How are 3D printed parts calculated?
We give you an insight into our calculation
3D printing is probably the fastest and cheapest method of producing prototypes or unique items. Due to the developments in recent years, it is also worthwhile to manufacture small batches using additive technology. Due to the increased demand for 3D printed components and the now diverse range of products on the market, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how the prices for one or more components are made up.
This article is intended to give an insight into pricing at 3DBAVARIA and to transparently explain to our customers which factors we include in pricing. With the help of the article "Reducing 3D printing costs", it is also possible to derive steps that positively influence the costs even before a request is made.
Our calculation methods
Component volume means the solid material volume of a component. In order to calculate a price for the 3D printed part, this volume is multiplied by a fixed price per cm³. This cubic centimeter price shows all the influencing factors that you can read later on this page. We use this pricing method for the following procedures:
- Selective laser sintering (SLS)
- HP Multi Jet Fusion (HP MJF)
- Fusion layering (FDM / FFF)
The so-called bounding box describes the smallest cuboid in which your component can be accommodated. Also with this method, taking into account all possible influencing factors (see below), a price per cm³ bounding box is determined, which is then multiplied by the corresponding volume of this box. We use this pricing method for the following procedures:
- Selective laser sintering (SLS)
The SLS technology technologically allows both possibilities of the calculation methods mentioned. The resulting in some cases considerable price differences are usually not justified. Our online 3D printing calculator therefore automatically decides which method is more economical for your component.
Which factors are included in the calculation?
Basically, the price calculations for each technology differ, as they also differ significantly in the manufacturing process. For example, in contrast to the FDM process, powder bed-based processes (SLS or HP MJF) do not require support structures, which subsequently have to be removed, sometimes at great expense. However, there are factors that are fundamental to pricing in any technology:
The basic material costs play one of the central roles in pricing. This factor weighs much more with the SLS and HP MJF processes than with the FDM process. We explain why this is so.
In the case of powder-bed-based methods, in addition to the actual amount of component material, the amount of material required to refresh the powder must also be considered. This is because fresh powder must be added to the material that has already been exposed to heat in order to ensure consistent quality for further print jobs. Furthermore, the process speed of this method is significantly higher in contrast to the FDM method, which in turn means that the machine costs per component have a lower share, but the material costs have a higher percentage. This is particularly evident in the HP MJF process. Since with this method the process time of each component layer, regardless of the number of components or the amount of material, is identical and also very short, the machine costs are also reduced to a minimum. A detailed description of the individual processes can be found on our technology pages.
In contrast to the material costs, with the FDM process the share of machine costs in the total calculation is higher than with the much faster powder-bed-based processes. This often means that certain, smaller component geometries are more favorable in the much higher-quality processes such as selective laser sintering (SLS) than in the lower-quality FDM process. The cheaper material costs can no longer catch up with this price difference. The last option is often only offered by significantly coarser settings, so that the FDM process can keep up with the powder-bed-based process in terms of price.
The situation is different with large and voluminous components. Since the FDM process works with a filling, also called "infill", which is usually 15-40%, correspondingly less time is required for printing the filling. This fact makes the FDM process currently unbeatable in terms of costs for large components.
With every 3D printing technology used and every order, manual activities that should not be underestimated arise. For this reason, we also use a minimum order value, among other things, which represents the minimum necessary turnover for economical order processing.
Typical upstream and downstream manual activities that have a decisive influence on pricing are:
- Checking the 3D data for printability
- Preparing / slicing / packing the print jobs
- Preparation of the plant
- Removal / de-powdering / finishing of the components
- If necessary, remove the support structures
- Quality inspection
Some of the activities described are only necessary once per order or can be neglected for each additional component. Accordingly, the costs per component do not remain constant with a higher order quantity, but rather decrease.
To get a feel for the prices for different components, technologies, materials and quantities, simply visit our online 3D printing calculator. Here you can upload your component and receive price information immediately!
If you do not have a 3D model or need support in realizing a project, we also offer a construction service that can create the models for you or optimize them for 3D printing. Simply make an inquiry using our contact form.