I made £2,300 in six weeks on the hustle of 3D printing – it started out as an unwanted Christmas present

MATT Shaw turned to a side hustle to deal with soaring bills – his entrepreneurial spirit has earned him £2,300 in just six weeks.

Matt, a trainee science teacher earning £17,500 a year, lives in Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, with his partner, nursery head Davina, 25, and their two dogs.


Matt Shaw, 25, turns to side hustle to deal with soaring bills
25-year-old partner Davina starts 3D printing after receiving Christmas present


25-year-old partner Davina starts 3D printing after receiving Christmas present

It’s really hard for the couple to make ends meet.

“It’s not like we have ridiculous expenses, just normal bills, not surprising at all,” Matt told The Sun.

“We split all our bills in half, but our rent has gone up, our energy bills have gone up and it’s getting tighter.”

The couple paid £81 a month for gas and electricity using Octopus Energy, which has now increased to £181.

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“When we spoke to them they said we should pay £265. I got emails saying we still haven’t paid enough,” he said.

Meanwhile, their rents have risen by almost £100 a month to £985.

He added: “We’re struggling to save for a house, which is becoming less and less impossible as interest rates go up.

“Even before that, when we tried to get a mortgage, the bank said we couldn’t afford one of the £600, even though we paid £300 more in rent than that.”

It all meant that Matt had to figure out a way to make more money.

He said: “I had my own small business from about 14 years old.

“I raised lizards and fish, and I would buy vinyl from charity stores and flip them on eBay.

“I’ve always been prepared to be proactive and try to earn extra money.”

it started as a second hand gift for christmas

This time, his side hustle is 3D printing because Davina bought him a used one for Christmas — something he wasn’t excited about at first.

He said: “I had one before and I almost threw it out the window because I was so frustrated that it wasn’t working.

“My partner gave me another surprise and I was like ‘Can’t you be serious?'”.

“But actually, this time, it worked pretty well, I’m a bit of a nerd and I like to do random stuff, so I thought ‘If I put something on eBay, let’s see if there’s any demand.'”

Matt’s first sale was a LEGO skull figure.

LEGO skeletons are Matt's hero product when it comes to 3D printing


LEGO skeletons are Matt’s hero product when it comes to 3D printing
He also 3D printed the first green goblin helmet


He also 3D printed the first green goblin helmet

He said: “I 3D printed it, enlarged it ten times the size of a minifigure, put it up for auction for 99p, and then I had about 19 random bids.

“I ended up selling it for £26, which didn’t sound like much, but it only cost £5 to make, so it was a nice profit.”

Sales spiraled from there.

“As soon as the auction was over, I had about ten people texting me asking if I had more to sell,” he said.

“I also set up a Facebook page and advertised in the local market, and I got a lot of requests from there.”

How to start 3D printing

Matt now makes custom models for an average of five clients a day.

He’s filled orders from people asking for 3D models of everything from Lego fish and Lego head planters, to the Chevrolet Impala car from the ’60s TV series Supernatural, and tons of Super Mario characters.

Helmets are also popular, he said.

He recently made those from 3D Battlestar Galactica and the Green Goblin.

His biggest trade to date has been £120 and in just six weeks he has made £2,300.

While there are skills involved, Matt says there is a lot of help in learning the art of 3D printing.

“The Facebook groups are really helpful, there’s a group called 3D Printing Beginners,” he said.

“People show off their designs and they’ll tell you useful information like what the best settings are when you start”

Matt’s side business expanded rapidly.

“The first printer quickly paid for itself,” he said.

“I’ve invested, and now I have five printers on the road, I’ve gone to IKEA, and I’ve set up a whole room at home for it”.

He wants to launch his own website and wants to open an Etsy store for his 3D printed designs, but “the demand is so high right now that I’m in trouble if I take over”.

“I’ll let people down.”

It’s important to note that 3D printers usually cost at least hundreds of pounds, and there’s no guarantee you’ll make money.

In other words, this is not a side hustle for everyone.

Other side jobs

He also makes money from other businesses.

“On eBay, you can search for items, sort them by the highest price they’ve sold before, and see how much people are paying for certain items,” he said.

“The best I’ve done recently was when I went to a charity shop in Stratford and bought a Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Bear for £15, put it on eBay and sold it for about £89 The price of sterling sold it.

“There’s a lot of money to be made out there.”

All these hectic activities are tough grafts, though.

“It’s frustrating to work every minute of every day to pay your energy bills,” says Matt, who sets up the printer before going to work (models can take at least two days to print).

“I get up at 4am, start printing, walk the dog, go to my teaching job, go home, then do my plan, glue the models together because they’re all small pieces of different colors, go to the post office, put my The order is mailed, then go to bed early and start again the next day.

“It’s tiring, but we’re forced into this situation.”

Tax rules for side jobs

HMRC has set up a trade allowance that enables people to receive tax-free online sales of up to £1,000 without notifying HMRC.

If you start earning more income from a side business, you must register as a self-employed person with HMRC.

Depending on your gross income, you may be subject to tax.

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eBay UK said: “By law, sellers must declare and pay tax on income from eBay sales.

“We recommend that you consult a tax advisor to understand your responsibilities.”

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