How much is a 3D printer?
There are a lot of different factors that go into the overall cost of a 3D printer and 3D printing projects in general, so much so that just asking “how much is a 3D printer” usually only begins to scratch the surface.
To better help you find the perfect 3D printer for your specific needs – and to figure out whether or not buying, leasing, or renting a 3D printer is the right solution for your budget and your projects – we’ve put together this quick guide.
Let’s jump right in!
Thinking about purchasing a 3D printer?
Before you start to think about purchasing a 3D printer (or multiple 3D printers), your first going to want to figure out exactly what you hope to do with your new piece of technology, how often you plan on utilizing it, and if ownership of this new technology is as important as simply having it available when you need it most.
You see, because 3D printing technology has become so popular in just the last few years (with more than 200,000 3D printers sold last year alone, compared to just 66 3D printers sold in 2007) there are a lot of operations out there now that are willing to lease and rent 3D printers to customers that are operating on a more constrained budget for those that don’t need to all a 3D printer but would like to utilize it a semi regular basis.
You’ll really need to think about all of these different factors before you jump right in. The only way to find the right printer at the right price point.
Read More: What is a 3d printer
There are 3D printer solutions to fit almost every budget
If you do decide to go down the ownership route with this new printer, you’re in luck – there are 3D printers for pretty much every budget imaginable, including those that only have a few hundred dollars to spend on this groundbreaking new technology.
Obviously, at the lower end of the budget scale you are going to find printers that aren’t quite as robust, quite as flexible, were quite as capable as the printers that are at the higher end of the scale. But if your budget is poured in concrete, or if your needs are relatively small-scale, this shouldn’t be as big a problem as some people are going to think it is.
Most importantly, you need to figure out exactly what kind of features your 3D printer needs more than anything else. Spending just a little bit of money on a 3D printer will still be wasted if you can’t get the kind of finished results out of the printer that you’ve chosen to purchase, just because of its inherent limitations.
Calculate your total 3D printer costs before you pull the trigger
A lot more goes into running and operating a printer than just the cost of ownership, which is why you’re going to want to think about the total cost of ownership before you dive right into this kind of purchase.
You’ll want to think about the kind of construction material that your new printer utilizes (plastic filament, recycled material, or metal powders are the most common options), the amount of energy that the printer is going to consume while under operation and while idle, and a whole host of other factors that come into play when you have this kind of technology set up in a production environment.
Each and every one of these costs will contribute to your overhead and will need to be factored in before you settle on a printer to purchase, especially if you’re operating with a relatively tight budget.
Don’t just take the plunge because you can afford the printer and just barely that – you’ll find yourself extremely limited in your entire budget is consumed by the printer cost itself, especially if you don’t have the funding for able materials with which to print with.
Consider “crowdfunding” your 3D printer to keep costs even lower
At the end of the day, a lot of folks are finding it advantageous to dramatically increase their budget by “crowdfunding” the 3D printers that they are most interested in purchasing.
You don’t necessarily have to jump online and try and crowd fund this kind of purchase, but can instead reach out to people in your network (your friends, your family members, your coworkers, or your place of employment or a local university, even) and see if they would be willing to split the cost of 3D printer ownership with you going forward.
This is a great way to dramatically improve your purchasing power and allow yourself to get your hands on much more advanced – and much more expensive – printing solutions. At that point the question moves from “how much is a 3D printer?” to “how can we best utilize this technology?”, and that’s when the fun and experimentation really takes off!