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Cost of 3D Printing


How to save money on 3D printing

It's no secret that 3D printing is becoming more and more popular, with printers becoming more affordable and accessible.

Cost of 3D PrintingCost of 3D Printing

But what exactly does it cost to get into the 3D printing game?

Here's a breakdown of the costs associated with both personal and commercial 3D printing.

What is the cost of 3D printing and what factors go into that cost

The cost of 3D printing is something that a lot of people are curious about. How much does it cost to get a 3D printer? What are the costs associated with using a 3D printer? In this blog post, we'll take a look at the cost of 3D printing and what factors influence the price. We'll also discuss the different types of 3D printers and their respective prices. By the end of this post, you'll have a good understanding of how much it costs to use a 3D printer.

overhead costs

3D printing is the process of creating a three-dimensional product from a digital file. It includes material dimensions, model complexity and labour costs which impact the cost.

In addition 3d printing services London cost more than some entry-level 3D printers. The print price will vary depending on the number of sheets that must be printed before an object is put out.

3D printing material cost

material costs
[image from 3dgbire.com]

Cost of 3D printing parts is based on how much material your print job will need. The material prices range from £50 per kg to £100 per kilogram.

The material cost of 3-D printing is usually between 20%-75% of the total printed material expense, depending on what you are printing. You can save money on material price by printing a large material volume. For example, if you print a material that is 50x50x50 cm the cost per material will be lower than printing one that's 10x10x4cm.

3D printing post-processing costs

printed part

Processing for 3-D printing refers to the process of removing support material and sanding, finishing and painting the print to achieve the desired look and feel.

As is with material cost post-processing greatly depends on print geometry and print size. For example, if you print a small object then there will be less work required in post-processing than when printing a 50x50x100 cm print job.

3D printing  prices

printed part

In order for 3D printing to work efficiently, a printer will be required to be supplied with 3D printing machinery and printers. FDM 3D prints are cost savings due to very low cost and cheap filament and software fees. The bigger the print the less fuel you need and the greater you can cost.

Different brands have different costs of their filaments – sometimes the pricing helps improve the quality of the final product. It's necessary to consider energy consumption as well as time for prints. Usually, a 3D printer requires the same energy as a fridge.

Cheaper machinery with components of lower quality may need replacement more often, while costly professional printers will last longer.

3D print cost

lead time

The print price will vary depending on the number of sheets that must be printed before an object is put out. The print cost can range from £4 to £20 for FFF print, while SLA print prices are around £6-8 per square millimetre.

Multicolour print costs are rather high due to the fact that every colour requires a separate print run, which makes 3D printing expensive.

3D printing services quantity price breaks

Professional services are always more costly than the hardware itself, but they are also worth it if you want your project done in time and at a high quality.

If you love DIY and want to print something personal. In this case, do it yourself and print a 3D print from home. In addition, there are quantity-based price breaks. For example, if you print ten or more of the same object, then its cost per print will be much cheaper than having to print only one of them.

3D printing services minimum part cost?

It's worth noting that not all print services have minimum part cost. If you are lucky, some print providers allow you to print just one print.

There are different methods of 3D printing available depending on the size, accuracy and speed requirements of your print job.  

This can be done on several different print types, with colour options available. If you need something 3D printed for your project, business or personal use speak to our team of print experts today at print for business 3d printing on demand.

Pricing for Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

manufacturing process
[image from markforged.com]

The pricing structure focuses on two fundamental costs: volume for the material used and the time needed for an FDM 3D printer to print the part.

We use machine learning algorithms to update our pricing formula constantly ensuring more exact prices every day. The price is extremely fast due to the low computational processing power required when running the formula compared with simulating the build process.

Longer print runs require longer machine time which is measured by the machine's depreciation time. We also measure failure rates for FDM printing per hour rather than per project.

The longer the time of completion the more likely it is for problems resulting. The length of material required to 3D print a part is, therefore, neither equal nor proportional to the volume of the part.

What is Fused Deposition Modeling ( FDM )

3d print

This is an additive process used for making objects from 3mm to 20 mm thick layer thickness.

