There is a general assumption that 3D printing expensive. In fact, this is the first thing that someone would ask before considering having 3D printing services. There is no definite answer to this question.
3D printing can either be cheap or expensive depending on various parameters.
We do understand the fear of 3D printing in relation to the cost. 3D printing seems to be a complex process and this can be scary. Also, the efficiency and the ability to develop complex products from 3D printing make people assume that 3D printing is a costly process.
In this blog post, we are going to debunk the myth that assumes 3D printing is expensive. Instead, we will help you know how much you will pay for the service
Factors that affect the cost of 3D printing
Generally, it is easy to judge the cost of 3D printing based on physical or tangible factors. For instance, you can easily assume that the cost is high because the product looks large.
Other variables such as the type of 3D printer, the material used, design, and the 3D printing company can also affect the cost.
To make things clearer, here are the key factors that determine the 3D printing cost.
3D Printing technology
3D printing machines do not use one universal operation mode. They have different technologies that will eventually determine the nature of the products to be created.
Three main types of printing technologies are Selective laser Sintering( SLS), Stereolithography(SLA), and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).
The type of 3D printing technology that you use will affect the final cost of printing. So, between the three options, which one is the cheapest and which one is the most expensive?
FDM printers are the cheapest of the three. This means that 3D printing services will cost you less. In fact, SLS is ten times more than FDM. Apart fro just the costs of the 3D printers, the difference between these two is also in the way that they work.
In FDM 3D printing, the printer extrudes the thermoplastic material using temperature. His mode of working is quite cost-effective.
The type of technology will also determine the filament to be used for printing. The filaments for FDM is cheaper than that for SLA. This will in turn affect the overall cost of 3D printing.
The size of the object
Probably you saw it coming. It is impossible to ignore the size of the object when it comes to analyzing the cost of 3D printing. Naturally, you will pay more for printing large objects than smaller objects.
Why does it cost more to print large objects? This is usually translated to the amount of filament that you will need for printing. Usually, the bigger the 3D print, the more the filament. You will eventually pay more to use several filaments and this will make your 3D printing service expensive.
Type and brand of the filament
Still, on the matter of filaments, do you know that the type of 3D filaments can have a direct impact on the overall cost of printing. Some 3D printing filaments are capable of producing better quality prints than others. You will pay more for such filaments and this can make the 3D printing service expensive.
The brand name of the filament also has a direct impact on the price. Some brands are known for selling their filaments at high prices making 3D printing to be an expensive affair.
However, you need to be extra vigilant as the brand name and even the price of the filament may not always translate to the quality of the product. You may end up paying more for the filament buy still get low-quality products.
3D printing material
Which type of material are you planning to use for printing your products? This will have a direct impact on the cost of the additive manufacturing process. Some 3D materials are expensive than others.
ABS is one of the most common plastics that are used for 3D printing. It is easy to work around with this material. The price of ABS is lower than most materials such as PLA and metals.
However, there is no way to work around the issue of 3D material. It will all depend on the product that you would like to print. Some products are purely made of specific materials. Also, since you would want to build quality products, you will use the best materials for 3D printing.
How long does it take to print the product through 3D printing? The longer the process of printing, the higher the cost. This is because time is directly related to other 3D printing resources such as electricity and the labor required.
Time taken for 3D printing will depend on the nature of the project and the type of 3D printer that you use. Most 3D printing companies will put time into consideration when quoting the price of their service.
However, with inventions of eco-friendly 3D printers, time has been of less concern. This is because modern printers consume less electricity and also have the auto shut down capability.
The thickness of the layer
How thick would you like your product to be? The layer thickness is directly proportional to the amount of filament that you will use when printing your product. Thick layers mean that you will require more filament and also more electricity to print. The overall will be high cost of printing.
Cost of 3D printer
Are you planning to do 3D printing by yourself? Then we will have to consider the capital required to determine whether the process will be expensive or cheap.
The price of a 3D printer is just one of the things that we must consider when calculating the total cost. There are different types of 3D printers and some are expensive than others.
So, I hope that you now have the answer to whether 3D printing is expensive or not. In case you would like to get clarification, consider spending some time with 3D printing experts so that you can learn some tips