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It’s no secret that 3D printing services are more expensive than ownership. However, for businesses and organisations, using a cheap 3D printing service is a viable option to avoid CapEx limitations. In this article, we’ll give tips and tricks to help you save money on your next 3D printing project, answer questions surrounding the cheapest methods and also breakdown manufacturing costs.
This sounds really simple, but for processes like SLA & SLS where you’re charged per CM3 of volume. Large, dense models can be expensive to print. If the model is under low-loading, non-functional conditions, we recommend hollowing out your part to 1.5 – 3.0mm wall thickness (depending on geometry).
Removing this internal material will help reduce not only your cost but also unnecessary weight as well. We’ve found customers have been able to reduce their costs by up to 182% in some instances!
To change the specified infill on your part, you can do this in our instant quote tool by selecting ‘advanced’ settings. From here you can define the infill on your part, with the default set at 20%. As a rule of thumb we recommend the following infill settings:
This tip won’t apply to everyone looking to use a cheap 3D printing service. However, we recommend this for users printing aesthetic / decorative pieces who have a budget in mind. Could your piece be 25% smaller, without impacting the quality?
For quick prototypes, requiring a good level of finish we recommend using our standard layer height of 200 microns (0.2mm) and for detailed models / miniatures we recommend using our high-quality 100 microns (0.1mm) setting.
This process can either be done manually (not recommended) or using automatic 3D packing tools. We recommend helping to balance cost and also quality by setting the minimum gap between parts as 2.5mm. Any closer than this and you run the risk of quality defects and the parts potentially fusing together.
Explore our instant quote tool, where you can easily upload parts and get a price in a matter of seconds!
When using a cheap 3D printing service, parts can cost anywhere from £1 an hour to print for PLA & PETG, up to £35 an hour to print for more exotic materials such as PEEK & ULTEM. Our instant quote costing system takes into account material volume (CM3), layer height, material difficulty and level of supports required.
The cheapest 3D printing method, depending on the material selected, is FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling). Raw material costs can be as little as £15 a kg for this manufacturing process, compared to £100+ a kg for SLA & SLS 3D printing methods. This process uses wire-fed stock material and is extruded through a small nozzle, for more information regarding this process, please check out our guide
When using a cheap 3D printing service, parts can cost anywhere from £1 an hour to print for PLA & PETG, up to £35 an hour to print for more exotic materials such as PEEK & ULTEM. This value takes into account CapEx, machine depreciation, material costs, energy costs, labour costs and a small error margin.
Do you have a 3D printing project we can help with? Please get in touch