An object printed this way is affordable, with layers as thin as 100 microns without any loss in stability or strength. This technology works well with PLA, ABS, PET-G and carbon fiber material.

Fused deposition modelling is the best print technology for engineers due to its high print speed, economical print cost and high print output.

Pricing for selective laser sintering (SLS)

manufacturing process
[image from formlabs.com]

The volume of a boundary box of a 2D file is the length x length x height of the object. It is used here for referencing part numbers in the case of the SLS.

The parts can be separated by up to 1mm when printing so we provide 0.5 mm of space. The density of boundary boxes is multiplied by 0.00011 as we charge 11 pence per cm2 for SLS 3D Printing.

The majority of the price for SLS printing is PA12 nylon based powder. The amount of information required for a large print run is not comparable. Even when it is small the amount needed for three-dimensional pictures will not be sufficient.

What is Stereolithography (SLA)

This process builds up objects one layer at a time using laser beams to cure liquid photo-resin into a solid form.

A key advantage of SLA print is that it generates very accurate parts with smooth surfaces, making it the better choice for complex designs with small features where FDM print can't match SLA resolution.

Low costs make this print technology affordable for both large and small manufacturers who can use it to produce various parts directly from computer data files or CAD software. This 3D printing method has excellent accuracy which creates smooth and accurate print surfaces with fine surface quality and smooth finish.

Outsourced production vs. In-house 3D printing

Bureaus usually have several 3D printing processes in-house such as :

Stereolithography [SLA],

Selective Laser Sintering [SLS],

Fused Deposition Modeling [FDM] ,

Binder Jetting [BJT] ,

Stereolithography [SLA],

HP Multi Jet Fusion [MJF]

Outsourcing's downsides are mainly cost and lead times. With the increased demand and increase in production outsourcing increasingly become costly. Desktops and benchtops can use the same amounts of capacity as the business wants and scale production by adding additional units as demand goes without any significant investment in a 3D printer.

Serviced offices can still supplement this flexible workflow for larger components or unconventional materials, offering value-added services such as design or advanced finishing. For example, you may print parts across different materials simultaneously.

Free quotes for 3D printing

We at 3DMitech LTD provide you with free quotes for all your prototyping requirements including product modelling or low-rate production needs that will suit small budgets through our Instant Quote online system.

We have a number of 3D printers that meet your budget and efficiency requirements for low volume print runs.

All you need is to upload your design files and place an order. No matter how cheap the service is, we promise top quality print service.

Why is 3D printing so expensive?

3D printing is expensive due to many factors mentioned previously such as labour costs post-processing costs or overhead costs.

All these industrial machines are capable and expensive 3d printers. In addition, they have to add additional profits to this burden. Is a cheap 3D printer a good idea for beginners?

Remember that with manufacturers like Makerbot or Flashforge with almost no print overhead, print time is the only limiting factor. If print time is not an issue for you and print quality is most important, then why go for low-cost printers?

The cheapest 3D printer will probably be relatively slow which increases print costs due to an increase in printing time.

This means adding more machines if you want to cover workflows of multiple users, increasing maintenance costs even further.

The increased print time may eventually lead to huge credit losses since long waiting times could mean losing your client's interest forever.

Considerations beyond direct costs

3D printing simplifies traditional prototyping and production workflows. It helps you save time and surpasses your competitors.

Finding and fixing design flaws early helps avoid expensive design modifications and tooling changes in production.

The production of high-tech prototypes and parts gives you more options when you communicate with your customer's suppliers and others. Create parts in-house means you will not need to give to third parties intellectual properties reducing risks such as leaks or IP thefts.

Using quality components reduces the risk of IP theft or letting IP info gets lost. Having prototype parts can aid you in designing the product for multiple customers at once.

You can print a cheaper prototype that lets you reduce development costs. You will be able to control the production of plastic parts from one single source. This means all your components are optimized allowing for less need for post-processing and reducing time wastage during assembly.

Type of material (Print quality)

It really depends on what materials you use and what you want to save money on 3d printing. Thermoplastics and resin are the most popular material options.

