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  • Three Dimensional Printing Specialist

3D Printing Specialist

Work Activities

As a 3D Printing Specialist, you will print items using three-dimensional printers. Customers will ask you to print a product for them.

3D printers can create an amazing variety of things. These include:

  • mechanical parts
  • furniture
  • jewellery
  • prosthetics
  • clothes and shoes
  • home items such as spatulas, dishes, coasters and plant pots
  • a copy of a key
  • phone cases
  • laptop and phone stands

When a customer enters your shop, you will need to find out what they would like to be printed. This will include finding out the dimensions required and what type of material they would like it to be made of, for example metal or plastic. You will then use a 3D printer to make the product.

You might have some products already printed and ready to sell to the public. However, some items need to be custom made, such as mechanical parts, prototypes and prosthetics. These types of products will need to have a digital file which you will upload to the printer. You would then ensure that the design can be accurately produced according to the users needs.

The printing process can be slow, as each product that you print is made up of lots of different precise layers. This means, for larger items, it might take up to two days to finish.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a 3D Printing Specialist in the future, it is likely that you will need:

  • 3D design skills
  • creativity
  • photography skills
  • a good eye for detail
  • great IT skills
  • computer modelling skills
  • good communication skills
  • good team working skills
  • experience of using computer aided design

Pay and Opportunities


This is a future career. The pay rates for 3D Printing Specialists are unclear at the moment.

Hours of work

It is expected that 3D Printing Specialists will work around 35 hours a week. However, working long hours during the night and the weekend might be common when there are deadlines to meet and orders to complete. Some products will take more than 24 hours to print. Therefore long shifts might be common.

Where could I work?

3D printing will become part of everyday life. As a result, you could specialise in many different areas. This might include:

  • healthcare
  • retail
  • fashion
  • construction


In smaller stores, you could also be the owner, working on a self-employed basis.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes and training

The entry route to become a 3D Printing Specialist are currently unclear. However, having a degree and a design background could be useful. Useful degrees could include:

  • art and design
  • 3D design
  • 3D modelling
  • fashion
  • management
  • construction

Subjects such as engineering and maths could also be a great help.


Training will be provided on the job.

An apprenticeship might be available and provide a great way into the career. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Another possible way to get into this career could be through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Work experience

Experience within a design environment will help you to get into this career. Computer modelling and CAD skills will help you to stand out. Also, experience within a shop environment will provide you with great customer-facing experience.


As this is a future career, the qualifications needed to become a 3D Printing Specialist are unclear.

However, studying IT and art & design subjects could help you to get into this career.

Adult Opportunities

Further Information

Nesta - Future Skills

Tel: 02074 382500



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