How Much Does 3D Printing Cost?
If you are thinking about investing in a 3D printer for fun or a hobby or for even expanding your business, then there is one important question that you have to ask yourself. How much will the 3D printer and its materials cost me? This question does not have such an easy answer as with all other products, different printers have different costs depending on their quality. Besides, choosing the right 3D printer also depends on how are you planning to use it.
So, how much does it cost to run a 3D printer? Different best 3D printers have different printing technologies. The scale is quite big, as you can find $200 worth of FDA printers, as well as $5000+ professional printers. So, when you are looking through your options, know that you also have to consider the purpose of your printer as you are going to need different quality prints for different purposes.
When you have already determined how you are going to use your printer, you can now look out for the machines’ size, speed, precision and most importantly, its printing technology. This will also tell you just how much your printer will cost, as well as the availability and the cost of the materials that you’ll have access to.
Costs of FDM Printing Technology
The printing industry has recently experienced a significant rise in popularity and many 3D printer models have become extremely cheap. Nowadays, you can acquire a printer for as low as $200. Of course, many limitations come with the best budget 3D printers, and you should try these for fun or a hobby. The low range of 3D printers will not be suitable for major manufacturing printing, they will also lack the technology and materials to print high-quality and super detailed models.
Costs of Advanced Printing Technology
If you are looking for something serious in the 3D printing industry, then you’d have to be prepared to spend at least $4000 on a single machine. The reason there’s such a big price gap between the cheap and the professional printers is that the professional printing technologies can print finely tuned and very detailed models in a much faster time frame. Expect a significant increase in price if you are considering more and more complex printing technologies that can output higher quality models.
Sometimes, it’s best to figure out if you really need to own a high-end printer. As there are many printing companies which will be happy to print models of your desired quality for you. This is a great solution if you are not planning on mass production of models and still want to get nice quality prints.
The Cost of 3D Printing Materials
We mentioned previously that depending on the type of the printer you are going to get will also define what types of 3D printing materials you’ll be able to use. Obviously, the more expensive the printer the more expensive is going to be its materials. Consequentially, you will also have to consider the price of the materials as well, so that you’ll be able to supply your printer with the appropriate amount.
Some of the cheaper printing materials will cost you tens of dollars for a couple of kilograms, while the high-quality materials will cost you hundreds of dollars per kilo. Conclusively, since the printing industry has experienced significant development in recent years, there are many different options on the market for various needs and consumers. By firstly understanding your needs, you then can decide on investing in the right 3D printing technology for yourself.
The Design and Finish of Your Print
Depending on how you want your end product to look, you might want to spend more money and time perfecting it. The initial textures that your printer will apply to the model might not be suitable for you, so you’ll have to do polishing work. Besides, you might need a colourized print, which means that you’re going to custom pint it yourself. Such small customization options add to the overall cost of your final product.
The last thing you’ll have to consider would be the cost of your model design. You can either have freelancers make custom models for you or purchase a 3D modelling software and make those yourself. In either case, modelling is going to be adding to the overall cost of running a 3D printer as it is a crucial factor for maintaining one.
The size, density and thick walls on your models are also going to cost you extra, as extra material will be required to print such high-quality and bigger models. If you know your models well enough and you want to save up on printing materials, then you could make some of the parts of your print hollow, as well as with thin walls. Obviously, this is not going to work for complex and smaller models, but there can always be room for improvement and for reducing the costs, in this case.