How to Reduce the Cost of 3D Printing in 5 Easy Ways

Using 3D printing technology to print 3-dimensional products
Using 3D printing technology to print 3-dimensional products

Depending on the type of material and process, the cost of 3D printing can be low and affordable, or high and out of reach. Below, we compiled a list of practical tips that you can use to keep the cost of 3D printing down in your business.

How Much Does 3D Printing Cost?

The cost 3D Printing depends on a few things.

  • The type of 3D printer. The cost of a 3D printer will depend on its type. FDM is the most common type of 3D printer and it usually the most affordable.
  • The type of material. The two main types of materials are different types of plastic, resin, and metal. The cost of 3D printer filament is generally the lowest, while advanced3D printing resin is among the most expensive materials.
  • The printing process and part complexity. The larger and more complex the object, the more expensive it will be to print. Industrial-grade objects will also be more expensive to print than simple objects
  • The quantity of objects you are printing. The cost of 3D printed parts will also often depend on their quantity. If you are only printing one object, it will be more expensive than if you were printing multiple copies of the same object.
Setting up a 3D printer
Setting up a 3D printer

How to Reduce the Cost of 3D Printing

You do not have to spend a lot of money to get started with 3D printing. There are a number of ways that you can lower the cost of 3D printing, and still get high-quality results.

1. Use less 3D Printing Material

When it comes to the cost of materials for 3D printing, using less is always better for your bottom line. One way to use less material is to use a lower infill percentage.

Infill is the amount of material that is used to fill in the empty space inside of an object. A lower infill percentage means that there will be less material used overall, and thus the cost of your print will be lower.

You may also want to only use supports where absolutely necessary. 3D printing supports are structures that are printed along with your object to help support it during the printing process.

Sometimes, it is possible to print an object without any supports at all. However, using supports can help to improve the quality of your print, so it is important to find the right balance.

2. Use Cheaper 3D Printing Materials

There are a number of different materials for 3D printing, and some of them are more expensive than others. If you are looking to save on the cost of 3D printing overall, it’s always advisable choose the right material for your project.

The right material does not necessarily mean the cheapest one, but rather the one that will allow you to achieve your desired results while using the least amount of money. Your aim is to reduce the cost of 3D printing your parts without comprising quality.

For example, if you are looking to create a prototype that needs to be strong and durable, using ABS plastic is going to be more expensive than using PLA plastic. However, if your goal is to create a model that does not need to be as strong, PLA might be the better option.

3. Find Free or Low-Cost 3D Models

There are a number of places where you can find free or low-cost 3D models online. These models can be used for a variety of purposes, such as prototyping or for creating marketing materials.

However, when looking for free or low-cost 3D printing models, be sure to pay attention to the licenses attached to them. Some licenses may allow you to use the model for personal use only, while others may allow you to use the model for commercial purposes.

You could use these models as they are or you could modify them to better suit your needs. It all depends on what you are looking to use the model for. What’s definite, though, is that it will end up reduce the average cost of 3D printing for your parts.

4. Use the Right 3D Printing Process

Before starting 3D printing projects, it is important for users to choose the right process. Some processes are more expensive than others, and using the wrong process can increase the cost of your project.

For example, if you are printing an object that does not need to be very strong or durable, you may want to use FDM 3D printing. This process is typically more affordable than other processes, such as SLA or SLS.

A company that specializes in offering 3D printing services can help you choose the right process for your project. That would be in addition to providing you with a quote for the project.

5. Use a 3D Printing Service

The price of a 3D printer can run into hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, if you do not have a 3D printer, you can use a 3D printing service. These services will print your objects for you, and usually have a variety of different materials and processes to choose from.

This is in contrast to purchasing a 3D printer, which can be expensive. The cost of a metal 3D printer, for example, can be quite high. If you are printing industrial-strength objects, it would be more expensive to purchase a printer than to use a service.

That’s because you would also have to hire professional engineers to operate the printer and maintain it. The total cost of ownership would be too high for most small businesses.

3D printing services are a more affordable option, plus they have the experience to be able to offer sound advice about what process is best for your project.


3D printing can be expensive, but there are a number of ways that you can lower the cost: by using less material, finding free or low-cost 3D models, using the right material or process, and by using a 3D printing service. When seeking to reduce the cost of 3D printing, always remember that cheaper does not always mean better. But with a little know-how, you can get the same quality at a lower cost.

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