We live in an exciting age where you can almost snap your fingers and will something into existence. Not by magic or fairytales, but with the power of 3D printing – a technology capable of literally bringing your ideas to life.
Did you know that companies like SpaceX and Tesla have been utilizing 3D printing technology for years in prototypes for both cars and rockets?
From 3D printed sushi to organs and prosthetic limbs – 3D printing is one of the most innovative technologies of our time. A 3D printer can be a great long-term investment for your business, adding value for years to come.
Keep reading for a rundown of 3D printing costs so you can start 3D printing your own prototypes.
How Does 3D Printing Work?
3D printing falls under the umbrella of additive manufacturing, where objects are created by repeatedly layering material. This allows you to create complex parts in a fraction of the time it would take to make them using standard means.
Modern 3D printers bring this process right into your home or business. Once you have a 3D printer, the next step is to create a blueprint of your object, which can be done independently or sourced online.
Once the design is sent to the printer, strands of plastic or other materials are fed into the printer head and heated. Once melted, they can create 3D designs right onto the print bed.
Types Of 3D Printing
Many people don’t realize that there are quite a few different 3D printing techniques available. Four of the most common and widely used today include:
FDM (Fusion Deposition Modeling)
FDM is the standard 3D printing model. Imagine this machine as a large, automated hot-glue gun. The filament goes in one end, gets pushed through a hot nozzle, and the melted material gets layered to build a design.
SLA is the original 3D printing technique. It works by shining UV light into a vat of photoreactive resin. This light cures and solidifies the resin, forming the object you are printing.
SLS (Selective Laser Sintering)
SLS is commonly used by engineers and some of the best 3D printers for industrial manufacturing. High-powered lasers fuse together small polymer particles until they form a solid structure.
Combining the methods of FDM and SLA 3D printing, this machine squirts tiny drops of curable liquid onto a build surface, where it hardens using UV light. This method is quick and precise but can be costly.
3D Printing Cost
There are several costs associated with 3D printing, beginning with the machine itself. You can find models for 3D printers ranging from as low as $200 for a mini-unit and up to tens of thousands of dollars for industrial.
After this, you must factor in the cost of supplies, mainly the filament. The filament can run as low as $16 per kg for basic polymer filament or up to $60 per kg for specialty filaments.
If you are printing large objects, you’ll be running through filament quickly, and your price will vary depending on your usage.
If you’re 3D printing for business purposes, other costs to consider include measurement and design costs, printing time, packaging, shipping, and the electricity to run your units.
Create Your World With A 3D Printer
3D printing cost is minimal compared to the possibilities. Today, everything from organs and limbs to parts for rockets and cars is being 3D printed. Tomorrow, who knows? The possibilities are endless – what will you create?
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