When you are deciding to get into the world of 3d printing, one of your main concerns is probably the costs involved. How much are the 3d printers, filament, and other accessories? In this article we will give you a preliminary idea of the costs involved in 3d printing and show you how to calculate costs.
To begin, let’s look at printers since they are going to costs the most out of everything you need.
3D Printer Price Points
3D printer prices range from $200-$2,000 and more. The price of a 3D printer is not at all indicative of its performance or capabilities, nor is it a good indicator for the quality or capabilities of the printer. There are some entry level printers in this price range that produce low-quality output, while others can rival professional grade printers costing ten times as much.
But, generally, for a consumer grade 3d printer to use at home the price is going to be somewhere around $500, with some 3D printers costing less and others costing more.
With that in mind, a $500 model will enable you to take a very good idea of what high quality 3D printing can do for you. With an average print size of 100mm x 100mm, this will let you begin to explore the world of 3D printing without totally blowing your budget.
Keep in mind that many of the models suitable for home use are very capable machines.
If you are expecting to be more involved in 3d printing as a hobbyist or home manufacturer for a small home business, I would recommend getting something in the price range of $1,500-$2,000 and higher.
There are a number of machines available that are still very capable in this price range and are good for professional use.
Price Of 3D Printer Filament
The price of filament will depend on the quality and quantity that you need.
Prices are really all over the place here but generally 1 kg spools of PLA or ABS is roughly $20 – $35. PETG can get a bit more expensive at around $40 – $60 for good quality options.
What is the cheapest 3D printing material?
PLA or ABS is probably cheapest but there are many 3D printing materials on the market, each with a different purpose. In general, cheaper filament is more brittle and less durable than more expensive filaments.
Cheaper filaments also tend to be less flexible, while more expensive filaments can be pushed further for depth and detail without breaking.
So in short, the price of 3D printing filament will depend on the quality you need.
Examples Of Objects Printed And Estimated Cost To Print
- Small two inch figurine – You can 3D print small figurines for a fairly low cost, but it’s not cheap. A two-inch figurine might cost about $10 in printing material to print and then another dollar or so in plastic to spray paint it. This is a fun little project and it could be printed in less than an hour.
- penholder – A pen holder is a simple object to print, so it doesn’t cost much. It would cost about $15 for the plastic to print, but the object itself is may be cheaper than that if you were to just buy one. However, with printing one, you get a custom job and exactly what you want.
- Small 6 inch vase – It’s not as straightforward as you think, there are many factors that need to be considered when estimating the cost of 3D printing a small 6 inch vase. For example, the material quality is important and varies greatly from printer to printer. Most materials used for printing require a build plate, which is an additional expense. Overall, you can expect a small 6 inch vase to cost around $50. A way to lower your costs is by designing the model yourself and 3D printing it at home on a much cheaper printer than what most 3D printing companies use in-house.
- iPhone Case – The cost of materials to make a single iPhone case is around $20 or $30.
Is 3D printing at home cost effective?
3D printing at home is cost effective. In the past, 3D printing required a very expensive printer that would cost thousands of dollars. Modern 3D printers can be purchased for less than $1000 and are now accessible to many homes.
How To Calculate Printing Costs
Here is a rough formula:
(The Cost of the Material) X (The Volume of Material in Cubic Inches) X (1.05 if The Part is Hollow) = The 3D Printing Cost
3D printing is not as expensive as it seems. In the past, 3D printers were very expensive, but now they are much more affordable. The price of material will depend on what you want to print and if you want an object for general use or if it’s for your home business/hobby. I would not recommend getting a printer unless you know that you will be using it often and printing many objects because the cost of material really adds up over time, especially if you’re looking at more advanced materials like flexible PLA.
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