3D modeling is great for fun, education and even business, with the world of technology always evolving this is a good way to catch up and get into the ever-evolving tech.
People are using 3D printers to teach their kids new ways to be creative and problem solve. Others are using this to create their own small businesses. People are also using these just for themselves and to have some fun creating their own fun projects. Then there are even people taking advantage of the online world and using their printers to become popular content creators on platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
If you’re looking to create your own 3D figures, in this guide we’re going to run through the costs and equipment you’ll need.
The actual cost of the 3D printer will be dependent on which one you select as there are many different models depending on what you’ll need.
For those who are just beginning and only looking to use it recreationally printers can start at around $200 for the basic starter model. If you’re looking for a more professional model then the printers can end up costing thousands, but you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth as these will come with the very best results.
Overview on Prices
When printing figures, there are two ways to go about it: first you could find a supplier online and they would give you one fixed price, but this would usually cost a fair bit more than getting one made yourself (depending on if you already own the printer or intend to invest in one anyways.)
When printing your own figure, the first thing to consider is the actual model itself and the volume of the model, the height, width, and density of the model will all cause different variations as more plastic will be needed for a bigger, denser model.
The complexity of the model also comes into effect as if it is not designed properly this could cause a lot of waste on materials and time, if it’s a structure that needs printing it has to be sufficiently load bearing and correct measurements which will need precision and time to get correct.
Different types of materials are obviously going to affect the cost as there will be different kinds for different types of projects, so this will need to be considered.
Lastly there will be post production costs. These will include things like polishing, smoothing, and painting to create the final product desired.
The biggest thing to consider when creating a figure is the density of the model, as one model can appear physically taller or wider but if the bigger model is hollow this could need less materials.
When thinking about the density, strength and weight should also be considered. For example, if the figure is simply for display purposes, then a hollow model would be sufficient as there wouldn’t be much concern for its durability. If the model is designed to be used like a toy for a child then maybe a dense model should be considered to avoid easy snapping and breaking.
Simple figures are going to be cheaper to make as they’ll require less planning, attention, trial and error, and probably materials if there’s not a lot of intricate details.
With complex models there are a couple of things that affect cost. For instance, the knowledge required to create a model, as the user may not be able to complete their plan by themselves. This would mean either learning to make better plans which may lead to buying a course on how to do so, or buying one online from a professional or experienced user.
Trial and error can be a cost, especially for learners. For example, if creating a figure needs to hold something or support something then load bearing and balance may come into play. Having not thought about this, or getting it wrong, will result in wasted product and will cost more in materials and man hours, so this must also be considered.
The type of material and how much needed is probably everyone’s first thought when it comes to how much a figure will cost to create.
Depending on the figure you’ll need different kinds of resin or filament, with a quick search on amazon it’s clear that the starting price is roughly $20 per kilogram of material, and then the more specialty material required the price will go up reaching roughly $75 per kilogram.
This is for when the figure is printed out and assembled. This will come down to things like painting, polishing, and finishing.
Polishing and sanding will be needed on some figures, especially if they need painting, this will usually take a few minutes and can be achieved with sandpaper and that starts as little as $3 on Amazon, or if you have sanding tools this could make it even quicker and cheaper.
In addition, the cost of the paint will obviously factor in as it doesn’t come free. However, paint for these types of projects shouldn’t cost too much with multipacks with a variety of colors starting around $20 on Amazon.
Then finishing this can be varied in cost depending on the desired finish. For example, a nice smooth glossy finish will be easy as a simple gloss coat will sort this and starts cheap around $5 on Amazon. However, if you want some metal plating anywhere, this will cost a fair bit more as this too will have to be printed, molded, or shaped.
There isn’t a fixed rate at which models are printed, but with all costs considered, models can cost as little as $220 if bought using Amazon. But if you want to go further and up your game in 3D printing, then the cost will go up to potentially as much as you want or need.