This is the first question we get when we get a new inquiry. So this is what we have to say.
The cost of 3D Printing depends on a lot of factors, such as:
Material Requirement & 3D Printing Technology Used
Material required for 3D Printing (Usually material required will decide the 3D Printing technology to be used). Here are the technologies of 3D Printing and their subsequent materials.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) aka Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) - Thermoplastics Polymer (ABS, PLA, HIPS, PETG)
Stereolithography(SLA) & Digital Light Processing (DLP) - Thermoset Polymer (All types of Photopolymer Resin)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) - Polyamide Powder (Nylon PA-12, Alumide)
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) - Powdered Metal (Titanium, Aluminium, Stainless Steel, etc.)
Binder Jetting - Powdered Material (Sandstone)
Material Jetting - Powdered Material (ABS-like, Rubber-like, Multi-color, Transparent, Rigid)
Use the most cost-effective 3D Printing material suited for the objects end-use.
Volume of an Object
All 3D Printing is volume based. Thus the more material used, the higher the cost of an object and vice-versa. If the object does not need to be solid, either design it such to be hollow or have escape holes (for SLS Printing & Binder Jetting) or ask Thirdinrev (aka us) to give you a quotation with infill (for FDM technology only).
An infill is usually used for printing parts in FDM technology. A thick outer shell is used in the perimeter and the interior is filled in percentage, based on the required strength of the object. Various patterns such as honey-comb, grid, cubic, concentric etc. can be chosen as per final use. The use of infill reduces both time and material used while keeping the object strong.
Now, whether an object requires a support while 3D Printing or not, depends a whole lot on its geometry, complexity and the 3D Printing technology being used for production.
The volume of support is directly proportional to cost of the object.
Complexity is free! Since 3D Printing technology is Additive Manufacturing which wastes less or almost no extra raw material, the added cost of raw material can be avoided. Also since the object is made in layers, complex or not, the price will not vary much.
Unless the cost of prototyping at a service is exponentially high, using a 3D Printing service rather than investing in a 3D Printer is the smartest move. Justified below.
Quality 3D Printers are expensive to buy and operate.
The material used in the 3D Printers is weather sensitive and come with a expiry date.
Imported machines and materials have excessively high customs duty and lengthy paperwork involvement.
Additive Manufacturing has so many different technologies for manufacturing. It would burn a hole in your budget, if you buy multiple professional grade machines for production in various materials. Also. these machines would require skilled persons to run and operate them.
Thus, If you only have to print a handful of items and cannot justify the cost of purchasing professional grade machines then it is best advised to use a 3D Printing service.
Contact email@example.com to start with your first 3D Print. Want to talk instead? Call us at +91 990 997 3333.