How to Calculate the Cost of a 3D Printed Model

8 Sep


When you want to calculate the cost of a 3D print from your 3D printed it is very easy to do by measuring the weight of the finished 3D model. You only need a digital scale, preferably one that has sub gram accuracy, but up to 1 gram is fine too. So you just measure the weight of the printed 3D model, do measure any support or raft structures that you may have printed and has removed from the model as well. Then just do the following math (the numbers are just estimated and in your case they may be different:

1 kg or filament material cost = $50 USD
1 gram of filament = 1/1000 of kg = $0.05 USD

A printed 3D model weighting 4 grams = 4x 0.05 or a total of $0.2 USD

This calculation however is true only for the 3D printing material you are using, but if you really need to make a more adequate cost calculation you also need to include the power that your 3D printer is using and the time taken for the 3D print to be produced. For example the maximum power usage of a MakerBot Replicator 2 printer is 150 Watts, so for a model that is printed in 1 hour you need to calculate to power used:

0.15KW times $0.20 USD per KWh = $0.03 USD for the power used
$0.2 USD for the filament material used + $0.03 USD for the power = $0.23 USD

You can of course go even further by adding the wear and tear cost of using the 3D printer, however this cost is hard to calculate, especially if you are going to be using the calculation to price 3D prints for customers that want their 3D printed models. If you are doing the 3D printing for yourself the price of the filament and power used should normally be enough to calculate the costs.

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