Cracking the Code: Key Factors Influencing Pricing for 3D Printing Services

How much to charge fir 3d printing

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Although 3D printing technology is a quick and affordable additive manufacturing technology process for creating functioning real-life objects, it requires time, effort, patience, power supply and capital.

Knowing all the requirements for 3d printing a model is easy.

The main issue is knowing how to calculate the amount you should charge for your 3d printing services/products. Don’t worry because this article will solve whatever problems you may encounter when implementing how much to charge for your 3d printing services/products.

We will show you how to determine your profits for a 3d printing job even before seeing the entire 3D model. We will help you build a profitable 3d printing business by teaching you how to calculate all additional expenses spent on your 3d printing services.

How to Calculate the Price of 3D Printing Services

In summary, the 4 major factors you want to pay attention to when calculating how much to charge for a 3D print request or calculating the value of your 3D-printed models are:

  • External resources/Material cost
  • Labor charges
  • 3D printer maintenance cost
  • Profits

Before you scroll to the explanation of the above factors, note the below straightforward formula.

  • How much to charge for 3D printing = External resources/Material cost + Labor charge + 10% to 30% of the amount you spent on purchasing & maintaining the 3D printing machine + Money you want to profit from the 3d print(s).

External resources/Material cost

Material/external resources include the total cost of 3D printing materials, the cost of 3D printing filament used, the power supply/electricity price invested into a finished print and some other external costs to 3D print. In summary, the external resources/material cost includes all the additional expenses contributing to the 3D model printing process.

The mathematical breakdown of the External resources/Material cost is

Material/external resources = (Filament used) + (Cost of electricity)

Filament Used = (Filament price / Filament weight (g) * Model weight (g))

Cost of electricity = (Electricity rate * Power used up for 3D printing (W))

Therefore the Material/external resources full formula equals (Filament price / Filament weight (g) * Model weight (g)) + (Electricity rate * Power used up for 3D printing (W))

Labor Charges

When we say labor charges, we mean the total amount you want to charge your customer. It could also be the time spent brainstorming the best 3D printing method for printing the requested 3D print.

Labor charges include both operating costs and overhead costs. When calculating the Labor charges, consider the print time, post-processing effort, expertise, packaging, programming time and other activities that will enhance the quality of the 3-D print etc.

3D Printer Maintenance Cost

Your 3D printer will not remain in the same condition unless you maintain it. Even if you don’t use it, its operationality will reduce with time. This is because, in machine use, there is a term called wear and tear. It is the damage done to the 3D printer due to appropriate usage.

To approximate how much you can charge your customers for a 3D printing job, consider the maintenance cost of your 3D printer and charge using the printing hours.

The simple formula to calculate the 3D printer maintenance cost is:

  • 3D printer maintenance costs = Printer price / required investment return time (h) * print time (h)

Profits

Profits are the last factor you should consider before summing up the amount you should charge for a 3D printing service. Your 3D printing profits equal your profit margins and it is usually around ten to thirty percent of External resources/Material cost + Labor charges + 3D printer maintenance cost.

To calculate the profit margin of a 3D print project, you need to total the other 3 factors and multiply them by your chosen profits percentage.

For more explanation, please study the 3D print job scenario for the below fictional 3D printing businesses.

Example 1

An online customer wanted to know how much Gram Limited’s 3d printing business will charge for a 3d print model that weighs 5g and is constructed with a standard material such as ABS filament.

Solution

Gram Limited will buy 1kg of ABS filament

The filament cost depends on the type of filament. Here, it is the price of the new ABS filament that you bought = Filament price. Let’s assume it is $29

Weight of filament consumed by the actual 3D model you want to print = Model weight = You can Check the settings of your 3D printer slicer. The printer setting calculated it as 5g

Let’s assume the total filament weight is 7g

Electricity rate = The electricity or hourly rate of the utility company you registered with= Let’s assume it is $0.09 per 1000W/h

Watt used up = W/h used up for 3D printing = the kW input power of the printer times the time you will use the 3d printer. You can check with the utility company you registered with to ensure your assumption is correct.

Let’s assume the 3D printer worked for 1 hour and uses 150W/h.

