3D printing is an additive manufacturing technique that forms an important part of every rapid prototyping service. As a result of the advantages of the process, for example, the ability to mold complex products, 3D printing services have recently exploded in popularity around the world. The rising demand for 3D printing across the globe, however, has influenced its cost.
3d printing services cost overview
In this article, we will break down some factors that influence the cost of 3D printing. We will discuss how the complexity of a design, material type, post-processing techniques, and other factors can alter 3D printing cost below.
3d printing metal
The cost is determined by the material you need for your project. This is because different techniques and methods are suitable to use with different types and amounts of materials. Due to the difference in 3D printing techniques based on different materials, there is a difference in the cost of the 3D printing. For example, let us compare the two common plastic types used in 3D printing: thermoplastics and thermosets.
On the one hand, thermoplastics are suitable for continuous material extrusion due to their heat reactivity. However, they are not strong, although their properties make them a very good rapid prototyping material. On the other hand, thermosets are strong. They have a flexible design and dimensional stability. Therefore, thermosets have a higher cost than thermoplastic and if you use thermosets in your project, its cost will be higher.
Also, in comparison to plastics, metals are frequently more expensive than 3D-printed composites. Therefore, metals will incur a bigger price.
3D printing cost is also affected by the thickness of the printing layer. The thickness of a layer determines the resolution of the print. So, the thinner the layer, the smoother and high quality the print will be.
The downside to having thinner layers is the time it takes to print it, increasing the units and cost of electricity used. This outflow is then factored into the cost of 3D printing. Therefore, it is essential to decide whether aesthetics or fast output (and cost) is of utmost importance to you.
3d printing device
Due to the power, material, build volume considerations, and parameter setup validation work required, industrial 3D printer setup costs are high.
A small photopolymer printer can cost as little as $25k, while a large-frame metal printer can cost millions. Depending on the technology, other running costs may be related to material recycling, inert gases, lasers, component washers, and safe-handling activities.
When purchasing an industrial 3D printer, 3D printing service providers will put the following into consideration: machine maintenance, operating expenses, machine downtime, consistent servicing, and post-processing factor. All these factors will influence the cost of your project in 3D printing service.
The shape of the cross-sectional layers used by the 3D printer to construct the part is mainly determined by the intricacy of the part’s geometry. 3D printers can swiftly complete layers that are simple, such as single-island layers for a cube. On the other hand, small features will need the printer to stop, move to the next position where the material continues, and restart.
To process these complex parts necessitate having the right equipment and team in terms of experience to plan effective strategies. This will, of course, reflect on its cost.
The size of a part you are working with will determine the amount of 3D printing material you need. Larger pieces require more layers to construct. However, a printer can create small items while requiring fewer materials. As an increase in size will mean more filaments, there is no doubt that there will be an increase in the 3D printing cost.
The size of the 3D printed materials might also affect the kind of team needed to actualize your project. Therefore, for quality service, you might incur a higher cost.
After 3D printed a product, the part must go through many post-processing techniques before use. These include curing, cleaning, polishing. Most post-processing techniques, such as polishing, metal plating, sandblasting, painting, coating, etc., require extra time and effort, which will be reflected in the cost table to you .
Competition is another factor that affects the cost. In places where there are many 3D printing services providers, there is bound to be a regulation in price to attract and keep customers. However, in such scenarios, always go for the right 3d printing company known for quality production.
Branding and Aesthetics
In the absence of competition, branding and aesthetics can determine how much 3D printing services cost. For rapid prototyping services known for quality products and with the necessary branding to complement it, you can expect a high price. The beauty about this is that once you choose them for your project, you are sure there is a 99% chance of quality production.
To find the best 3D printing service for your project might not be easy since there are numerous in the market. There are many deciding factors that you have to consider when choosing the right one. These include the material, complexity of design, branding and aesthetics, competition, etc. Each factor plays an important role in the cost calculation. But to understand these factors of 3d printing service cost which would help you when making a choice.