3D Printing is not just a trend anymore. For engineers, it has become the go-to fastest and most cost effective way of creating a prototype. So at SoloPoint Solutions, we educate ourselves on all things 3D Printing for the benefit of our engineering talents and clients.
This month, we are featuring an article written by Proto3000, a company that specializes in 3D Printing, Reverse Engineering, Rapid Prototyping and more, on what drives the pricing of a 3D Print:
Project engineers at Proto3000 often receive the question: “What determines the price of 3D printing services?” The size of parts, geometry and complication does affect price but there are also various other details to consider.
1. Material – The type of material required to build a part is probably the first aspect to determine the price. Material cost is associated with the mechanical properties as well as ease and speed of manufacturing. If you’re looking for the most cost effective material, a simple prototyping photopolymer would probably be the best option; if you have more functional requirements, you may need a higher strength material which could be more expensive.
The amount of support material on your design can also affect the price. Optimizing your design with self-supporting angles (usually around 45 degrees or more) uses less support material and can help reduce material expenses.
2. Labor – Labor costs depend on your part requirements, the 3D printing process, and the material you order. Metal parts built with DMLS, for instance, must be machined off of the platform, adding more hands-on labor time into the process. If your part requires a smooth surface or coatings, the price will likely be higher than a raw part only requiring support removal.
3. Lead Time – Time can play a big role in the cost of a part. If you need a part right away, we have to make space for it on a machine and in the queue of projects, pushing others down the list. If you have a longer lead time and don’t need it immediately, printers can fit the build in whenever there is open space, giving us the time to distribute parts more efficiently across machines which can lower your price.
To read this article in full or to learn more about 3D Printing, visit Proto3000’s website.