How Much Does 3D Printing Cost?

The answer to this question can vary, the fact that there are several factors that go into 3D printing can make it hard to gauge the exact price.

Maybe you are looking at buying a printer for your business or for your own enjoyment to learn a new skill. Regardless of what you want your 3D printer for, there are a lot of factors that will go into how much running your printer will cost.

We have gathered information on 3D printing and what the potential costs could be if you are looking to use one for your business or just for the fun of it.

How Much Does A 3D Printer Cost?

The first payment you can expect if you want to 3D print is to purchase the 3D printer itself. This can be quite an expensive step in the printing process, but it is obviously very necessary to be able to print.

Depending on your skill level, budget, or requirements, the cost of your printer may vary. A cheap 3D printer might cost you about $200 and an expensive one could be anywhere upwards of $600. As such, you need to be aware of what you require your 3D printer for and how much you need to be making.

In addition, to the printer itself, you will have to keep in mind how much it will cost to upgrade or fix your printer. You may for example need to replace a nozzle due to it becoming jammed. Because of this, it is prudent to look into components you might need for the future in order to upgrade your printer.

How Much Will Materials Cost?

Your materials will end up being your biggest cost after you have the printer itself. This is because your material costs will be long-term. Things like your filament, support filaments, and resin will be the main materials you need to factor in.

For example, an entry-level SLA resin will likely cost you around $50 per liter, while a more professional option can cost anywhere between $150 to $400 per liter. The next material that will need to be considered is the SLS powders, which can cost between $100 and $200 per kilogram.

How Much Does The Filament Cost?

Whether you are 3D printing for fun or as part of your business, the cost of your filament will be a big factor in determining the price of 3D Printing as a whole. If you are considering the long-term costs, what you are printing, and how much you will be using it, you will need to consider the type of filament to use.

For example, if you are using a Premium PLA Filament, this product comes with 2.2lb worth of filament. This means that if you are making an item that is 3.5ounces worth of, you could be spending money anywhere in the region of $3 or more per print that you do. Whereas, if you create an item that is 17 ounces, you can look at spending upwards of $13.

In the end, the cost of your filament will depend on how big your items are. In addition to that, you need to be aware that there will be wasted filament due to human or machine error. On average, a 3D printer will work through about one roll of filament a month. So, bear that in mind when you are looking for filaments and pricing up the cost it could have.

Will I Need Software?

If you have a professional 3D printer, you probably will not need software due to the fact that many professional printers come with adequate software that can help you prepare and manage your printer.

However, if you have a lower budget and need to get a cheaper 3D printer, you will need additional software so that you can utilize the printer to its maximum potential.

There are plenty of software programs you can choose from should you require it. An example of a good all-around software is Fusion 360, the pricing for this program can vary depending on the plan you choose to go for.

If you choose to pay monthly you can look at paying something in the region of $60 per month, an annual subscription can be around $495 and a 3-year subscription is about $1,335.

If you require this added expense, it might be prudent to keep in mind the 3D printer you use as well as what you need the printer for in order to justify a large subscription.

What About Time and Electricity?

The usage of power, your time, and the time of each individual print can be factors in how much you will spend on electricity. Are you using your printer for business, or are you using it for personal use?

Regardless of what you use your 3D printer for, each print you make will cost you money. The first thing we need to look at is electricity costs, as this tends to be a bigger worry for new 3D printer owners.

Overall, your average 3D printer will use the same amount of electricity as a fridge, as such you need to consider this if you are expecting to use your printer often for a business. Not only will it cost money while a print is being completed, but also if you are away when it completes, your machine will continue to run regardless of the print being done or not.

This is because the machine switches to idle mode but does not turn off and by extension continues to eat power. Because of this, you will need to bear this fact in mind if you are leaving your printer on while you are away.

On average, a fridge will cost about $65 per year in the US. This is not a wholly accurate number for a 3D printer due to the fact that a 3D printer does not run 24/7, running your 3D printer could cost you anywhere between $33 and $83 per year. However, this depends on how frequently you use your printer.

Final Thoughts

As a whole, 3D printing can be a pricey endeavor, and there are a lot of facts that go into running one of these machines. Your cost may vary depending on the printer you get, or whether you need a 3D printer for your business or for leisure.

Michael Moore
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