Selling FINISHED 3D Printed Prop Replicas?


Sr Member
Found items do add an interesting point to replication. How many props are found items and how many are an amalgamation of found items?
What about original designs using greeblies, like Star Wars?
This is really an interesting question cause I have been building a library of greebie parts that I will never find in the wild. They are just for my own projects, but where does the question begin and the answer end?



Sr Member
So as someone who's been doing this for a while, both modeling and selling, I've found there's some pretty well defined lines that the community accepts. I've issued takedowns on Etsy and other 3rd party sites for people selling makes my models, and had a 100% success rate. I release my models under a share-alike non-commercial license as my way of giving back to a community I've gotten so much out of, not to make other people money I could have made myself.

I've been contacted lots of times by people saying:
'Can I charge someone to make your model for them' = always yes
'Can I print some of your models for sale at a booth' = usually yes, depends on who and the volume
'Can I sell prints of your models on Etsy, ebay, etc' = Always no, if I wanted to charge for them I would do it myself, I could probably make a decent amount on Cults just selling the models, but that goes against the spirit of why I do this

So first, look at the licensing:
- If it says 'non-commercial' then contact the creator and don't do anything until you hear back, some are ok, some aren't, some may want a cut or a flat fee
- If it says 'for commercial use', 'for any use', or has no license attached, it's still polite to contact the creator if you're planning on selling in any kind of volume or online, if they don't get back to you you're defensibly in the clear. They can still issue a take down, but at least you can show you made the effort and that the licensing doesn't prohibit it so you can defend against it.

It takes 100s of hours to model and test a model like this:

It took multiple prints and iterations, lots of changed parts, versions, etc. to get this right. Because was a faithful reproduction of a fairly modern prop I still felt the obligation to inform the original prop designer that I was doing even a small run on the RPF and got his approval before doing so. There was no legal requirement to do so since I modeled from scratch, but remember that this is a small community and being polite goes a long way. Creators sink a lot of time into projects expecting nothing more than to make people happy, just like the modding community in games or other equiv. There's a balance which needs to be respected or people will pull their models, stop making new ones, and we'll all be worse off for it.
Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your amazing designs.



Master Member
This is really an interesting question cause I have been building a library of greebie parts that I will never find in the wild. They are just for my own projects, but where does the question begin and the answer end?

For the "Found Greeblies" question, there's no question and no answer. I have an extensive collection of those in my workshop; from tubes, cups (Walmart, Dollar Store, etc) make-up stuff and on an on (list is too long). Unless it's a very particular design, recognizable by the brand, you might run into some kind of C&D and even then...very unlikely.
If I use a Coca-Cola bottle and transform it into a spaceship (the design is still recognizable, despite my efforts to "disguises" it) and start selling it on Etsy or Ebay, I could, maybe, run into trouble with the company...maybe:unsure:


Sr Member
I should also add that those makers who impose limits on items are also taking steps for quality control as well as not to overwhelm themselves with orders. With rising costs it might get more expensive to make the same item a few months later, so that is another smart move in limits.

Hells ya, I'm doing a run here and I just ran out of most of my critical paint. Everywhere local was out of stock. Primer I was buying for 13 a can is now 25, airbrush paint that was 8 dollars is now closer to 14, AND I had to pay express shipping on all of it to keep things going. The closest place with enough primer was 1000 miles away and the closest place with the airbrush was in another country!! I need at least 10 cans of primer and 5 bottles of airbrush paint more for the run so that's a significant costing impact. Not to mention the component costs like Arduinos have almost doubled.

Another fun one is my R2DI AI project. When I started the Jetson Nano boards I use to run the object recognition were like 60 bucks, now you're lucky to get one for 300. This made a really cheap and fun way to learn about AI into a significant investment, I pretty much stopped working on it for months hoping prices would come back down, but they just keep going up!!

Even with what I'm charging for the run when you factor time and costs it's impossible to make a living doing this at home scale, which is why this run is just for kicks and not for profit, and I won't be doing another one for the forseeable future (lots more models coming though, modeling costs are still the same ;) )

I closed my Etsy store a while ago, and now prob direct sales aside from some special cases and I'm completely changing tact and just going to do YouTube and make it a side hobby, production as a business with the kind of projects I design is not very viable unless something changes or I start charging more than I'm comfortable with.
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