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Is 3d Printing Expensive?

Is 3d Printing Expensive?

The possibilities of creating incredible masterpieces are endless in the 3D printing industry. Individuals and businesses are becoming more interested in 3D printing. That isn't to imply that there aren't roadblocks in the way of someone passionate about the subject immersing themselves in it.

 The most significant stumbling block is the cost. 3D printing is not cheap. The cost of equipment, software, post-processing, and, of course, materials may quickly add up for use. However, 3D printing costs can be brought down with the strategies discussed in the second section of this article. In this article, we will be showing you these things:

  • What Makes 3D printing Expensive?
  • Why is 3D printing Inexpensive?
  • FAQs

What Makes 3D Printing Expensive?

Some certain factors make the price of 3D printing cost a fortune. We’ve outlined them below:

  1. The Cost of Getting and Running a Printer

 If you're beginning a 3D printing company or seeking to earn some money from 3D printing, you should include the cost of a 3D printer when determining how much it will require to 3D print things.

Depending on the technology, 3D printers can cost anything between $200 to $150,000. The painstakingly built and expensive printers are only created in small quantities, and their price will only drop as more units are sold, and cheaper processes and materials are discovered.

You may be able to save money by replacing some of the printer's common elements with less costly replacements. Also, the type of printer you want to go for depends on the purpose for which the printer is used for. Big industries would need a more technologically advanced 3D printer than one that needs it at home.

In some ways, the time it would take to 3D print contributes to the cost of 3D printing, which is determined by the 3D model you want to print. 3D printing takes longer for larger and more sophisticated designs than smaller and simpler things. 3D printing of more excellent quality 3D print would likewise take longer.

So, if 3D printing your 3D model takes roughly 4 hours, here is the solution. It would help if you acquire a faster printer or charge your clients for the electricity consumed to power the printer.

  1. The Materials

The materials needed to actually print are costly. Filaments used in commercial printers are far more expensive than common materials at the end of this range, and filaments, whether plastic, metal, or even glass, require other processes before they can be utilized. However, keep in mind that there is frequently a direct link between pricing and material attributes. As a result, the cheapest material will have quality and property limitations.

Even if you're a newbie to 3D printing, you've definitely come across the terms "ABS" and "PLA." These two materials are the most extensively utilized 3D printing materials available. These thermoplastics are popular among hobbyists since they are inexpensive. These filaments can range from $20 to $70 per kilogram. Although they are cheap, creating a high 3D print from them is difficult.

The flawless finishing of these prints will take several hours of post-processing work (You'll get more information on this later.) Furthermore, 3D printing sophisticated 3D models with these materials are almost difficult.

Affordable Printers for Non-Industrial Use

Let's look at the prices of some of the most common printing technologies at different pricing ranges that can be used at home.

  • SLA and DLP

People that desire a higher print speed and quality than FDM printers employ resin-based printers such as the SLA and DLP. SLA printers in the $150-$200 range include the Anycubic Photon Zero and the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K. These printers are easy-to-use equipment aimed at newbies.

  • XYZprinting da Vinci Mini

The XYZprinting da Vinci Mini is a low-cost 3D printer that offers a winning mix of cheap cost, ease of setup and usage, good print quality, and smooth, error-free operation. It is a low-budget printer which costs less than $300.

  • Creality Ender V2

We chose the Creality Ender 3 V2 for a price of under $300 since it has a reasonable price point combined with excellent performance and features.

  • Prusa Mini plus

If you have a little more money to invest and don't mind losing a little build space, the Original Prusa Mini plus (around $500) is hard to beat. The Mini+ provides consumers with a fantastic printing experience.

  • Voxelab Aquila

This printer is highly affordable, with a price tag of less than $300. With minimal effort, excellent print quality is attained, and the carborundum glass substrate performs exceptionally well with ABS and PLA. You can still work with this printer to 3D print your models at home.

