Thinking about starting a 3D printing business? If so, you'll definitely need a 3D printing cost calculator. Discover some of the best options available!
Calculating the cost of a 3D print is very important for a 3D printing business. These calculators take in a range of different parameters with the goal of calculating a competitive price and leaving you with profit.
Let’s take a look at the parameters that are often considered.
Naturally, there’s the cost of the filament. The starting point of each calculation is to see how much filament was used to make a part. This part of the job is easy: If you bought a 1-kg spool of PLA filament for $30 and used 100 g for a print, the material cost is $3. (100 g / 1000 g x $30)
Another basic parameter which plays a big role in calculating the price of a 3D print is print time. 3D printing businesses charge a certain amount per hour the printer is operational. Each 3D printing business sets its own hourly cost.
If the business paid $2,000 for a 3D printer with an expected life span of 2,000 print hours, they may charge around $1 per hour. (Keep in mind that this example is just for explanation purposes and is highly unrealistic.)
Post-Processing (Manual Labor)
As you’d expect, each 3D print requires at least some post-processing to make it ready for the customer. The post-processing cost includes the usual post-processing methods, like sanding the parts.
Still, there’s more to manual labor than just the post-processing of parts. 3D printing businesses also have to pack the parts and send them to customers, so that’s also included under manual labor.
Additional Profit Percentage
What’s usually the last stage of calculating the price of a 3D print is adding a certain percentage on top of the price of the material, print time, and manual labor combined. For example, if the cost of the material, print time, and manual labor is $20 and your markup percentage is 10%, the total price of a print would be $22.
The abovementioned parameters are the basic ones. Some of the advanced parameters which make the price even more accurate include electricity price and the printer’s failure rate. Some of the calculators we’ll later introduce to you include these.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll present our favorite 3D printing calculators.
Omni is an online platform with hundreds of calculators for different purposes, like science and finance. To be exact, the platform hosts 825 calculators. And one of those is for calculating the cost of 3D printing.
The user interface is modern and easy to use. The calculator itself is rather simple, but at the same time effective. In the first section, the user enters the price of the filament and the length of filament used to make the part. Your slicer software estimates the length of filament needed to complete a certain part, so just copy that value and paste it in the calculator.
The second section is used for calculating the price of labor based on print time, while the final section is where the markup percentage is added.
3DAddict is a website dedicated to 3D printing. Apart from offering their users 3D printing content on the main site, there’s also a 3D printing cost calculator available for free.
The first step of the price calculation is choosing the material used for the print and filling up the fields with layer height, infill percentage, and print speed values.
The next step is what makes 3DAddict’s calculator stand out: If you take a look at the picture above, you’ll see a big window where a 3D model is displayed. That’s actually a fully-functional slicer integrated into the calculator. This slicer estimates the print time and the amount of material needed to calculate the displayed cost.
This calculator may not be the most beautiful, but it works well and allows the manipulation of different parameters like maintenance, electricity, packaging, and shipping cost, as well as markup percentage. The wide selection of parameters ensure that both the cost of the 3D print and your profit are calculated as accurately as possible.
Note: Although it has nothing to do with the performance of the calculator, the ads displayed can sometimes be annoying.
3DprintingPro is a 3D printing website offering online courses for 3D printing, but also useful content and tools.
Integrated into the website is their very own 3D printing cost calculator which lets you input a number of different parameters so that you can easily figure out how much to charge a customer.
This calculator’s main focus is to help 3D printing businesses, so the parameter fields also include tax percentage, and that’s a big plus! At the end, the calculator calculates your profit and gives you the amount you need to charge your customer to achieve the given profit.
One other great thing about this calculator is that there are explanations for each field provided below the calculator. This feature is important since it helps beginners navigate the settings.
All in all, this is an accurate, business-centric calculator.
Shatter-Box is a knowledge base website which was born around game developing, but also hosts other stuff like a 3D printing cost calculation tool!
It’s a free piece of software available to download directly from Shatter-Box. In terms of how the tool itself works, there’s nothing new here. You can manipulate the usual parameters which play a role in price calculation for 3D printing like print duration, material cost, profit margin and others you’ve surely been introduced to up to this point. All in all, there’s no lack of important parameters – it’s all there!
Now then, it’s finally time we tell you what exactly drew our attention to this piece of software: You may have noticed that it’s the first calculator on the list which doesn’t require an internet connection. Instead, it’s a downloadable tool which you can use offline, if needed.
The other feature which earned this calculator a place in this article is the possibilty to have multiple profiles for different printers. This is a very important feature for 3D printing businesses which use several different 3D printers for their work. This feature saves time since it stores the following information for each printer profile:
In all honesty, this calculator left a very good impression on us. However, there’s an even more enhanced version of this software, but it’s not free. The paid version of this 3D print cost calculator comes with additional features like two additional interfaces:
The manage interface is here to give you an organized look at the materials, diameters, and printers with the worksteps included, while the print jobs interface gives the user the ability to easily track multiple ongoing print jobs and their statuses.
IC3D Printers is, to quote their website, an on-demand manufacturing applications workshop converging traditional manufacturing process with digital 3D printing technologies.
Naturally, their website’s content is all focused towards 3D printing and it hosts a free 3D printing cost calculator. As the short introduction above the calculator itself says, it’s a simple calculator which enables everyone who’s running a 3D printing side business in their garage to quickly calculate the job cost.
Looking at the parameters, you’ll see there’s nothing too special here. The ability for the users to enter the custom filament density is a nice feature worth mentioning. The rest is pretty much standard, like filament length, job-time, cost per hour, and the markup percentage.
All in all, it’s a simple and user-friendly 3D printing job cost calculator.
Last but not least is this “3D Print Headquarters” online calculator. Visually, it looks dated for sure, but don’t let that fool you. This calculator is regularly improved, and over the years, it has proven to be a great 3D printing cost calculator.
It’s one of the easiest to use and, for most people, it’s all they will ever need. Among the usual parameters, you can also tweak the printer purchase price and the printer failure rate. Those exist for the purpose of providing the most accurate calculations possible.
The calculator is free to use, but the author also gives its users the ability to order a spreadsheet containing the 3D printing cost calculations – this optional service isn’t free.
Feature image source: canva.com
License: The text of "3D Printing Cost Calculator – 6 Great Websites" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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