3D printing costs largely depend on what and how you are going to print your 3D object. If you purchase your own 3D printing machine, the most significant expense will be the cost of the 3D printing machine, followed by the additional equipment that you will need to run it.
A 3D printer varies from $220.00 to $2200.00 for a new machine. Filaments range from $10.00 to $100.00 per spool. Open-based software is available for free or a few hundred dollars for a premium brand. Outsourced 3D printing costs are charged at an average price of $0.05 per cubic centimeter.
What exactly are the costs involved with 3D printing? Can you save on costs by buying your own equipment, or is it more cost-efficient to pay for a 3D printing service to design and print what you need? Your budget largely determines what you can spend, so let’s see what the actual costs of 3D printing are.
How Much Does A 3D Printer Cost?
3D printers are available in a wide range of different shapes and sizes, so there should be an affordable machine for your specific needs and budget if you are looking at purchasing your own 3D printing machine.
If you are only going to design and print a one-off item, it might be more cost-effective to find a printing service close to home that can print the 3D item for you. Most printing stores offer 3D printing facilities.
We have put together a shortlist of 3D printers available in today’s market, with an overview of what each can do. The costs may be a bit high for the at-home user, but if you intend to turn 3D printing into a hobby, this list could give you some ideas of what to look for.
1. Entry Level 3D Printers
Entry-level 3D Printers are aimed at the hobbyist, the beginner, and the experienced 3D makers. These 3D printers are inexpensive, more reliable, and better-quality printers than DIY 3D printers.
In addition, these 3D printers are more user-friendly and can often print larger parts. Slightly more expensive than the DIY 3D printers, this range is considered a better buy as they are less likely to require many adjustments and don’t break as easily!
Recommended Entry Level Printers:
Research which printer would be the best for your needs before buying. All 3D printers are available online.
- QIDI Tech X-Pro $469.00
- Creality CR-10 V3 $529.00
- Flashforge Creator Pro 2 $799.00
2. Reliable Desktop 3D Printers
These 3D printers are durable and robust, the workhorse of the 3D printers. Many of the technical aspects have been automated, saving you time. These 3D printers even offer remote printing via WiFi from a smartphone or laptop.
A more comprehensive range of filaments and materials is available for these 3D printers. As an added bonus, when you buy a printer in this range, you have excellent customer service from the supplier should anything go wrong with the machine or if you need expert advice!
Recommended Reliable Desktop 3D Printers
With so many reliable 3D printers available online, be sure to choose the correct one for your specific needs.
- Dremel Digilab 3D45 $1 899.00
- Zmorph Fab $3 380.00
- Ultimaker S3 43 850.00
3. Most Affordable DIY 3D Printers
The 3D printers in this category are the most durable and reliable, although not recommended for beginners as they are often DIY 3D printers. This means that some assembly is required, so if you are going to buy one of these 3D printers, you need some tech know-how.
These are the most affordable 3D printers and are available in a standard 3D kit. They are not very high-end printers but are a good choice for someone who would like to buy a starter machine to experiment with. You can upgrade at a later stage and add better extruders and nozzles.
Recommended DIY printers:
All these printers are available online. If you would like to test the 3D printer before purchasing and building it, visit your local printer store to see how it performs.
- Monoprice Mini Delta $175.00
- Creality Ender 3 V2 $289.00
- Creality Ender 5 $399.00
How Much Does 3D Printer Filament Cost
Once you have bought your 3D printer, there are other materials that you need to print your items. Pinter filament comes in different colors and spool sizes, with starting costs of around $20.00 per kilogram. Spools are available online in various lengths, from 1kg (2.2 pounds) – to 20kgs (44 pounds) and bigger.
Make sure that you purchase the correct filament for your particular 3D printer. ABS or PLA are the general requirements for FDM 3D printers.
To store your filaments to keep them in top condition, you can purchase filament dryers and filament containers. These will keep the filaments safe from absorbing the air’s moisture and preventing brittle and rough materials. Filament storage dryers cost around $99.95 online.
What Is The Cost Of One 3D Print?
Assuming a filament cost of $20 per kilo (2.2 pounds) and an average print of 4 -5 hours uses 100g of filament, you pay roughly around $2.00 per print depending on the size and complexity of the item.
Prices do vary. A small 3D printed ring may cost $0.10, while a large bowl could take a day to print and cost $10.00. The filament spools will have recommended print sizes listed on them, but this is only a guide.
Take into account the cost of failed prints and conservatively add about 10% to your printing costs.
What Are The Hidden Costs Of 3D Printing?
You need to consider many hidden costs before purchasing a 3D printer, as these can become quite expensive if you have not included them in your budget.
- Power. Most 3D printers require electricity. Even though these costs aren’t huge, if you use your 3D printer for 2 hours per day, your average costs could be around an additional $10.00 per year.
- Ventilation. It would be best to have exceptionally good ventilation in the room that you will keep your 3D printer in, as the printer filament exudes fumes when heated up. Either keep all the windows open or invest in an air purifier.
- Parts. Upgrading or repairs to your existing 3D printer could range from $50.00 to $150.00,depending on your requirements. Add on 10% each time you take the 3D printer to a repairer if you can’t make the repairs yourself. Purchasing a manual for your particular 3D printer is an excellent investment as you can do your own troubleshooting before calling in the professionals.
- Software. Other than the drivers you need to install to make the 3D printer run, you will need designing software for designing your item to print. There are free tools available like Blender, but 3D CAD software could cost you from $500.00 to R2 100.00 per year, depending on your requirements.
- Finishing costs. Once your item has been printed, it will require sanding, painting, and polishing. Tool and finishing kits can be purchased online, starting at around $7.95 per tool.
- Your Time. Factor in your time when deciding on which 3D printer to buy. If you are a hobbyist and would like to start charging for one-of-a-kind printed items, a good place to start is by charging for the costs of the material involved and the price per hour for your dedicated time.
The costs of buying your own 3D Printer need to be weighed against the costs of a printing service designing and printing your item for you. If you are planning on becoming a hobbyist and designing, creating, and printing your own items, then purchasing a 3D printer is the way to go.
If you are only likely to design and print your own items occasionally, then instead approach a printing service and save on the costs of purchasing and running an at-home 3D printer.
Either way, you need to decide your needs and what your budget will allow before choosing the correct option for you.
3D printing is a novel and enjoyable hobby which will bring hours of enjoyment to the creator and printer.