3D Printing Price – Is 3D Printing Expensive?

3D printing service prices depend on several factors including technology and the type of material or filament used. This page will give you an overview of how much to charge for 3D printing services.

Do you know that 3D printing goes beyond printing toys to play or printing additional cups for your collection? Do you love 3D printing so much that you think of making a job out of it?

If you do, then you know the 3D servicing prices on the market well. However, if you are struggling in coming up with 3D printing service prices, then this page is for you.

Here are some tips on how to price your 3D printing services accurately. Read carefully to understand 3D printing costing.

IMG source: instructables.com
IMG source: instructables.com

Pricing your 3D printed objects depends on several factors, which include the following:

Technology

When 3D printing you have to consider the different types of technology to use because it has different approaches when it comes to materials used, steps involved in the processes and production speed. This could also refer to the types of 3D printers which are as follows:

Stereolithography (SLA) – This technology is usually used in prototyping because it doesn’t require too much time and the cost is cheaper compared to other means of prototyping. Printing using this technology depends on the size of your SLA 3D printers, small items can be printed within 6 to 8 hours while big objects with several meters in three dimensions may take days.

Digital Light Processing (DLP) – This technology produces a robust object with excellent resolution. In addition, it is better than SL because it uses fewer materials for a detailed production. In this way, you can save cost and produce lesser waste.

Fused deposition modeling (FDM) – This technology is usually used for new product development, model concept, prototyping and manufacturing development. These 3D printers are more affordable than other machines. In fact, you can find FDM 3D printers from $300 up.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – This technology doesn’t use any support structures unlike the first two technologies because the object being printed is surrounded by unsintered powder. This is also more versatile in processing materials because it can accommodate nylon, ceramics, glass, aluminum, steel, silver and more. However, this 3D printer is not for amateurs because it requires high-powered lasers and can be very expensive.

Selective laser melting (SLM) – This 3D printing technology is not popular for home use but is widely applied when 3D printing complex geometries and structures. This technology is used among aerospace and medical klonopin orthopedics manufacturers.

Electronic Beam Melting (EBM) – This technology uses electron beam as its power source but it is significantly similar to SLM. However, this process is slow and more expensive than SLM.

Laminated object manufacturing (LOM) – This 3D printing technology is not that popular but is one of the most affordable and fastest 3D printing method. It is also cheaper because its raw materials are very affordable. However, the post-processing of 3D printed parts might include additional steps for machining and drilling.

Materials Price

The most popular 3D printing materials are ABS and PLA. However, there are more options out there. You should know that metal 3D printing service cost differently than PLA or ABS.

There are also projects where a particular material is more appropriate. So, you might find yourself using different materials depending on what you are printing.

Just remember that the cost of 3D printing plastic versus other types of filaments can be different even if you are printing the same object. So, you should always recheck the cost depending on the materials used.

Speaking of materials, here are some points to remember:

PLA – This is the cheapest material you can find. The results are not so polished, you just get what you paid for.

ABS – If you have a moderate budget for material, you can go for ABS. ABS is better and more reliable than PLA but is still at a low-cost range.

Vero – This material offers the highest quality parts with the best dimensional accuracy and overall polished look but more expensive than PLA and ABS.

3dp_HDglass_examples
IMG Source: 3dprint.com

Material price is the cost of the materials you use and is expressed in cm3 or gram. So, you might see some professionals calculating 3d printing price per gram or cm3.

Size of the object

In general, the bigger the object the more expensive it is. However, there are different 3D servicing prices algorithms on the market. This means that with different 3D printing services, you could get different prices for the same 3D printed object.

Orientation of the object in the printer

You might think that placing an object either vertically or horizontally in a 3D printer won’t matter. However, it does. For example, printing a wine glass vertically is more costly than printing it horizontally because it will have to print more layers and the process will take longer.

Cost of finishing

In general, the bigger the object the more expensive it is. However, there are different pricing algorithms on the market. This means that with different 3D printing services, you could get different prices for the same 3D printed object.

Machine Fee

Is the machine yours or are you paying for a service? Machine fee is also influenced by the hour rate, setup cost and total runtime of the machine. The machine rate is counted per cm3, this is based on the bounding box of the STL file.

Handle Fee

If you are sending the item to your customer, cleaning the print, wrapping it in a paper or box, and adding address label will be included in the labor cost. This may depend as some offer 3D printing hourly rate. 

IMG Source: morethancle.org
IMG Source: morethancle.org

Now that you are already aware of the factors that you need to consider when pricing your 3D printed object, it is time to calculate. Here’s a formula from a Reddit user that you can apply when calculating the price of your next 3D printing project:

Price = Cost(your time) + Print Time(electric_cost) + Filament Cost * Markup(profit) + Average Maintenance Cost Hours of Run Time Until Maintenance/ Hours of Run Time

For your convenience, you can also use 3D printing price calculator like this one. The calculator is very easy to use, you just have to fill the boxes that typically includes the type of filament, size of the filament, filament cost, the length of the filament, job time, cost per hour and markup.

Then press the calculate button and it will give you the total filament cost, total time cost, and total job cost. Check out 3D printing pens which are less sophisticated than 3D Printers.

If you are into 3D printing for a long time and you have a website where you offer your 3D printing services, assist your customers with quotations by using Protocow’s STL harvester. This is a plugin for your website that automatically calculates quotations.

In this way, customers can visit your site, check the quotation of their project without emailing the STL for you and having to wait for your reply. With this plugin, you will save time and avoid potential revenue loss because it offers instant quotation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, installation only takes a minute and it is very easy to use.

For customers or those looking for more 3D printing price examples, you can check this site

Conclusion

Pricing your 3D printed object is challenging at first but as you accept more and more projects, you will get used to it. Calculating 3D printing prices will eventually be a breeze for you. We hope that this article will help you determine the 3D printer cost per print and has answered your question “is 3D printing expensive”?

3D printing is a fun activity and you will love it more when you are earning from it. So, get yourself familiar with 3d printing service cost to offer quality and good value 3D objects.

If you wish to learn more about 3D printing, feel free to check our homepage.