How do I calculate the cost of a 3D print once it's done?



How do I determine how much an individual print costs?

I'd like an answer including support material, failed prints, and (ideally) wear and tear / printer maintenance costs.

To clarify, I'm not asking how to predict the cost before printing, but rather how to calculate the actual cost after printing. Though predicting the cost beforehand is useful as well.

Martin Carney

Posted 2016-01-13T20:35:45.770

Reputation: 1 426

3Failed prints are going to vary drastically, as will maintenance costs. It will depend on the part and the printer. The two things that will always been factors are filament cost and electricity usage. I would advise specifying the others to a better degree. – HDE 226868 – 2016-01-13T20:47:40.583

@HDE226868 See my modified question. I'm asking about calculating cost after the fact, rather than a prediction of cost before printing. I.e. you have the failed print(s) and successful print in hand to use in your calculations. – Martin Carney – 2016-01-13T20:53:44.027

An approach we have developed in Cranfield University is presented here A System approach for Modelling AM moreover you can find the Mathematical model here FDM Mathematical Model

– AM Defence – 2018-03-27T11:54:15.570



For FDM printing:

Both Cura and Makerbot Desktop (and perhaps others I'm not as familiar with) will give you a preview of both the length and weight of your print, including supports/rafts. Once the print is done you can weigh it on a kitchen scale.

PLA Filament currently runs about \$23/kg on Amazon, which works out to \$0.023/g. Multiplication can then give you a good estimate of materials costs for a print.

Only experience with your specific printer will give you an idea of how often you're going to hit a failed print, and how often you're going to need to replace parts. For wear and tear you could try using a depreciation model of 2-3 years, but that's only an estimate.


Posted 2016-01-13T20:35:45.770

Reputation: 298


There are many factors that make up the cost of a print.

  • Filament base cost-calculate the cost per gram * number of grams used
  • Power used by the printer-power cost * time
  • Setup time for the printer-hourly cost * time
  • Print time (as you could be printing other objects)
  • Print area - you can run multiple prints at once
  • Chance of print failure - (1+ %of failure) * cost of materials and time
  • cost of printer (divided over expected prints
  • printer maintenance
  • profit margin

Eric Johnson

Posted 2016-01-13T20:35:45.770

Reputation: 2 168

I disagree with including print area. You shouldn't make the customer pay for build volume that you aren't even using. The "You can run multiple prints at once" is a way to save yourself money by being more efficient. Also, please elaborate on the cost of printer variable and printer maintenance (what kind of things go into it and how to calculate). These edits would be very useful to someone in the future. – tbm0115 – 2016-01-14T14:02:35.353

@tbm0115 I know this was a while ago you responded, but you should factor in efficiencies. This isn't the price of the print. It's the cost to make it. – Sam Washburn – 2018-03-25T03:32:04.247


I recently faced the problem of calculating the cost of my printed 3D models. I wanted to know what their real value had to be counted in Excel. It was really inconvenient. Then I found a program for counting, it turned out really great, even takes into account the electricity. This is not an advertisement just throwing, maybe someone also encountered such a problem. I was interested in the question who solved the given problem in what ways?

Oliver Nelson

Posted 2016-01-13T20:35:45.770

Reputation: 1

2I looked at this app which sells for $10. It considers several factors, but does not include printer maintenance and depreciation. It has some compensation for failed prints, and includes electricity rates if you know them. – cmm – 2019-06-25T13:52:53.803

It includes depreciation of the 3D printer, you just need to enter its cost. – Oliver Nelson – 2019-06-26T21:27:02.983