How Much Does It Cost To Use A 3D Printer (Complete Beginner’s Guide)

3D printing has been nothing short of revolutionary since its birth. The creation of 3D printers has brought designing and modeling a long way for developers, designers and researchers.

3D printers allow users to create a three-dimensional digitalized model by stacking multiple thin layers of materials in succession to one another. Needless to say, running such hi-tech equipment requires some extensive skill and, obviously – the big bucks.

The expense of electricity to run these models could sky-rocket on its own. So, if you’re new to this fascinating world of 3d printing and willing to know more, let us elaborate on the basics first.

Let’s face it; even if it’s a miniature model, you must’ve wondered – how much does it cost to use a 3d printer? Don’t worry; keep reading because we’re here to debunk it all.

How Much Does It Cost To Use A 3D Printer:

We all understand that 3D printing can be convenient. But, it’s time we talked money because 3D printers are long-term investments; therefore, it’s essential to know about the expenses, return on investment, and other involvements.

So, how much does it cost to 3d print something? The list below will give you a clear idea of the direct and indirect costs of 3D printing.

Software Costs

Usually, most professional 3D printers come with the software built-in. However, other cheaper versions might lack this software, leading users to splurge more. Whereas some of this attractive software is easy and free to download over the Internet, others aren’t.

If you need to run a 3D printing device accessible to the entire company, then enterprise software plans will cost you more. These come with extensive storage, courses, support, and other features.

Material Costs

3D printers demand filaments before every use. These PETG or PLA filaments generally cost around $20-$50 per kg; however, the rates may even climb to $60-$120 for unique, engineer-supported filaments.

On the contrary, entry-level 3d printer resin costs around $50 per liter, whereas other professional options range from $150-$400. Consequently, SLS powders will cost users around $100-$200 for one kilogram.

Energy Costs

If one uses 3D printers daily, the average energy cost rounds up to be $50. But, to be even more specific, you can refer to the power consumption specification of your 3D printer. Based on this specification, you can calculate the energy costs by referring to the local power prices.

Maintenance Costs

Users need to endure some replacement costs over the years with 3D printers. Moreover, they need to inspect the kinds of support that their sellers are offering as a part of the total price. These could include maintenance and installation costs.

Whereas some products come with an annual servicing outlay, others could come with extensive warranty plans. These terms and conditions can certainly put users within an acceptable budget while delivering the best support, maintenance, and replacement opportunities.

Peripherals Costs

Adding additional features will definitely raise the average cost of a 3d printer. For SLS and SLA 3D printers, post-processing peripherals are a must-have. For instance, users will have to endure another dreadful alternative without the post-processing stations.

The SLA prints will require manual dunking in isopropyl alcohol and be left in the sun for hours to dry. Peripherals might boost your costs a bit but, they’re entirely worth the investment depending on the materials and designs you work with.

3D Printer Price

The actual price of a 3D printer can vary greatly depending on your usage. Undoubtedly, an R&D expert will require a high-end 3D printer with top-tier features rather than someone who uses it occasionally at home. So, the question of how much is a 3d printer can’t be answered with a short range.

Generally, FFF 3D printers offer wide variations in pricing range, which means that starting from professionals to designers and hobbyists, everyone can opt for a model that suits them best. Infrequent users can bag a 3D printer by spending a couple of hundred dollars whereas, high-end PC 3D printers can range from $2000-$6000.

SLS printers cost around $1000 or higher, and desktop SLA printers cost around $2000-$3000. On the contrary, large-scale 3D printers for R&D departments or professionals will cost significantly more, but the cost is higher due to top-notch features and industrial-level machinery.

Related: Best 3D printers for cosplay

How Much To Charge For 3D Printing:

3D printing companies might charge within a vast range. But, one must remain prepared if they’re outsourcing the print. 3D printing companies often get asked; how much do 3d printer costs per print.

Well, truthfully, many factors contribute to charging a specific amount. The lowest can be $3, while the highest charges could be $1000 or more. Therefore, we’re breaking down the cost parameters into sections, so you don’t accidentally spend an arm and a leg when it’s not necessary.

Let’s gander at some of the factors that elaborate 3d printer costs and charges.

Cost Of A 3D printer

If you’re uncertain about how much to charge per print, you need to look into the price of your 3D printer first. 3D printers can cost somewhere within $200-$150000 based on the features you require.

Therefore, let’s say your buying price of a 3D printer was $1500, and you plan on opening a shop for 8 hours per day for two years straight. The 3D printing cost per hour would then be somewhere around $0.21 without considering the maintenance, repair, electricity, and other related expenses.

However, this cost will increase more if you minimize printing hours. Additionally, you will also need to include the 3D printer’s upkeep charges. The time required to make one print, its electrical and assistance charges, also adds up eventually.

Related: Best Cheap Resin 3D Printer

The 3D Model

After receiving the 3D Model, you can calculate the volume of the piece along with the level of complexity it holds. The total volume ratio tells 3D printing experts how much material is required to finish the project.

Thus, if the volume is high for a specific model, the charges will be higher and vice versa. In hindsight, the charges will be lower if it’s a hollow model. However, not all 3D models have equality in planning, preparation, and results.

Even with the most straightforward algorithm, human guidance is necessary. Moreover, sufficient time and cost behind planning and preparation play a considerable role in 3D printing as if a model gets wasted; it can cost you a huge deal and amount of money.


Hobbyists love using PLA and ABS as they’re cheaper and widely used. You only need to spend around $20-$70 per kilogram for these and spend some time on the post-processing.

On the other hand, 3d printer resin costs can cost more, but they’re incredibly versatile and provide top-tier quality. Resin can cost around $50 on average for a liter, and the rate can go as high as $300.


To be fair, polishing a resin model is much simpler and more effective than filaments. Amateurs can’t handle some models with high complexity; thus, polishing such intricate details must be left to the experts who might charge a tad more.

The charges also vary based on if the client wants chrome, gold, or Pantone color finish. However, metal painting and plating are much more accessible and straightforward with 3D printers’ technology today.


If you own a 3D printing company, you’ll need to add the profit margins that will let you survive and stay in business. 3D printing companies can achieve fifty to ninety percent profit margin based on material cost. However, this margin will be lower after adding overhead and labor costs.

Additionally, a minimum price is added to orders if they are less than the generic amount. For example, for a big 3D printing company, an order worth below $3 is somewhat pointless. In short, you can add an extra thirty to ninety dollars more to the base price to acquire decent profit margins.


  • Are 3D print economical?

3D prints are quicker and cheaper compared to prototypes. These designs can be finished within a few hours and also be efficiently modified.

  • How much electricity do 3D printers use?

3D printers utilize around 0.05-kilowatt energy for a print worth an hour. On average, 3D printers could demand around 50 watts per hour.

Related: how to make money with a 3d printer

Wrap Up:

In theory and practicality, numerous factors have significant roles to play for 3D printing cost and price. Thus, ‘how much does it cost to use a 3d printer‘?’ can never be a one-way question. Adding multiple variables, flexibility, features, and value over the cost or price is merely about scratching the surface.

The real deal rolls in when even the minute, distantly related fees and expenses are invited too. Therefore, users must always be cautious about their footing whether the project is low, mid, or high range. It goes without saying that even a few loose ends on a 3D printing model are a magnificent waste of time, money, and resources. Luckily, you can avoid such blunders with the help of this article now.

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