3D Printing Cost

3D Printing Cost for Beginners: Factors to Consider

What are the various factors to consider when calculating the 3D printing cost? Many factors come into play, including the filament material, the colors, the density, the size, and the structure of the printed object itself.
You must take into account the 3D printer itself. How much power does it consume, and how much does it cost to keep it running?
In this post, we’ll go over some of the different factors that contribute to the overall cost of 3D printing and give you some pointers on what to look out for.

The density and complexity

The density and intricacy of the 3D printed object come first. The density of an object has a significant impact on its structural integrity and function. Unfortunately, it also has a significant impact on the cost of printing. A denser object requires more material, which increases the cost.

The complexity of the object is another factor in calculating 3D printing costs. Perhaps the print has a difficult structure that requires multiple supports, or perhaps the print has a structure that will take the printer longer to print. Even though neither scenario wastes any material because the supports can always be recycled, the main cost factor here is the duration of the machine running.

Which of two objects with the same mass, a simple cube and an action figure with a complex design, do you think would be more expensive to produce? The action figure is the correct answer. As previously discussed, more intricate objects would necessitate more supports and take longer to print, implying that more electricity would be consumed. That is an important factor to consider when calculating the cost of 3D printing.

The material and the color

Before we proceed, let us first define the materials used in 3D printing filaments. The filaments are made of thermoplastics, which are plastics that melt rather than burn when heated. This makes it easier to shape and form the material, making it ideal for 3D printing. Thermoplastics are relatively inexpensive, but they become expensive when they are manufactured to serve a different purpose than regular filaments. Depending on the application, they can range from half a dollar to ten dollars per pound.

There are various types of filaments, each with its own set of applications. The design and application of these filaments differ. In 3D printing, the most commonly used filaments are acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (abs) and polylactic acid (pla). Because they are easily processed, machined, and glued together, ABS filaments are widely used. Pla filaments are popular because they can be printed at low temperatures and do not require a printing bed. It is critical to determine which material you require when calculating the cost of your prints.

Typically, the color of the filaments is also considered, as some colors are more difficult to obtain than others. You may also be ordering this specific color for a specific project, in which case investing in new filaments will always be considered.

Cost of post-processing

The finishing process, such as polishing, painting, or metal plating, is critical to calculating the cost of 3D printing. When calculating the cost, you must account for the additional labor and materials that you will require.

The 3D printer itself

Some printers can only print in specific materials, whereas others can print in a variety of materials. You should also consider how much power your 3D printer uses. Does it use more or less in comparison to other printers? Not only should the material be accounted for, but so should the labor and electricity used. Considering these aren’t useful if you’re only printing for yourself, but in businesses, electricity plays a significant role in your bills. Aside from the cost of buying a 3D printing, the 3d printer’s maintenance is also costly. How frequently do you need to replace components? How much does it cost to replace parts? Maintaining equipment such as 3D printers is a difficult task, so you should always include it in your 3D printing cost calculation.

What is the intended use of the finished product?

The final printed object’s use or purpose has a significant impact on the product’s price. You can increase the value of your product based on how it is used. When a product is printed with the intention of being used commercially, its value skyrockets. Let’s look at two examples. Assume you have a 3D printed ornament as well as a 3D printed utility tool. Even if they were made of the same materials and painted the same color, the utility tool would be more valuable than the ornament.

What effect do you want your design to have?

Are you looking for speed and a fully functional prototype, or precision and a beautiful polished-looking product? Or perhaps both? This is related to the previous factor. In general, prototypes would be less expensive than precision over speed products. This is due to the fact that prototypes are typically only used to test the design and are not used to create the final product. If you were to create a claw, for example, you would first create a prototype, possibly with a simple design. Because it is more detailed, the final product for that design would be much more complex. In addition, the finished product would incorporate more designs than a prototype.


What if your design does not print correctly? Is there anyone who will repair your design for free, or do you have to do it yourself? How much will it cost you if you go it alone? How will you obtain replacement parts if they are required? If your design is not printed properly, it could be due to one of three factors, or a combination of two or all three. First and foremost, your design failed. It happens every now and then, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The second possibility is that an external factor disrupted the printing process, which is less likely. The third likely scenario is that your printer has failed. These three scenarios are typically handled by the printer. Yes, you are on your own, but you can consider more based on a specific condition. Mistakes can occur if your print is a one-of-a-kind request and a difficult task to complete. This should be taken into account.


There are so many factors to consider when calculating the cost of your print, but keep in mind that the cost of the materials is the most important thing.  The costs  are not only paying for the products, but also for your services. If you are considering 3D printing as a cost-effective option and measure to meet your design needs, you should also consider outsourcing service from a reputed and reliable service provider.

As a leading rapid prototyping company in China, LEADRP has rich experience in 3D printing, and we can offer SLA, SLS, 3D printing service for our customers. Please contact us for a instant quote on any 3D printing project you want us to handle for you.

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