Prices of 3D printers can range from $100 for an entry-level model to well over $10,000 for an industrial-grade model. In 2022, an average 3D printer costs $800.
The rapid rise of 3D printing has led one to believe that it is an “EXPENSIVE” technology.
In other words, the finer the resolution, the smoother the print (think of a set of stairs; as the ledges become narrower, the more it resembles a ramp).
This means that, to a large extent, the quality of the printed materials is determined by how they are bound. With this article, you will gain a better understanding of what kind of performance you can expect from each price tier of printer.
Using five unique categories, we have sorted our price ranges to help you discover which printers will work best for you.
How Much Does A Budget 3D Printer Cost?
Cheap 3D printers are ideal for those that are just getting started in 3D printing or are interested in building a quick and dirty prototype without investing a lot of money. In terms of budget printers, there are two kinds: DIY and preassembled.
DIY Printers: DIY printers are sold as kits with assembly instructions. DIY printers offer the advantages of customization and savings due to the fact they are built yourself. A DIY printer can use specific software with add-ons to modify 3D models. Having a DIY 3D printer requires more setup time and calibration. The accuracy and alignment must be tested multiple times before they become accurate and work properly. Moreover, poor quality components can restrict the printer’s functionality. Besides high noise pollution, printing volumes are small and printing speeds are slow (around 100 m/s). Overall, DIY printing is not as good as commercial printing
A preassembled model is pretty self-explanatory. Turn-key units, ready to be used out of the box, making quality prints. A slight price increase means gone are the days of excessive tuning, frustration with building, and bad prints. With Plug-n-Play, you can watch the machine produce highly accurate parts and prints without having to waste time reprinting models due to improper calibrations.
Cost Of 3D Printer: How Much Is A Beginner Level 3D Printer?
Someone who is looking to purchase a 3D printer for the first time, but is not willing to spend more than $500, should purchase a beginner level 3D printer. Beginner/entry level printers are more reliable and can be used more frequently due to their reliability. Compared to budget or DIY printers, these printers require a lot less maintenance and have a longer useful life. Despite their speed limits and limited filament options, these models are still limited by large build volumes (usually no greater than 500mm3) and slower print speeds.
Cost Of 3D Printer: How Much Is A Mid-Range (Hobbyist) Level 3D Printer?
There are a few 3D printers on this tier for experienced users who don’t mind spending up to $1000 on a machine. In addition to the increased material options (PLA, ABS, wood/metal infills), higher print volumes, quieter operation (50db), faster print speeds, and increased durability, hobbyist level printers have a wide range of other amazing features. Although these machines have all kinds of bells and whistles, they are still only equipped to print small graphics. The maximum dimension for these machines is about 6 inches. Their software automatically levels and cleans the machine. Despite the mid range machines’ ability to withstand frequent use, continuous use could wear them down even more quickly, which will require frequent maintenance and repairs.
For someone looking for a high-quality 3D printer, you should expect to pay upwards of $700 in order to get a decent machine. Budget models generally offer no noticeable improvements over budget models (just fancier bells and whistles, slightly improved accuracy and reliability).
Printing higher resolution prints may take longer as a result of the machine producing a greater number of layers
Cost Of 3D Printer: How Much Is A Professional Level 3D Printer?
The enclosed platform of professional printers allows users to produce precise prototypes at high speeds. These 3D printers have a large print volume of up to 1 cubic foot, while being faster and more accurate in their prints. Typically, higher end machines are more reliable, have better noise reduction, and offer a wider variety of filament materials and colors.
Cost Of 3D Printer: How Much Is An Industrial 3D Printer?
Compared to these massive industrial 3D printers, a brand new car would be more expensive. The printing process is extremely precise and allows for many iterations of print. Machines of this type are often built to last, are enclosed in metal parts, and feature simple user interfaces.
Routine maintenance is required after many uses to ensure good quality prints. High quality materials will also increase filament costs as quality improves.
Technology advancements are making professional printers more affordable and able to compete with the expensive industrial printers. More large businesses are gaining access to high-quality printers.
3D Printer Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find 3D printer filament?
The filament for 3D printers can be purchased by the kilogram. Plastic filament ranges between $15 and $30 a kilogram. For manufacturer-specific material, prices are between $45 and $60 per kilogram.
Some specialty nylons and plastics can cost over $250 per kilogram when made from higher quality filaments.
Where Can I Buy A 3D Printer?
- Direct from the Manufacturer
- 3D Printers Online Store
3D Printing Services:
The easiest way to print 3D files is to use a 3D printing service if you do not want to worry about setting up, maintaining, and keeping a 3D printer.
Once your printed product is ready, Voodoo Manufacturing will ship it to you after receiving payment. Upload your CAD files to their website, pay, and voila! Your printed product will arrive! You can get a quote in seconds, get rushed production, track your progress, and text for support.
Pre-Made 3D CAD Models:
You want to 3D print something, but you don’t know what to print?
Choose from a variety of 3D models available on websites such as Pinshape!
You can download CAD models for FREE from these sites!
- NIH 3D Print Exchange
- STL Hive
- The DM Workshop
One of the most affordable 3D printers is the iMakr STARTT for $99.
The price, size, and capabilities of 3D Printers vary widely. They will become increasingly cheaper and better as technology progresses. 3D printer ownership entails much more than just purchasing a 3D printer. Aside from maintenance and power consumption, other costs to consider include filament, software, and filament consumption.