How much to charge for 3D printing products? It is a famous question of many new 3D printing service providers. If you are also new to this business, you need to learn many things that will affect the price of the products you are about to sell.
Get to Know the Business First
Additive manufacturing or 2D printing is a specific process to uses a digital file in creating a 3-dimensional solid object. The making of a 3D object can be done by using additive processes. The process will lay down some successive layers to create an object from a specific material.
Every single layer is a thin slice of the object’s cross-section. The 3D printing process is unlike subtractive manufacturing which is hollowing out or cutting out a piece of plastic or metal with some machines like the milling machine.
This 3D printing allows you to create a complex shape simply by using less material compared to traditional methods. There are many examples of this 3D printing product. For example, prosthetics, movie properties, architectural scale models, and many industrial products are 3D printing products.
How Much to Charge For 3D Printing Products
There are so many factors that are going to affect the price of a 3D printing product. The cheapest one can be $3 and the priciest one can reach thousands of dollars. Below are some factors you need to learn before charging your clients specific prices.
The cost of your 3D printer
A 3D printing business won’t run without a 3D printer, that’s why you need to consider the buying and running cost of your 3D printer. The cost of 3D printers is between $200 and $150,000, according to the technology it has. If you purchase a $2,000 3D printer, how much should you charge each client?
If you want to use that printer for 8 hours a day, for 2 years, then you need to find the total operational hours first. It will be 8x365x2=5,840 total operational hours. And then you need to divide the price of the printer by the operational hours.
This means you need to divide $2,000 by 5,840 total operational hours, you will get about $0.35 per hour. If a 3D model needs 5 hours to finish, then you need to charge your client $1.75 only for the operational cost of your machine.
The 3D model volume
Anyone who is in 3D printing services will ask their clients to send the 3D model before the printing process begins. The 3D model is going to help you calculate the total model volume, including the supports you generate for the model.
The larger a 3D model’s volume, the higher the printing cost will be. There are some ways you can do to reduce the 3D printing costs, one of those ways is hollowing the model. For example, a 2ft model may have less volume compared to a 1ft 3D model.
It is possible if your 2ft 3D model has a hollow inside while the 1ft 3D model is solid on its inside. That is why estimating the price of a 3D model is not easy at all. You need to ask your client whether he wants the inside of the 3D printing product to be hollow or solid.
The 3D model complexity
Another aspect to consider in deciding how much to charge for 3D printing products is the complexity of each model. Some models are ready to print while some clients have a plain model and require you to design it first. The process of 3D printing takes planning and preparation.
For many services, automation is the best thing that makes any transaction much faster and better. For many simple products, automation is the best solution. But if you are going to print architectural models and complex parts, keep in mind that human guidance is important.
Even with a super sophisticated algorithm, human guidance is going to help you save some production costs. Some clients may send you a model of a 3D project and want you to 3D print the model. Inspect the file and you may figure out that some problems will waste a lot of materials.
The material type: thermoplastics
The materials to print 3D objects will also affect the price of a 3D printing product. There are two most famous materials for this business: resin and thermoplastics. Thermoplastics are the cheaper option, with the cost of these filaments between $20 and $70 per kilogram.
Even though thermoplastics are a cheap material, using these materials to print 3D objects is not easy at all. You need to spend hours processing the product to give the product a smoother finish. But, is it the best material for all 3D printing objects?
Thermoplastics are not the best material for more complex 3D models. These materials are only excellent for simpler models and they will produce cheaper products for your clients.
The material type: thermosets
Unlike some other materials for 3D printing products, the resin is the best one because of its high versatility. It is super versatile, and perfect for all complex projects. Resin is also going to give you high-quality 3D prints but this is a pricey material that affect how much to charge for 3D printing products.
The average price for the standard resin is $50 per liter while some other resin materials can reach $300 per liter. Fortunately, many 3D printing businesses are usually having special access to lower prices for resin. That’s why they can create a bit more affordable products from resin.
If you are choosing resin as the main material of your business, you need to be willing to charge your client a higher price. And then you need to choose the right finishing type that will also affect the price of your 3D printing products.
Polishing 3D printing products
After printing a 3D model, there will be post-processing to cure, clean, and polish the product before it is ready to use. How to charge a client for 3D printing products from filaments? If you print a product from filaments, you don’t want to polish the product and add a polishing cost.
You will spend hours removing supports and sanding the prints, these steps will also cost a lot. In the end, the result of polishing 3D printing products from filaments won’t be as great as the ones made of resin. But if the products are from resin, cure them with UV and then polish them easily.
You can polish the resin products by using a sandblaster or by hand. The 3D models of the objects matter because they can affect post-processing. Complex models are hard to clean and require a lot of patience and expertise to clean them.
Finishing 3D printing products
Usually, clients will need more details about the finishing of the 3D printing products. Some clients want gold finishing, Pantone color finishing, or chrome finishing for their 3D printing objects. Fortunately, with current technology in 3D printing, it is easy to accomplish the desire of each client.
How much to charge for 3D printing products with some finishing? It depends on what kind of finishing your client wants. Inform your client that the price for different finishings is different so they will know which finishing is the right one for them before placing their order.
You should add the finishing cost along with the previous six factors. This way, you’ll get the ideal price for each client. But don’t forget to consider the profit margin so that you can keep your business running for years.
The business’s profit margin
If you want to stay in this 3D printing business, then you must add a profit margin after deciding the cost for your 3D printing products. The profit margin is between 50% and 90% of the printing material cost. You also need to know about the minimum fee or the base price.
You can add the base price if the 3D printing cost is less than certain amounts. It won’t make sense to print a 3D product that cost just $3. Even the most automated printing service will still involve labor, the solution is to add an extra quantity or pay the minimum fee between $30 and $90.
You may want to use the cost of 3D printing material as your basis. But usually, the profit margin is much lower, especially after including the overhead and labor costs.
You may also want to consider some other factors that are going to affect the price of the 3D printing products you create. Electricity costs, general maintenance of your devices, additional materials, and also costs for software like Slicers and CAD should affect the price of your 3D printing products.
Slicers may be free but some other software like Simplify3D requires you to pay. Find the best yet affordable software so that you can save while gaining profit from your 3D printing business.
How much to charge for 3D printing products? You will be able to answer this question after considering the nine factors above. Make sure that you determine the best price for your products to keep your business running.