Once you comprehend the principles of 3D printing, it is essential to contemplate the financial aspect. A 3D printer should be a long-term investment for your business that will continue to offer benefits and pay dividends for a prolonged period after its acquisition. However, how much does this technology cost?
Unlike outsourcing, investing in a 3D printer yields measurable rewards in terms of return on investment. It is smart to be mindful of the ongoing costs associated with owning a 3D printer, including materials expensesCo when seriously considering making this long-term asset purchase.
The list below should provide you with an indication of the various costs associated with different technologies and how these costs can vary. It will also help you identify which expenses are one-off or repeating. Please note that prices mentioned in this list are estimated and may be subject to alteration; thus, we strongly advise you to research further to get a more accurate idea of the actual cost involved.
Cost of 3D printer
The cost of 3D printers can be quite disparate, ranging from economical options suitable for the average household to more expensive models geared towards research and development departments in large businesses. Regardless of budget or purpose, there is a 3D printer available that will meet anyone’s needs.
Typically, FFF 3D printers offer a wide range of prices and capabilities, from low-cost hobbyist machines costing several hundred dollars to higher-performance desktop models ranging from $2,000 to $6,000. If you are looking for greater accuracy and resolution, then desktop SLA printers could be the ideal choice for you; these usually start at around $2,000 up to approximately $3,000. For more complex projects requiring high levels of detail and precision, an SLS printer may be necessary; however, this will typically cost upwards of at least $10,000.
Industrial machines, regardless of the technology they use, cost significantly more at a larger scale.
Servicing and Upkeep
Typically, the cost of replacing consumable parts over time should only be expected. Before purchasing any product from a seller, it is important to check what type of support is included in the price – this may include installation and maintenance services, as well as extended warranty options or an annual service plan. It is wise to enquire about these additional features that may come with your purchase before you commit to buying.
These plans can provide a degree of certainty for some, but customers need to be sure to carefully read through all of the details in the fine print to completely understand the terms and the coverage when something goes awry.
Post-processing peripherals are almost essential for SLA and SLS printers as they can add extra functionality. However, these extras come at a cost and may significantly increase your 3D printing expenses.
For those with access to peripherals and post-processing stations, FFF printers provide enhanced workflow options, such as automated material handling and improved accuracy. However, for SLA printers, manual cleaning of parts and curing in the sun – unless preferred by the user – make a purchase of a post-processing station necessary.
For regular use of an Ultimaker 3D printer, we have calculated that the approximate cost per annum will be around $50. However, suppose you would like to obtain a more exact figure. In that case, it is recommended that you investigate the power consumption specifications of your 3D printer and calculate the expense based on your estimated usage and the energy tariffs in your area.
Most professional-level 3D printers usually have a few essential software components designed to help you prepare your prints and efficiently manage multiple machines. Unfortunately, many cheaper 3D printers do not provide adequate software for this purpose, but we at Ultimaker are here to the rescue! Our incredibly popular and versatile Cura software is compatible with hundreds of different machines, and best of all, it’s completely free to download.
If you want to expand the use of 3D printing within your business unit or across your organization, purchasing an enterprise software plan may be a wise investment. Enterprise plans often come with additional features such as direct support, online training courses, and cloud storage for parts and projects. This can help ensure that all users have access to the resources they need to make 3D printing a success in your organization.
Considering material costs such as gas for your car, while it may not seem to be a considerable expense in the short-term, it can become one of the most substantial ongoing expenses over a prolonged period.
For FFF 3D printing, the cost of 3D printer filament for materials such as PLA or PETG is typically around $20 to $50 per kilogram. However, when more specialized engineering or support filaments are needed, prices can range from $60 to a maximum of $120 per kilogram. In any case, the cost of 3D printer filament generally varies depending on the type and quality of material being used.
Entry-level SLA resins typically range in price from around fifty dollars per liter. More advanced professional options can cost anywhere between one hundred and fifty to four hundred dollars. SLS powders tend to be slightly less expensive, ranging from one hundred to two hundred dollars per kilogram.
We sincerely hope you have enjoyed our informative article on 3D Printing and its associated cost. This type of technology has revolutionized the manufacturing process and it is now possible to produce intricate items quickly, conveniently, and cheaply. With advances in 3D printing technology continuing to be made on an ongoing basis, the possibilities are endless, making this an exciting time for all those involved in the industry.