How to Calculate 3D Printing Cost

Online tools to help you determine how much a 3D print job costs

Most new technology carries a steep price tag when introduced to the general consumer market, and 3D printing is no different. The material and equipment costs are a bit prohibitive for most consumers. In response, 3D printing service bureaus have sprung up to fill the void, performing the printing for those who don't want to invest in hardware, materials, and training. However, these costs vary among providers. To complicate matters, costs change within the same service as the technology matures. Here's how to figure out costs using three online price comparison services.

How to Compare 3D Printing Costs Among Providers

Several price-comparison services are available to help you estimate 3D printing costs. These come in especially handy if your slicer program doesn't do that for you.

3DCompare

3DCompare offers an instant quote and printability feedback. To get a quote on your 3D printing project:

  1. Upload your new 3D file, and specify whether the project is in millimeters, centimeters, or inches.

    The file must be below 50 MB and in .stl or .obj format.

    3DCompare gives you an instant quote on your 3D printing projects
  2. The service then searches a regularly updated database to construct estimates that include printing costs, turnaround times, materials, and shipping fees from industry leaders such as Shapeways, Sculpteo, and iMaterialise. The database is updated regularly to ensure accurate and current information.

  3. If you don't have a file available to upload, contact 3DCompare directly for a quote.

3DPrintHQ

Jason King's post, The True Cost of Running a Desktop 3D Printer, explores various aspects of 3D printing costs such as materials, electricity, initial printer investment, depreciation, and failed prints. Finally, he offers a cost comparison calculator tool and can send you a spreadsheet so you can run your own numbers.

3D Part Price

The 3D Part Price 3D pricing estimator is fast and simple. Here's how to use it to get a quote for your 3D printing project:

  1. Upload your file. It must be 25 MB or less.

  2. Enter parameters like layer height, print speed, and price per hour or gram.

  3. Choose the material and slicer.

  4. Select Submit. Calculations take less than a minute.

    3DPartPrice lets you set extra parameters before getting a quote.