Just as ever-changing the world of 3D printing is, we can expect that there will be shifts in how much the materials will cost. This episode brings you an update about the costs of 3D Printing material since the early days we tackled this topic. Tom and Tracy Hazzard share with you some new information they got from this week’s podcast guest, Aaron Roy of 3D Printer OS. Find out how filaments cost and more in this discussion.
Listen to the podcast here:
3D Print Material Update
This is the Ask Us Anything segment.
Thanks for joining us. We had an interview with Aaron Roy of 3DPrinterOS and there’s something that came out of that that we didn’t discuss in that interview that we think is an interesting thing to update to our audience about materials.
There’s a videocast that’s going to go along with this where he shows us how to use the backend of the cloud service part of 3DPrinterOS and you can see the management of multiple printers. You get global data and there’s like a dashboard back there.
They have a record of every single print ever printed using 3DPrinterOS. How many prints is that so far?
At the time we looked at it, it was over 10,000.
That’s a lot of prints and it’s all over the world. It’s not just here in the US.
More than that, they also showed the number of kilograms and materials used in those printers across those prints. I remembered in the early days of this show, we had a question about material costs and we’ve always said that it was nominal in our experience, but now we have some global data to put to it.
That’s exciting. You don’t just have to take our word for it. This is data that’s coming from a large community of people 3D printing and over 10,000 prints.
I calculated it and it says that basically each print uses about 0.017 so 0.02 kilograms per print.
That’s an average across all the prints. Some use more, some use less, but on average of all the prints they’ve ever done there.
If you calculate that at $35 to $50, it’s somewhere between $0.60 and $0.85 per print.
It’s worth of material used.
This is what we keep saying is that it’s less than a dollar and this is a validation of that. Even when we talk to random newbies out there or business people have questions about printing. One of the questions is, “Aren’t the materials expensive?”
What we’re showing here with these numbers now and from real data globally is that if you buy a cheaper filament because, “I don’t want to spend $50 a spool or $40 a spool. I want to spend $25 a spool or $30 a spool.” If you use a cheaper filament, what are you saving? Maybe $0.15 to $0.25 a print but if that cheaper filament is not printing as well, which has been my experience. It doesn’t flow as well and it doesn’t have consistent quality throughout a print. I’ll get through our 19 and a 20-hour print and then have a problem. Is that worth it to me to save a few cents in print? It isn’t. Before you consider, “That’s an expensive material. Maybe I don’t want to buy from this resource.” I don’t think they’re gouging you. It’s a higher quality material that they spend a lot more care and time and processing and that’s why it’s more expensive. Maybe it’s made in the USA and not overseas. That’s another difference in cost.
This is more of a new experience for us. We’ve discovered that some of the materials that we thought were flowing well and they were on the outer edges of the filament and because it was a brand new filament at the time. Now that we’re getting towards the intersection of the roll, they’re failing left and right.
Some of the same ones that we used a year ago did fail and had a lot of trouble and we ended up replacing the spool and probably throwing away maybe the last 30% of the spool.
That’s also something and I can’t identify. We’re trying to experiment to try and figure that out. If it’s the original filament that wasn’t good to begin with and it wasn’t great filament or if it’s because it sat on the shelf over a year before we went back to using it again. We’re not 100% sure if that would have had an effect if we had used the whole roll immediately.
If the roll is inconsistent and that happened to be more consistent in the first two-thirds of the role and now toward the end of it, you’re getting to an area that the quality control wasn’t as good. That could be the case for us.
We had 2 or 3 sources where we’ve used entire rolls within a couple of weeks and never had a problem. These few that we were having issues with, we never used a whole roll in its entirety.
The reason we’re using those rolls and keep going to try to do it is it’s a unique color that we want to use that we can’t get anywhere else.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bought it. I would have bought from my regular source. That’s an issue and that’s a number one reason why you have to have an expanded color line because you’re sending customers elsewhere.
The cost of filament in our opinion should be one of your last concerns with your overhead.
It’s still a budgetary concern when you’re buying because you’ve got to buy a certain number of colors and you need to have a certain number of rolls. You do have to think about that in terms of like, “I’m buying a printer and I’m buying a bunch of filament at the initial cost,” but your cost over time is to go to return on investment because you are going that it’s going to last you quite some time.
Better quality of filament does make better quality prints in our experience.
Thanks to 3DPrinterOS for confirming our own experiences but on a more global level for us.
That’s some great data and there are other data by using 3DPrinterOS. There are other benefits you gain from being a part of that community. Read that episode in order to see what all those are. There will also be this companion video where Aaron Roy takes us on a video tour. We did it fast because we know people don’t want to spend a whole of the time. It was a five-minute tour, but you can always pause it if you want to look at something in more detail and then get on 3DPrinterOS and do it yourself.
You have to build an account. It’s free.
I built an account on their site free. If you have any more questions about anything related to 3D printing, please go to our website. You can send us a voicemail. You can reach us at our email address. That’s at HazzDesign.com or anywhere in social media @HazzDesign.
As always, our Ask Us Anything is free. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
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