3D printing is a method of piece production of products on a 3D printer. To print a finished product, you need a solid 3D model of it. Unlike turning from a solid volume of a workpiece (3D milling), an object is built up layer by layer from a plastic thread, polymer resins or sprayed metals. Monolithic structures are produced in one printer session. Complex mechanisms, buildings and weapons are grown piece by piece and assembled separately. If you order such an object, then the price of 3D printing the parts increases the cost of the entire service due to the need for assembly and testing.

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3D printing is used for prototyping, production of limited quantities of products and the production of some products for technical industries (much less often in large corporations). The first 3D printers worked only with plastic, now printing with metal-plastic composites, metals, organics and even living cells is available. When assessing the cost of a 3D printing service, the following is taken into account:

  • consumption of materials;
  • cost of equipment;
  • elapsed time;
  • designing a computer model.

Cost factors for 3D printing

  1. Consumption of materials. When 3D printing is offered as a service,
    the price is calculated per gram or cm³. The cost of the materials themselves is also different. Plastic is comparatively cheaper than composites or metal powder, but usually this difference is not included in the cost of the service.
  2. Cost of equipment depends on the suitable 3D printing technology for the product. The more complex the technology, the higher the price of the printer and the final service. To create plastic figures, design prototypes, non-load-bearing parts, suitable inkjet FDM printer … Laser 3D printers for SLM and SLS print … You will find a complete list of possible types of printing in the article 3D printing technology
  3. Total time. The volume of work increases the cost of printing. If your 3D model has a lot of overhanging fragments, then props are printed for them. This slows down the printing process and requires post-processing – removing the braces and sanding the seams. No props are required for laser printing, as the unused metal powder itself forms a temporary framework. But here, too, time is wasted on the post-processing of products, adding the factor of “metalwork” to the cost of the service.
  4. Computer model. Concept development and 3D model creation increases the cost of printing. For example, the price of 3D printing of human figurines includes the creation of a 3D model of the figurine and its layering, not just printing and post-processing. If you order printing using a ready-made 3D model that has already been created, then the cost of the service will include only the markup into layers in slicer * and optimization for the 3D printer environment.
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* Slicer – a program for slicing a 3D model into layers for printing.

The price of materials for printing on a 3D printer

ABS plastic for 3D printing. Used with FDM printers. Widespread, shock-resistant, does not change properties due to moisture and acidic environment. It is used in the furniture, automotive and medical industries, as well as for the production of souvenirs.
The price of 3D printing with ABS depends on the type of plastic chosen (industrial or standard) and the wall thickness of the product. Making one-piece structures is even more expensive.

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Polyamide. Another name is nylon. Wear resistance allows it to be used in the creation of moving parts.
Absorbs moisture, dyes with acid-based dyes. The nylon components are melted together because the nylon does not interact with the adhesives. The price of 3D printing with polyamide depends on the grade of nylon. Grades differ in melting points and yarn quality. A quality thread has a uniform thickness.

Gypsum-polymer. Common material for modeling and prototyping. There are gypsum-based polymers with similar properties to gypsum. After printing, products are impregnated with glue for durability and ease of coloring with acid-free dyes. The price of gypsum 3D printing depends on the properties of the polymer base. In addition, only expensive MJM printers print gypsum, which also affects the cost of the service.

Metals sprayed into powder, from which the products are grinded with a laser. Widespread aluminum powder from steel and nickel alloys and titanium. The strength of the metal after high quality printing and processing is comparable to casting. Metal 3D printing is used in the space industry, medicine, weapons and high-tech industries. The price of metal 3D printing depends on the printer. SLS selectively sinters metal layers, SLM melts layers to an all-metal state. The homogeneous properties of SLM-printed metal can withstand extreme loads: for example, the pressure of powder gases in the barrel of a Colt 1911, which is made on a 3D printer (see photo below).

Photopolymers. Elastic at the temperature of the working environment of an MJM printer, they cure in sunlight. They are used for high-quality imitation of rubber and plexiglass, medical prosthetics and jewelry. The price of 3D printing with photopolymer depends on the manufacturer, the chemical formula of the polymer and the physical properties of the filler. CLONE industrial design studio offers a 3D printing service with photopolymers

How much do 3D printers cost

The most expensive 3D printers used at KLONA cost ~ $ 100,000, such as the 3D Systems ProJet HD MAX. This is a professional MJM precision printer supporting ultra-precise XHD printing. The MJM printer and technology are patented by ProJet. The device is offered with a proprietary line of polymers that repeat the properties of plastic, glass, rubber and a number of building materials.

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Studio KLONA offers precise replication on a 3D printer by scanning the original products … For printing with plastic and in terms of price-quality ratio, the MakerBot Replicator 2 FDM printer is suitable. The print speed is 55 mm / sec, and the thickness of the extruder nozzle (plastic feeding needle) ensures accuracy up to 100 microns. In addition, a number of design features have been implemented here. The elastic build platform makes it easy to detach the product, and the heating during printing prevents the object from slipping. Consider the price of 3D printing in Kiev using the example of the price list of the KLONA studio, which offers custom 3D printing service.

FDM – the price of 3D printing with ABS plastic – from 4 UAH per gram.
MJM – polymers from 38 hryvnias per gram.
SLS – metal powder – from 180 UAH per gram.

3D printing saves time: it takes up to six months to create one injection mold, while a printer can handle it in 1-2 days. But this technology is still far from even plug and play. Preparation for printing includes:

  • setting up the printer;
  • calculating the angles of overhanging parts to create supports;
  • control over many hours of work.

Even a finished computer model has to be monotonously divided into layers in a slicer program. These difficulties can be avoided – create an idea, and the rest of the tasks will be performed by studio KLONA!

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