It's important to know the difference between a few popular 3D printing materials before you start your project. Thermoplastics and resin are both great options for those who want an affordable product with some flexibility in design, but they have their own unique pros and cons that will depend on what kind of object you're making!

Plastic 3D printer costs

The three most known 3-D Plastic Manufacturing Technologies currently available are fused deposition modelling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA) and selective laser sintering (SLS). SLS are the most economically efficient procedure to produce large volumes in high-quality functional parts.

Resine printing SLA offers higher resolutions, good quality and a wide range of 3D models. Material is slightly more pricey. The difference quickly subsides when you print complex designs or higher batches due to the less labour-intensive post-processing process.

Materials and consumables

3d printing cost

Measure material cost and calculate the amount of 3D printed materials needed to create a part.

Measuring to emptied waste. Some 3D printers only use proprietary materials and therefore limit your options for third-party materials. Measurably the cost of material as the cost of hardware decreases as production grows, the cost flattens.

Make sure to clarify your needs for the given part as costs for consumables can fluctuate. Material measurement by calculating the size of the waste is required and how much consumable is required for part production.

Measure costs by determining the requisite material for the production of a given object.

Equipment ownership

3D printing machines have seen a huge reduction in ownership and maintenance costs recently. The increased productivity of your 3D machines and efficient use of them means lower investment costs.

The use of print management software reduces print time by up to 10 times. It reduces the need for human intervention in print operations, reducing labour costs. 3D print management services are being adopted globally so you can have quick access to machines anywhere in the world.

The increased performance means lower maintenance costs.


average cost

Professional desktop 3D printer models are generally optimized for ease of use. DIY printers and hobby printers sometimes need more tweaking to set settings. Regular maintenance on traditionally produced industrial machines may need to deal with expensive maintenance tasks.

Post processes vary by the process but often involve scrubbing sections and removing support or waste material. FDM parts may need lengthy manual post-processing to improve high quality and remove layers.

There are solutions to automate this task, so Formlabs Form Wash and Form Cure simplify the washing and post-treatment workflow for SLA printers.


After 3D printing, the resulting print should be cured cleaner and polished before being considered useable. That is if printing companies are concerned about the Quality of their products.The result must be cleaned and polished.

Leave your files and print them out but nothing quick.

Cost of buying and running a 3D printer

3d printing cost

3D printers can cost as much as $90 to $1150,000 according to the technology used. This adds in some respects to the time required to 3D print.

If your 3D model takes about four hours of print that is when you pay $0.81 per day to account for machine maintenance.

The cost for 3d printing depends on the printer's cost and the amount of time spent printing anything. For example, a $3000 3D printer for two years would have costs of $1.21/hr.

Manpower costs

He estimated that work on his single 3d print varies between 0.8 Dollars for Mk3.60 USD per hour. It is not expensive to prepare small models downloaded from the Internet but most models need more difficult printing preparation.

Even a relatively simple technical part will take several hours to draw and thus significantly increases the price. Even trimming alone can take an extra 30 minutes – e.g. preparation of support for SLA printing using manual support might take a bit longer

Profit margin

Profit margin can be between 80% of materials cost. Profit margins will be much lower when you add labour and overhead expenses. This is also a base price/minimum fee that is included if printed printing costs are fewer than a given amount.

It wouldn't feel right for a company to 3D printer something for $3. Either you add more quantity or pay the base price of about $30-$90. Even at the most automation 3D. Printing service there are still employees involved, even if a. High automation.

3d printing cost


The material size and complexity of the 3D model will determine how much material is needed to print it. The time, cost, energy consumption for printing are also factors in determining price.

Printing services can be more expensive than entry-level printers because they have long lead times with their machines.

Looking for a 3d printing service in Plymouth? We offer the best 3d printing services in the area. Our expert team of designers and engineers have years of experience in 3d printing, and can help you bring your ideas to life with customized printing solutions. Whether you need a prototype for an upcoming project, or want to create custom 3d models, we have the tools and expertise to get the job done. So why wait? Contact us today and start exploring the endless possibilities of 3d printing.

Author Team 3DMITECH LTD

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