercial or free 3D software such as these: Google SketchUp, AutoDeskCAD, Vue Pioneer, Blender, Tinkercad, OpenSCAD, 3D Crafter, and LeoCAD.
Discover  Government Policies That Encourage Entrepreneurship

There are websites that offer 3D templates, materials and models that you can use even before you are able to buy 3D software or printer. Some websites allow you to upload your own designs. Some of the leading websites are Vectary, Tinkercad, Thingverse, and Shapeways.

How to Raise Funds for 3D Printing Business

Once you have written your business plan and have a clear idea of how much capital you need to start your 3D printing business in South Africa, you can apply for government business grants. Options include:

Venture capital is also a common source of funds for startups. Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A), for example, connects African startup entrepreneurs with the knowledge, support programs, mentors and investors they require to succeed.

3D Printing Business Types and Services

3D printing business is very broad. Your business plan will inform the decision you make regarding the type of 3D products you want to sell, products you want to print or 3D services you intend to provide.

Some of the key sectors to target include medical, automotive, architecture and interior design, robotics, arts and crafts, aerospace, cultural heritage, and clothing. Products range from prosthetics, hearing aids, spare parts, jewelery, shoes, construction models, surgical tools, furniture, and toys.

Discover  How to Start a Profitable LPG Retail Business in Kenya

You may decide to venture into 3D printing services such as selling of 3D printing materials such as filament,glass, plastic, 3D printers, and 3D software.


3D printing south africa
3D printing challenges according to

3D printing can be expensive. High-end 3D printers and printing materials cost a lot of money. Moreover, there is training cost. 3D printing requires enough training before one can operate a 3D printer or design.

It should also be noted that there is no widespread adoption of 3D printing products and services in South Africa at the moment. However, like any other new technology, this will change


3D printing industry in South Africa is growing. Public and private investments are also increasing. If you are a South African entrepreneur, you should think about entering the 3D printing space. You should, however, make sure you have done enough market and industry research.



How to Invest in South Africa’s Financial Markets

Business Opportunities in Nigeria in 2021


Investment opportunities in Africa


Hemp in Africa


Renewable Business Ideas in Africa


More about South Africa