How Much Does 3D Printing Cost? A Business Guide
In recent years, there's been a lot of talk about 3D printers. These devices can print three-dimensional objects of several types.
Artists may use them to print models made on art software. Mechanical companies use these printers to print spare parts and cut down on wait times.
Many kinds of businesses can benefit from 3D printers. The question for many is, what does 3D printing cost?
We wish we could tell you a clear cost of a 3D printer. Unfortunately, there are several factors that can affect a commercial 3D printer's cost. So, in this article, we'll walk you through the factors that could impact that price.
The Types of 3D Printers
In general, there are five different types of 3D printers that people can choose from. These five include:
- Entry-Level 3D printers
- Hobbyist 3D printers
- Enthusiast 3D printers
- Professional / Performance 3D printers
- Enterprise 3D printers
Each of these printers comes in a range of prices from several brands. As you may expect, the higher the printer's quality, the stronger its capacity. When deciding on a 3D printer for your company, consider whether it's of a grade that can meet your needs.
The Cost of a 3D Printer Entry Level
A 3D printer of this level is more of a toy than a tool. However, these printers are an excellent way to experiment and master 3D printing.
Assembling these printers usually takes time, as you need to calibrate the printer and test it before you can use it. Before long, you'll be able to print.
So, what can you print at this level? At best, you can print objects around 3-4" in the dimensions. These dimensions are width, length, and height.
Most likely, you'll only be able to print one material. These options are also slow, loud, and print at a lower quality. Likewise, their prints aren't very durable.
If you need your 3D printer to run at a higher capacity, this printer level isn't the best option. However, it can be an introduction to the technology and only costs between £75 and £375.
Hobbyist 3D Printing Cost
Hobbyist printers are far more capable solutions than their entry-level counterparts. They're also more expensive, weighing in at £300 to £1,125. They're much larger machines, usually about 5-6" in each dimension.
This additional size means you'll need to spend more time assembling the printer and calibrating it. However, once it's running, you'll find it prints much faster and has more material choices.
Unfortunately, the speed is still not as great as other models. Moreover, the print quality is still poor. This poor quality makes it unsuitable for the business level.
Still, some environments can make do with these printers. For example, a primary school may find these printers useful for printing models in the classroom.
Enthusiast 3D Printers
The enthusiast category has seen a tremendous spike in popularity due to its higher quality printers. Enthusiast 3D printer prices usually fall between £750 and £3000.
How do these printers compare to hobbyist level options? First, they differ once again in the size of the prints they can produce.
An enthusiast-level printer can produce prints as large as 8-12" in each dimension. They also have much faster print speeds and significantly higher quality prints.
However, bear in mind that most high-quality prints require slower speeds. The faster you run the printer, the more quality you sacrifice.
Enthusiast printers have other advantages as well. They allow you to print products in more materials than the preceding solutions.
Some businesses may find a use for them. Although these printers provide much higher quality performance, they have their drawbacks.
However, if you use the printer often, you'll likely need regular maintenance and repairs on the machine. Over time, these repairs can become pricy.
If you only use the printer on occasion, you may not need this maintenance. Enthusiast printers hold up well for occasional use.
Professional 3D Printers
This category holds many of the best 3D printer options on the market. Experts believe they may significantly disrupt printer sales in the industrial world soon!
Professional 3D printers have sizeable build areas that can produce much larger products than other types we've discussed till now. They can produce much higher quality parts from higher temperature materials, too.
Some of these materials include nylon, carbon fibre, and polycarbonate. They can also print in many more materials.
So, how can you choose the best commercial printer? First, the best printers can print parts swiftly while maintaining a quality print resolution.
Second, spend time evaluating the printer's durability and maintenance needs. Like many other products, these factors can vary greatly.
What environments can utilize this printer class? The answer is more than you can count!
Printers of this type can find uses in secondary schools, universities, and academic clubs. Moreover, several businesses can use these printers, including small businesses and sizeable companies.
Likewise, these sectors may be the only groups that can afford these printers. Commercial 3D printer cost often falls between £3,000 and £15,000.
Enterprise printers are by far the most expensive options on the market. Their standard cost range starts at £15,000 and ends at £75,000!
So, what do you get for this higher premium? Most notably, you'll receive higher quality prints at much faster speeds. These printers also have smooth interfaces and excellent construction to make them more durable.
Another reason the cost is so high is because of maintenance contracts. Many companies ask you to enter agreements that provide for the machine's upkeep. This way, you won't have to buy a new printer for years to come.
Find Your 3D Printer Today!
As you can see, your 3D printing cost can be quite a financial setback if you're not careful. So, spend some time evaluating the different printer types.
Do they meet your business needs? Can they keep up with your output requirements?
To start your search, check out our supply today! We offer several 3D printers of various kinds in our stores so be sure to visit us to find the printer your business needs!