Table of Contents
- The price of 3D printing is influenced by several factors.
- Price comparison of 3D printing services
- In conclusion
“How much is the cost of 3D printing?” is a question we are frequently asked.
Regarding the cost of 3D printing, our answer has always been, “it depends.” Based on these considerations, the price of a 3D print could range from $3 to $1000 (or even more).
As a result, we’ll break down each factor for you today. These factors are your material, electricity, and 3D printer cost if you’re 3D printing at home. However, let’s say you’re looking for a 3D printing service or considering launching your own 3D printing company. In that case, this tutorial should assist you in understanding how 3D printing price works.
The price of 3D printing is influenced by several factors.
The cost of purchasing and operating a 3D printer
Assume you’re launching a 3D printing company or looking for ways to profit from 3D printing. In that situation, you might want to factor in the cost of a 3D printer when figuring out how much it will cost to 3D print something. Depending on the technology utilized, 3D printers can cost anywhere from $200 to $150,000.
Imagine spending $1500 on a 3D printer that you plan to use for two years for 8 hours each day. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll overlook repair costs, power, and so on.
Total hours: 8 x 365 x 2 = 5840
$1500 divided by 5840 hours equals $0.21 per hour.
So, if your 3D model will take roughly 4 hours to print, you’ll need to add $0.84 to your fee to cover equipment maintenance.
In some ways, the time it takes to 3D print contributes to the cost.
Models for 3D Printing
Even for seasoned experts, it might be challenging to formulate an accurate estimate for the cost of a 3D printer without the 3D model.
The 3D model provides crucial information to assist us in quoting a 3D print.
The Volume of the Model
We can determine the overall volume of the model, including the produced supports, using the 3d model. The overall volume informs us of the amount of material required to 3D print your file.
Hollowing your model is one approach to lower the cost of 3D printing. Put another way, the higher the volume, the higher the cost. If the 3ft model is solid on the interior and the 5ft model is hollow, a 5ft model can have less volume than a 3ft model. As a result, estimating the cost of 3D printing without a 3d model is complex.
Not all three-dimensional models are made equal. Some are ready for 3D printing, while others are just plain insane. 3D printing necessitates forethought and strategy. Everything is automated for some 3D printing services, making transactions go faster. This may be the best option for simple products.
What about intricate pieces and architectural models, though?
Even the most advanced algorithm requires some human assistance. When it comes to 3d printing, these types of projects
A client handed you a 3D model of an actual stadium to give you an example. This was to be made into a 3D printed version. You examined the file and discovered that the model had several flaws. The stadium’s joints were loose, the walls were too thin, and 3D models were present.
It would have cost us thousands of dollars in wasted material if you had just 3D printed it immediately!
Are you willing to take the chance of having your 3D model printed in its current state?
Do you want to ensure the final print meets or exceeds your expectations?
Regarding 3D printing costs, the materials you use are essential. There are many options, so you’ll stick to the most common ones: thermoplastics and resin.
Thermoplastics: Powder or Filaments
Even if you’re new to 3D printing, you’ve probably heard of the terms “ABS” and “PLA.” These two materials are the most often utilized 3D printing materials. These thermoplastics are popular among hobbyists since they are inexpensive. These filaments can range in price from $20 to $70 per kilogram.
Despite their low cost, getting a high-quality 3D printout is difficult. The smooth finishing of these prints will take hours of post-processing. Furthermore, 3D printing sophisticated 3D models with this material are practically impossible.
Resin is the best 3D printing material, in our opinion. It’s adaptable to any complex project and produces the highest-quality 3D prints. Resin material, on the other hand, might be rather costly. Standard resin costs $50 per liter on average, with certain resin compounds costing up to $300 per liter. Fortunately, 3D printing firms often have lower costs for this type of material.
Most people are unaware that 3D printing is a time-consuming procedure. (At least, we hope it was.) drop your file in, print it, and you’re ready.
After 3D printing, the prints must be cured, cleaned, and polished before they can be usable. For instance, if the 3d printing service provider is concerned about the product’s quality.
Don’t waste your time looking for filaments. We don’t want to put you through that agony as someone who has spent hours removing support. If you value your time, the time you’ll spend sanding these prints will be a significant investment. Even then, the quality would be inferior to that of resin.
It’s a lot easier with resin. Once UV cured, we can polish the pieces by hand or with a sandblaster.
Some models are so complicated that cleaning the produced supports is difficult. Cleaning these prints would need considerable skill and a lot of patience. Again, the 3D model is important since it can influence post-processing.
The projects PrintAWorld works on demand more than just 3D printing. PrintAWorld clients might want a gold finish, chrome, or even an exact Pantone color for their 3D print. This is impossible to achieve with current 3D printing technology. As a result, in addition to 3D printing, we also provide metal plating and painting services.
Margin of profit
For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to use material costs as a starting point. To stay in business, 3D printing companies must add a profit margin to the cost of 3D printing. A 3D printing company’s profit margins might range from 50 percent to 90 percent of the material cost. However, profit margins are significantly reduced once labor and overhead costs are factored in.
If the cost of 3D printing is less than a particular amount, a base price (or a minimum fee) is added. For a $3 print, it wouldn’t make sense for a corporation to 3D print something for you. Some human intervention is required even in a highly automated 3D printing business. Either increase the quantity or pay the base fee, often $30-$90.
Price comparison of 3D printing services
Let’s examine how much it would cost to 3D print this renowned WallStreeBets mascot by ChaosCoreTech now that we know what elements influence the price of 3D printing.
We’ll be using SLA 3D printing for this experiment.
We tweaked the file to put on-demand 3D printing services that support SLA printing to the test.
- It was scaled up to 152mm (6″) in height.
- The 3D model was hollowed out. That is to say, the insides are empty.
- This saves money by reducing the amount of material used.
- The cost of SLA should be reduced if the 3D printing time is reduced.
Price: $537 at
Because it’s larger than what their manufacturers can print, 3DHubs won’t even let you print it in resin.
It’s less expensive than 3DHubs, but they won’t clean the supports for you at this price. You’ll have to pay extra if you want it cleaned.
We’re not sure why it’s so costly. They may have misjudged the model volume, resulting in the impression that printing this piece would require half a liter of resin. In any case, Shapeways is the most expensive of the bunch.
Compared to the others, PrintAWorld is unquestionably the cheapest for SLA 3D printing. The process even includes removing the supports and polishing them.
What makes 3D printing services so costly?
Because of the elements discussed above, such as labor, post-processing, and overhead fees, 3D printing services are costly. We also have to factor in the cost of the industrial 3D printers they employ, which start at $100,000 and go up from there. On top of that, they have to factor in a profit margin.
Is it, therefore, preferable to get a 3D printer instead?
Is it better to buy a 3D printer or use a 3D printing service?
3D printing services can often be more expensive than a basic 3D printer. So you might wonder if buying a 3D printer is a better option.
Here are some of our ideas on the subject:
- If money is an issue and you’re merely 3D printing for fun, getting a 3D printer may be a better long-term investment.
- Hiring a 3D printing service will be better if your time is more valuable. You’ll have access to large-scale 3D printers with capabilities that DIY 3D printing can’t match.
The cost of a 3d printing service is determined by several things. When all of these factors are considered, the cost of 3d printing can range from $30 to $15,000. Depending on the scope of your project, the price could be much cheaper or more.
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