3D Printers for Industrial Purposes

Although these printers mentioned above are highly affordable and cheap, they might not produce the quality you want on a large scale. These industrial printers are pretty expensive. Some might even be very expensive. Here are some industrial printers and their price tags:

  • 3D Systems Fab Pro 1000: The most cost-effective option on the list, capable of creating and printing accurate plastic models for castings, oral models, and dental splits. Costs less than $5000.
  • Raise3D Pro2 Plus: For prototypes and functioning goods, it offers a high resolution and remarkable accuracy. It consists of two extruder heads removable printing beds. It is exact and costs less than $6000.
  • Voxeljet VX 4000: This 3D printing machine is known as the largest industrial 3D printing equipment in the world. Because the printer's construction volume is 4000 mm x 2000 mm x 1000 mm and it costs less than $250000.
  1. The Cost of Printing Materials

In 3D printing, this is a significant ongoing expense. The strength of the 3D printing material impacts how good the 3D model will come out to a considerable extent. Let's go through some of the most common printing materials and their prices.

  • PLA , ABS, PETG Filaments: Some of the most common filaments include PLA, ABS, and PETG. Most FDM enthusiasts use them because of their low cost (approximately $20-$25 per spool). They are available in a variety of colors. These filaments are generally simple to print with, with PLA being the most basic, although they can be too fragile for various purposes.
  • Special Purpose Filaments: Wood, Amphora glow in the dark, flexible filaments (TPU, TCU), and other specialty filaments are also available.Exotic filaments are used for specific projects that necessitate these innovative materials, so their prices are higher than the average. Wood filament's price on amazon ranges from $25 to $5.  The same goes for glow-in-the-dark filaments
  • High-Quality Filaments: Metal-infused, fiber, and PEEK filaments, for example, are expensive filaments that are used in situations where resource quality and strength are critical. They range in price from $30 to $400 per kilogram.
  • SLS Printer Filaments: The material used by SLS printers is a powdered medium. The standard printing powder for an SLS printer, PA 12 nylon, costs between $100 and $200 per kilogram. The cost of powder for metal SLS printers may be as high as $700 per kilogram, depending on the nature of the metal.
  1. Post-processing costs

After the model has been printed, it may require additional treatments before being utilized. The print supports are removed using an FDM printer, and the model's surface is machined to give it a smooth finish. These activities increase the amount of labor required.

Models printed with resin-based 3D printers are frequently cleaned in a chemical solution. Some individuals choose an all-in-one solution, such as the Anycubic Wash & Cure, which might raise your prices, but there are always inexpensive solutions.

Can 3D Printing be Cheaper?

Although we’re agreed on the high costs of 3D printing, there are some things that can make it less expensive: 

  • Lower Cost of Assembling parts: To create complex designs, consider breaking them into pieces to make them simpler and economical. You don’t have to make it all at once. Breaking it into fragments would reduce the cost making it cheaper.
  • Low production rate on a large scale: Low production implies a high cost. When 3D printing industries are highly sorted for, the production rate will increase, which would help reduce the cost to the barest minimum. Industries can get the 3D printing materials in bulk which implies a low price.


Here we’ve answered some questions you may have about the cost of 3D printing.

  1. How Much Does 3D Printing Typically Cost?

We can’t exclusively decide how much it’ll really cost to start 3D printing because the cost depends on the type of services you need it for. If 3D printing is just a hobby to you, starting with less than $300 is feasible. For industrial purposes, you will need to add more money. It is possible to start with $10000 for folks who want to earn money from 3D printing.

  1. Should I purchase my printing material or hire a 3D printing service?
  2. If you can't afford a high-quality printer and you're merely 3D printing for pleasure, purchasing a 3D printer may be a better long-term investment.
  3. If you value speed and quality above all else, employing a 3D printing service is the preferable alternative. You'll get access to large-scale 3D printers with capabilities that DIY 3D printing can't match.   


Different factors affect the cost of 3D printing, which has been explained in this article. 3D printing may or not be expensive, depending on your motive for engaging in 3D printing. This article provides a guide for both hobbyists and industrial users. 

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