How Much Does a 3D Printer Cost?

A compact 3D Printer

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3D printers are all the rage nowadays. So many different industries use them to speed up production and create fantastic devices. The price tag can be prohibitive if you want one of these machines. So, how much does a 3D printer cost? The price of your shopping cart depends on numerous factors. Let’s talk about 3D printers and how big a hole they’ll burn in your wallet. 

How Much Does a 3D Printer Cost?

A 3D printer sits next to a laptop with previously created products.

The good news is the starting price for 3D printers has decreased significantly. According to Digital Trends, you can get one of these machines for about $100. That cost may seem low, but that’s the reality of modern 3D printers. These devices have seen price drops because they’re easier to produce and more efficient in their design. Plus, people have figured out how to make 3D printers independently, thus leading to open-source configurations for 3D printers. 

If you have a slightly higher budget, you can get an even better 3D printer between $300 and $500 plus taxes. These machines, although more expensive, will be more reliable and faster. They’ll have more impressive capabilities and will often be more extensive. 

The bad news is how much a 3D printer costs does get quite pricey once you start getting into advanced models. You might pay well over $1,000 or $10,000 for your 3D printer if you don’t budget properly. Plus, you must account for other associated costs, such as the filament and resin. Ensure you have enough money left over for that ice-skating date with your partner next weekend. 

You might need a bigger machine if you own a business or work for a larger company. Can you imagine spending over $500,000 on a 3D printer? While it’s a steep price, the investment may be worth it for your company. 

What Factors Affect Your 3D Printer’s Price?

3D printers have a price range as wide as a 10-lane highway. So, what makes the price so different from one machine to the next? These five factors affect how much 3D printers cost. 

Type of Printer

A 3D printer with an open glass door.

First, you must know what type of 3D printer you’ll purchase. The first classification is a standard desktop 3D printer. This machine is your typical 3D printer and fits alongside your computer — as you might have guessed. Desktop 3D printers will be the most affordable for the average buyer. 

The next step for these machines is a printer using liquid resin. You’ll probably pay north of $1,000 or $2,000 for this printer, but it’ll be worth the cost due to its higher quality and more precise finishes.

The most expensive 3D printers are going to be your industrial-grade machines. Your average Joe won’t need this large of a 3D printer, as they’re typically reserved for large companies. For example, NASA might use 3D printers when producing aircraft components or testing prototypes. A medical manufacturer will likely use 3D printers to create prosthetics or health care devices. 

Printing Speed

A 3D printer in a factory works on creating a model.

3D printers don’t go as fast as your HP Deskjet printing your term paper. While some printers go fast, the speed depends on how advanced your machine is. 3D printers typically process at speeds between 60 and 300 millimeters per hour in their default settings. However, some alterations can increase the floor to 150 to 600 millimeters per hour. 

The fastest 3D printers take it to the next level. For instance, the Delta WASP 2040 Turbo 2 can climb to speeds of 1,000 millimeters per second, making it one of the fastest machines in the world. How much does a 3D printer cost if it can produce this quickly? Get ready to pay nearly $3,000 for an efficient system.

Other Specs

Printing speed is one of the most important specifications when purchasing a 3D printer. However, there are other factors you should look at in the specs, such as the following:

  • Material Capabilities: 3D printers produce incredible devices using carbon fiber, resin and plastic. Some machines may even use metal or wood to achieve perfection. Unfortunately, a higher capacity for materials leads to a more expensive bill when 3D printing. 
  • Resolution: If you specialize in graphic design, you know the importance of resolution. Increasing this metric means higher-quality prints with a heftier price tag. You’ll have to evaluate the ROI to determine how much you’ll pay for better resolution.
  • Maintenance: While not a specification, you should consider how much care the 3D printer requires. A high-maintenance printer could cost you big bucks over the years, making the initial sale price look foolish in retrospect. However, a low-maintenance printer ends up saving money.

Brand Name

When you buy groceries, looking at the brand name is essential in determining whether you’ll buy the product. Believe it or not, the same logic applies to your 3D printers. The brand you buy will directly affect the price, considering their reputation in the industry. Investopedia says the top 3D printing companies worldwide are:

  • Stratasys, Ltd.
  • 3D Systems Corp.
  • Proto Labs Inc.  
  • Materialise NV
  • Desktop Metal Inc.

Buying a 3D printer from one of these companies means you’re likely to burn a bigger hole in your wallet. However, your price comes with higher quality. The machines are less likely to break down because the companies have more significant resources for testing and fortification. If something does happen, you’ll have an easier time with customer support. 

Software

Take a look at what software your 3D printer uses. If the manufacturer requires proprietary software, then expect a higher price tag. The price you pay goes toward paying developers, programmers and other professionals who contributed to the project. While expensive, your primary benefit is exclusive deals and high-powered features you’ll only find with this software. 

To save money, search for open-source software to power your 3D printer. Being open-source will make it easily accessible, but you probably won’t get a warranty. You must know how to tackle the problems because there won’t be a service provider for assistance. The advantages of open-source software include more flexibility and future-proofing in case you upgrade.

How Much Does a 3D Printer Cost in 2023?

3D printers have evolved from a scientific marvel to something you can find in the average workshop. You can shop online for a 3D printer and have one at your door in a short amount of time. Before buying a machine, you may wonder how much a 3D printer costs nowadays. Read this guide and consider what you’ll use it for before investing.


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