So the formula for the watt used up is the standard watt per hour required for the 3D printer to work times the time it will take the 3D printer to completely print the 3D print = 150 * 1 = 150W

Material/external resources = (Filament price / Filament weight (g) * Model weight (g)) + ((Electricity rate (W/h) * W/h used up for 3D printing) / 1000)

So, Material/external resources= (($29 / 1000g * 5g) + (($0.09 * 150W/h)/1000)) = $0.15

Labor charge= This depends on the expertise and popularity of your business. As your business becomes more popular, you can increase it. Let’s charge $1

Printer price= The amount you spent to get the 3d printer. It includes the actual printer price and delivery price (if included). Let’s assume it is $300

Required investment return time (h)= The total duration you want to spend recovering your printer purchasing cost. Let’s say we want to recover it within the first 3 months or 90 days of printing for customers (so to get the duration in hours, the calculation will be 90 times 24 hours which equals 2160 hours of 3D printing time). Then the return investment time = 2160h

Print time = The expected or actual total hours of 3D printing. Let’s assume it is 1 hour

3D printer maintenance costs = Printer price / (Required investment return time (h) * Print time (h))

So, 3D printer maintenance costs = $300 / (2160h * 1h) = $0.13

Profits = 30% * (External resources/Material cost + labor charges + 3D printer maintenance cost)

So Profit = 20% of ($0.15 + $1 + $0.13) = $1.28

How much to charge for 3D printing = External resources/Material cost + Labor charge + 3D printer maintenance costs + Profit

So, How much Gram Limited should charge for this 3D printing job= $0.15 + $1 + $0.13 + $1.28 = $2.56

Example 2

An online customer wanted to know how much Hijinks Limited 3d printing business will print a 3D model that is 10g tall.

Solution

Hijinks Limited will buy 1 kg of filament to complete the printing of this 3D model.

Filament price = Let’s assume it is $25

Filament weight = Let’s assume it is 1500g

Model weight = Let’s assume it is 7g

Electricity rate = Let’s assume it is $0.09 per 1000W/h

Watt used up for 3D printing = Let’s assume the 3D printer printed the 3D model for 1h 30min and the 3D printer is 150W/h. So it is = 150 * 1h 30min 

Breaking it down, so that we solve for an hour before we solve for 30 minutes then add them = 150 + 75 = 225W

Material/external resources= (Filament price / Filament weight (g) * Model weight (g)) + ((Electricity rate (W/h) * W/h used up for 3D printing) / 1000)

Material/external resources= ( $25 / 1500g * 7g)+ (($0.09 * 225W) / 1000)) = $0.13

Labour charge = $1

Printer price = $300

Required investment return time (h)= If Hijinks Limited wishes to recover the 3D printer cost within 6 months = 4320 hours

Print time= 1h 30 min

3D printer maintenance costs = Printer price / required investment return time (h) * print time (h)

3D printer maintenance costs = 300 / 4320 * 1h 30 min = 0.067 + 0.034 = $0.1

Profits = 30% * (External resources/Material cost + labor charges + 3D printer maintenance cost)

Profits = 30% * ($0.13 + $1 + $0.1) = 0.36

How much to charge for 3D printing = External resources/Material cost + Labor charge + 3D printer maintenance costs + Profit

How much Hijinks Limited should charge for 3D printing = $0.13+ $1 + $0.1 + 0.36 = $1.49

Frequently Asked Questions for Factors That Determine How Much to Charge for 3D Printing Services?

How Do You Calculate 3D Printing Costs?

Note the amount you spend on each key factor. To calculate your 3D printing service cost, sum up your External resources/Material cost, labor charges, 3D printer maintenance cost and profits.

Is It Profitable for 3D Printing?

Yes. The truth is that 3D printing is profitable and has an online knowledge base to inspire and encourage 3D printing businesses and 3d printing companies.

How Long Does It Take To 3D Print a 1 Inch Cube?

It will take a 3D printer approximately 5 minutes to construct a quality print sized as a 1-inch cube. The size and print quality of the entire 3D model determines how long it will take your 3D printer to print your 3D parts.

Can You Make Money With 1 3D Printer?

Yes. To make some money via 3D printing, you need 1 printer, at least. However, the amount will reduce because you can only start 1 3D printing project at a time.

What Is a Good Price per Hour for 3D Printing?

If you are a small-scaled 3D printing company, $2 – $0.05 is a good price per hour for 3D printing.

However, it is best if you use your required investment return time in hours to calculate the hourly cost for 3D printing. Required investment return time (h)= The total duration you want to recover your printer purchasing cost.

Let’s say we want to recover your investment cost within the first 3 months or 90 days of printing for customers (so to get the duration in hours, the calculation will be 90 times 24 hours which equals 2160 hours of printing time). Then the return investment time = 2160h

Conclusion

Apparently, telling your customers about the cost of 3d printing services without undercharging or overcharging is possible. It requires you to keep account of the above-mentioned major factors that will keep your 3D printing business running.

If you ever get confused or stuck when calculating how much you gained from 3d printing an object model, use this article’s 3D printing pricing formula to get back on track; Your External resources/Material cost plus your Labor charges plus the 3D printer maintenance costs plus Profits.

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