Running costs of 3D printing


In the year that I have had my Flashforge Adventurer 3 I have just had a second extruder head break. The replacement cost (in AUD) is 135.00. But, I'll also need a new nozzle and a replacement ribbon cable for the extruder head. That will add another $40.00.

Apart from filament costs, that brings the cost of "consumables" for my printer in the last year close to $350.00

I'm beginning to think this makes the running costs for my 3D printing very high, but I have nothing to compare this with.

Does anyone care to share what it costs them to keep a 3D printer operational per year? Do my costs seem high?

Will Barrows

Posted 2020-01-27T04:27:47.247

Reputation: 79

Your running costs seem high, but realistic for a relatively closed-ecosystem printer. A replacement extruder head would've cost me around $20 on my printers. Nozzles are effectively free at $5 for 5, and I create the wiring harnesses myself. As for other consumables, the things that spring to mind would be the V-slot rollers (around $25 for a complete makeover) and perhaps the extruder grab wheel (~$10 after lots of printing). – towe – 2020-01-27T07:25:44.040

1This is highly dependable on printer and the usage and is not answerable, this will more likely start a discussion. As such this is not a very good question to ask. E.g. my Ultimaker 3E (more than 10 times more expensive than a Flashforge Adventurer 3) doesn't need much maintenance, but if it does, the parts are expensive (e.g. nozzle "cores" for about €150, maintenance kit for €100+). After kilometers of 2.85 mm PETG I'm still using the first "cores". How does that compare to cheap low end printers? – 0scar – 2020-01-27T08:33:27.113

@0scar I have a TronXY X1, which I swapped to a genuine e3d-v6, which still prints with its first nozzle and without any other maintenance done but the mods I installed to get it to run. MY ender3 though needed a replacement extruder, 2 nozzles and I am in my 4th or 5th build tak surface... it all depends on printer, setup and what you run through it! For example if you print PC, you either buy a 100€ ruby or print away stainless nozzles en masse. – Trish – 2020-01-27T12:09:44.627

Of the four comments so far, I have received one that could be considered an answer. Just because it is not a technical question with a specific answer does not make it an invalid question. I expected to canvas a range of opinions on this subject before summarising it all as an answer. I accept that the question could be refined. I'm really interested in 3D printers at the level an individual might buy and be responsible for rather than high-end ($50-$500k) equipment for business use. – Will Barrows – 2020-01-27T14:53:23.680

3Will, what is a "reasonable" maintenance is extremely dependant on your hardware! You might run your printer shop on 250$ printers and expect some 100$ in spare parts before your printer paid for itself. Or you might have a SLS printer, your running costs might be mainly power, powder and a costly laser-tube per 1000 running hours. Or you hava a stratasys system, you might pay only filament and power... and a quite expensive service contract per year... It all depends on your equipment! – Trish – 2020-01-28T00:03:31.900



I have a Prusa I3M3+MMU2, which I have had for a year.

During the first year, the display failed under warranty and replaced for free. The power supply also failed, and although Prusa replaced it, I was in a hurry and bought another supply to use as a backup for about \$60.00.

I have used two rolls of paper towels, a bottle of acetone, and a quart of isopropanol, for maybe \$5.00.

I have bought a spare thermister for about \$10.00, but haven't installed it yet.

I bought a couple of new nozzles for specialized materials for \$35.00, but the nozzle I got with the machine isn't worn.

I bought the textured build plate (when it was finally available) for about $30.00.

So, my running cost, exclusive of electricity, is about \$140.00, including buying accessories which haven't been consumed.

I have also bought way too much filament, which you aren't counting. Filament cost has dwarfed my other expenses.


Posted 2020-01-27T04:27:47.247

Reputation: 4 180