Is 3D Printing Expensive?

3D printing is by far one of the most versatile means of production that has come into play in recent years. It can be used for practical means for making tools and machine parts, or for more decorative reasons, such as miniature figures or props for cosplay.

But everything comes at a price. And if you want or need some items 3D printed, you first have to ensure that you have the money for it.

This begins by exploring your options. And these are as follows:

  • Order 3D printing services
  • Renting a 3D printer
  • Buying a 3D printer and all the necessary equipment

In this article, we’re going to discuss the costs of each of these options, and by the end of the article, you will be in a position to decide which, if any, of these options is the right one for you.

Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section of particular interest to you.

The Cost Of 3D Printing Services

The truth is, there’s a lot of variation between the cost of different 3D printing services. Not least because some companies charge by the hour, while other companies charge per gram.

And bear in mind that some 3D printing services are offered by those with industrial quality machines, but others are merely hobbyists trying to make a quick buck as a side hustle.

Moreover, you can expect to see variations in price according to what type of 3D printing is being used.

More specifically, since resin 3D printing is known to be more precise and accurate compared to FDM 3D printing, you can expect companies with resin 3D printers to charge a little more for their printouts.

The price tag will also depend on the material used, since there are multiple types of materials used in FDM printing, and you will have to decide which is best for you according to what properties you want the printout to have.

Moreover, more complex models may require a greater labor cost than others, either during or after the printing process.

For these reasons, it’s very hard to pin a precise figure to the costs of 3D printing services. It can cost anywhere from a mere $3, or up to a whopping thousand dollars or more.

There are those who argue that 3D printing services can at times cost more than actually buying your own entry level 3D printer.

For these reasons, we will later be tackling the cost of 3D printers themselves, and the various sundries required to run them, including software and materials.

How Much Does It Cost To Rent A 3D Printer?

Maybe you’re thinking about getting into 3D printing as a hobby, but want to gauge if it’s right for you before you go spending money you might not have. If this sounds like you, one option may be to rent a 3D printer for a week or so.

You can rent an FDM 3D printer to use at home for a relatively small fee, ranging from $50 to about $150 for a week.

This is a great way to ascertain which 3D printer is best for you at a far lower cost than simply buying one outright.

How Much Does A 3D Printer Cost?

Just as there’s incredible variation in the cost of 3D printing services, there’s also incredible variation in the costs of buying an actual 3D printer to use at home or in your workshop.

At the higher end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay up to a whopping $2,500 or so for an FDM printer. And by most accounts, that’s considered quite expensive. And that’s before you get into software and materials.

However, the good news is that there are a great many models out there that are much more affordable than that…

It used to be the case that a good quality 3D printer would set you back at least $600 or $700. But, there are now many entry level 3D printers on the market that are available for less than $300, with some available for less than a mere $200.

And despite being seen as being more precise and accurate than FDM 3D printers, some resin printers can also cost as little as $200.

However, it’s important to note at this point that cheaper 3D printers tend to receive worse customer ratings and reviews than their more expensive counterparts.

For those reasons, we advise against going for a cheap 3D printer just because it’s cheap.

For more information on the cost of 3D printers, why not check out our other article titled “How much is a 3d printer?. Or, you can check out some of our in depth reviews on some of the more popular 3D printers.

The Cost Of 3D Printer Sundries

Sadly, the cost of 3D printing does not stop at the initial cost of the 3D printer itself, and there are several other things to consider.

Software Costs

There are two main types of software for 3D printing. There are paid-for apps, and there are free-ware or open source apps.

The paid for apps tend to be available on subscription these days and can cost anywhere between $30 and $300 per month.

But many hobbyists are quite content with the free software that’s available.

Costs of Printing Materials

If you were to invest in an FDM printer, the material costs typically stand at about $20 to $25 for a 1 kg spool. But this depends on what type of filament you are looking for. Some cost less and others cost more.

If you were going to invest in liquid resin for a resin 3D printer, you will typically pay between $15 and $35 per bottle.

Conclusion

If 3D printing is of real interest to you, it can be an affordable hobby for most people, once the initial cost of the printer itself is out of the way. And it may even be more affordable than paying for 3D printing services. 3D printing does not have to be expensive.

You may also be interested in reading one of our other articles, titled “Can you make money with a 3D printer?

Michael Moore
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