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How Much Does 3D Printing Cost?

Updated: Mar 15

3D printing is a relatively new technology that has been getting a lot of attention recently. 3D printing refers to any type of additive manufacturing process where the 3D printing material is joined together according to its digital design. There are many types of 3D printing, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. A common method used is stereolithography (SLA) where liquid polymers are cured with UV light, which allows the user to create photo-realistic models.


So how much does 3D printing cost? The cost of 3D printing, in general, can vary depending on the complexity, size, and intricacy of the 3D print. A low-complexity, small 3D print may only cost $0.50 to produce, while a high-complexity, larger 3D print might cost around $400. Sometimes the cost is also affected by the overall time it takes to make a 3d print from start to finish. For more info, please read our helpful article, How Long Does 3D Printing Take? Learn more about 3d print timing and timelines.


This article will help you understand what goes into pricing so you can make an informed decision before making a purchase.


Outsourced Production vs. In-House 3D Printing


The truth is that 3D printers have quickly become an integral part of many industries and can be found in offices all over the world. They’re the newest way to produce a wide range of products quickly. 3D printing can be used to create a customized, custom-fit product that is tailored specifically for the customer.


In today’s world, there are two methods of 3D printing: outsourced production and in-house 3D printing. With outsourced production, you send your designs and specifications to the manufacturer and they build your product for you based on those specifications. In-house 3D printing is the tried and true way to produce a large volume of custom parts efficiently.


In China, there are many small workshops that function as companies’ in-house production facilities. However, manufacturing your own 3D printed parts has its disadvantages. It requires a lot of on-site space and equipment, which can be expensive, on top of paying for employees with the proper skill set to run the machines.


Considerations Beyond Direct Costs


3D printing has been a hot topic in recent years, and its popularity is continuing to increase. The initial cost of a 3D printer and the 3D printer filament may seem like all you need to budget for when making your purchase, but there are other costs that should be accounted for before making that decision. The extra costs associated with 3D printing cover more than just the cost of the actual machine.


When 3D printing something, you should also factor in the time it will take to design the 3D objects as well as the cost of ink cartridges to ensure you come out on top. To get the most out of your 3D printing cost, you should find a printing service with affordable yet high quality software, hardware, and materials.



3D Printing Service Price Comparison


With the introduction of 3D printing, more businesses are getting into this new technology. One of the first things that strikes people is the cost. However, printing prices can vary based on many factors. 3D printing service prices can range from $10 to upwards of $5,000 depending on what is being printed, and the location of the different materials being used.


It’s best to always search and check your options before making a decision on where to buy so that you get the best deal for your order.



How 3D Printing Materials Affect Cost?

The cost of 3D printing materials can vary substantially, depending on what type of printing material is being used. A range of factors influence the cost of the printed items, including the type of filament required, color, production volume, and more. 3D printers will use a specific type of filament to produce certain objects which are then ready for use.


The most common materials that are used for this purpose are ABS plastics, PLA plastics, TPUs, and Nylons. The higher the quantity and quality of the material used for the 3D model, the better the print quality will be, but the material cost will also increase.



How Much Does a 3D Model Cost?


3D modeling is a very demanding task, though it’s a popular choice for designers, architects, engineers, and anyone looking for affordable and functional prototypes, so it takes time for 3D scanning to create a realistic 3D design.


Again, the pricing varies on the complexity of the project and the type of 3D printing material used. Prices are usually negotiable, so it’s important to get several quotes before deciding on one. Models are more affordable if they’re smaller or less detailed. The most cost-effective option is to use an automated model generator, but this often ends up with an imperfect model which would have to be edited manually.



Why is 3D Printing So Expensive?


3D printing has been around for a few decades, but in recent years, it's been gaining a lot of popularity in the industry. The reason why it's expensive is that it uses a different type of ink and has a variety of different materials such as plastic, metal, or ceramic to print 3D objects one layer at a time using computer-aided design (CAD) to guide their movements. These materials are often much more expensive than traditional materials and can cost thousands of dollars for just a small amount, which can affect the cost for both money and time. The 3D printer itself is also quite pricey.



How Long Does 3D Printing Take?


The advent of 3D printing technology has led to a growing demand for businesses that offer the service. People are eager to have their ideas turned into physical objects in less time than they ever thought possible. While the process may vary depending on what’s being printed, there are some general guidelines. The time needed usually takes anywhere from 8-12 hours depending on how detailed or complex the design is, what material is being used, and how big it is.



If you want to learn more about 3D printing or to start printing your 3D project, find us by 3d printing service near you and you get in touch with the experts at There You Have It 3D.


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