Costs of 3d Printing – Buyer’s Guide

3D printing can be accomplished in various ways. The 3D printer needs a digital file (.stl file) so that 3D printing will happen in a successful manner. For 3D printing various kinds of materials are used which include powder, liquid and sheets. Hundreds of layers are printed as per the instructions given by the computer present in the printer. It is very much required to figure out the cost of printing so that you can undertake various projects without any difficulty.

In order to accomplish 3D printing, you should purchase the support material and the filament. Most of the commonly used filaments are ABS and PLA. 3D printing costs will not only depend on the speed of the printer but also on the print material. As cartridge is used which contains the ink in traditional 2D printers, you should go for filament of required fineness. It is required to follow the specifications mentioned by the manufacturer.


What is the actual cost?

The actual cost of 3D printing is directly proportional to the amount of the raft and support required for each pound or kilogram that you will print.

The average cost will be of the order of $0.02 to $0.08 per cubic centimeter. It will be $0.33 to $1.32 per cubic inch.

The formula holds good to calculate the print cost:

Print Cost = Weight of Model x (Spool Cost/ Weight of Full Spool)


Online calculation

There are online resources through which you will be able to find the cost of 3D printing. The values that are required to be entered on such sites are Volume, Surface Area and bounding box. On the other hand, you can upload the .stl file so that the approximate printing cost can be found out. You can visit such sites for definite pricing information.

It is required to go through premium sites so that you will get accurate information. The estimates will be prepared after conducting few real tests. You can take them as guide in most of the cases.


Factors influencing the printing cost

  • Type of material
  • Nature of printing
  • Quality of finish
  • Type of 3D printer
  • 3D Printer speed
  • Printing technology


How to get pricing information?

There are dedicated sites which will offer the pricing information of 3D printer and the printing materials. At the moment 3D printers are being used by entrepreneurs and hobbyists as well.

If you would like to figure out the current price, you can check the current market price on various sites including For example, ABS filament of 1Kg spool is priced at $33 at the moment. It is manufactured by Zen Toolworks. The price varies as per the brand and various characteristics demanded by the design and the printer.



You should know the correct ways of operation of the 3D printer so that you will not only print high quality object but also will be able print the object at low price. Before purchasing the filament, you should cross check the suitability of the filament for the machine that you are operating with.



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