Imagination may run wild and free, but 3D print materials don’t grow on trees. You may be surprised at how much an average 3D print project costs, especially if you’re undertaking a large-scale endeavor that requires different types of filaments, bolts and nuts, post-processing materials, and hardware sundries. There is nothing more heartbreaking than having to stop in the middle of a project because of a lack of planning and erroneous 3D printing cost calculations.
Getting precise 3D printing cost calculations at the onset of the project also comes especially handy when you’re offering 3D printing services in your home as a side hustle or if you sell 3D printed goods. Here are factors to consider when developing your own 3D printing cost calculator.
3D Printer Filaments
One of the easiest most obvious step when starting a project is to determine which filament you would be using for your print. Canvass around and check for the cheapest yet best quality 3D printer filaments online. Once you have found the perfect filaments, find out how much filament you would be needing. Most FDM 3D printing software programs give a preview of the print dimensions, so you’ll know how much you need.
Computation: In order to get the filament cost, multiply the cost per gram and the number of grams used
Of course, you’re going to use power for your printer. Determine how long electricity will be needed for the project.
Computation: Multiply length of project by electricity rate per kilowatt-hour.
Printer Setup and Print Time
Now here’s the part where you can set your own rates. How much is your time worth? How much time will you be losing by setting up your printer and supervising the printing?
Computation: Multiply these two together, and you’ll come up with your professional fee.
You have to account for the chance of failure. It is unavoidable but if there’s a chance that something might go wrong with your printing, then it probably will. You would need to factor in the additional materials and time used if something fails. Find out the likelihood of failure of the project and go from there.
Cost of printer
If you bought your 3D printer especially for the purpose of providing printing services, you would also need to take into account how much you shelled out for it. Of course, you don’t have to charge its whole price every project.
Computation: What you should do is take the total cost and divide it over expected prints.
Maintenance time can take away from your potential earnings, but there is a way that you could profit off that. Cleaning the nozzles after every project and flushing out clogs are worth time that you can be paid for.
There is nothing wrong with breaking even, but where’s the fun in that? You should be accounting for profit margin so you can pocket some money on top of your expenses.
Bonus: Outsource it
Doing it on your own can sometimes be more costly than having it printed by 3D printer businesses, particularly for large-scale and bulk projects. If you are flooded with projects or your 3D printer couldn’t handle them, you can outsource them. We here at X3D offer competitively priced 3D printing solutions bolstered by our reliable customer support. Call us on 08 6380 7488 for our 3D printing cost calculator.