One day I want to write a "How winning a Replicator has changed my life" post, but there are some details that I don't think I can express with the proper tone of ironic humor. Until I work that out I can talk about how having a Replicator has allowed me to be a weekend entrepreneur.
One of the biggest problems with owning a Replicator is the expense of it. While the individual parts, after all costs are calculated, are reasonable there's no question that the individual expenses can be quite a hit at a time. Bless my wife's heart she would never allow me to make the expenses that 3D printing costs if it weren't able to pay for itself. Thus getting into business was, for me, inevitable.
I run my shop by certain rules. First of all I never sell anything that I haven't modeled myself... at least partially. That's why I don't sell a TARDIS thing that doesn't have the door ajar, never mind the aesthetic of it too, since I borrowed the base model from gossimer (and I brought gossimer's attention to what I'm doing and he's cool with it). I just wouldn't feel right collecting money for someone else's work. Fortunately I am more of a modeler than a 3D printer tinkerer and fortunately the Replicator is almost a consumer device. Just enough for me anyways. So I have plenty of things to sell, and the ability to sell them without stepping on anyone else's toes.
That rule may not be for everyone. But I have heard of people who are running a business selling 3D printed parts to help others build their own 3D printers. I guess the point is find something you can sell and still be the good guy. If you're scanning commercial objects and selling 3D copies, while I respect the technology involved I would not be able to support you when big-bad comes knocking.
But there's still some things I don't know. For instance advertising and expanding my market are completely foreign to me. These things are being explored slowly as I'm doing this part time, but how cool is that? Go back just 10 years and figure out a way that a regular Joe could run a part time manufacturing business in their garage with so little initial expense. Without Makerbot and etsy I have no idea how anyone would have done that. My goal now is to see if I can make enough to pay for the Replicator that I won, to see if it's possible to use a Replicator to pay for itself. For me there's no rush to do this, but if I manage to do this perhaps I can set the stage for others.