How Much Do 3D Printer Materials Cost?

Cheryl Owens10 Mar 2022

If you're looking for a new way to spend your time, what about printing your products? 3D printing is changing the world to create prototypes and mass-produce items. And while it's not quite ready to produce home appliances, it's still an effective way of manufacturing products that are otherwise hard or expensive to create. While 3D printing technology has come a long way in terms of affordability, the cost of materials often keeps many people from pursuing this path. Here are some costs associated with 3D printer materials so you can determine if this is the right choice for you and your start-up.

3D Printer Materials and Their Cost

3D printer parts are relatively inexpensive, but the cost of raw materials often makes up for that. The average 3D printer will use approximately 15 pounds of filament each month, adding up to hundreds of dollars over a year. The filament is the material used to create objects out of plastic. It's also very important to note that the amount of filament you will need will depend on your object's size, shape, and construction. For example, smaller objects may require less filament than larger ones. Another factor in determining costs is how much time you want to spend printing your product. You can purchase pre-made parts and print them with a 3D printer, or you can go through the lengthy process of designing them yourself and printing one part at a time. The type of filament you decide to use may also affect this factor as some materials are harder or more expensive to print than others. Finally, suppose you want your product to come out looking professional. In that case, it's recommended that you purchase professional-grade filament, which is made from higher quality plastic and doesn't contain contaminants as other materials do.

Different materials used in 3D printing

A 3D printer comprises a digital file and various materials to create an object or prototype. These materials come in different forms, such as plastics, metals, and resins. You can also use other natural materials like wood or stone. These materials vary depending on the material and the technique used during manufacturing. For example, 3D printers often use a plastic filament to print objects, with each spool costing around $50. Some people have found ways to create their filament upcycled into new products. Other than filament, you'll need a computer and a software program to build your design and make it printable onto a 3D printer. This process can also vary in cost depending on the number of hours put into programming your design before printing. Another important product that you'll need is the heat bed which helps with the adhesion of your material while being printed on by a 3D printer. These typically cost around $100-200, so they're not cheap, but if you're looking for this kind of investment, it's worth it in the long run! The cost of 3D printing depends heavily on individual choices made when creating materials for this process. However, overall, it's still affordable for many start-ups looking for innovative ways to get their products out there.

Common costs that are associated with 3D printer materials


The filament is the most common material printed with a 3D printer. If you're printing with filament, it's typically in the form of a plastic filament. This is the most expensive type of filament because it has more raw materials in one strand than any other material type. It also costs more money to create than other materials, even though it doesn't cost as much per gram.


Ink is another common material used on 3D printers to create objects. Most likely, you'll find this type of ink in the form of UV-based ink that can be found at your local craft store or online. The main benefits of using ink are that it has fewer raw materials and can be more easily mixed with water than other materials like PLA or ABS plastic filaments.


Some people only print with their computers, but others use professional 3D printers for their projects. These machines typically require substantial amounts of power and cooling ability, which is why an industrial-grade machine might cost thousands of dollars for those who are serious about printing. Projects based on 3d printing rely on the printers being reliable and accurate enough or having a cheap and easy way of fixing them.


Fused deposition modelling (FDM) binds plastic material layer-by-layer, sometimes called fused filament fabrication (FFF). And most printers cannot be found in mass production because of their one-off nature.


Stereolithography (SLA) is a 3D Printer's component that costs from 2100 to 5000 USD in the market. Unlike FDM and FFF that rely on moving parts, SLA printers use light to create objects as they physically harden plastic linearly and layer by layer. Due to this methodology, SLA 3D Printers typically produce much higher resolution prints with smoother surfaces than FDM/FFF methods though they are quite costly.


While expensive to purchase and maintain, selective laser sintering (SLS) is commonplace in 3DP, which produces a wide range of objects via heating individual powdered particles just enough so that the plastic clumps together, hardening but yet does not melt completely into one solid object. The advantage over SLA is that individual research control of each clump can be achieved, thereby producing very elaborate designs. For example, using an SLS device is currently the most economical method for creating prototypes from metal or glass.


If you wonder how much 3D printer materials cost, it is good to do some research and find out what materials are most commonly used. Depending on the type, 3D printer materials can range from $1 to $1,000 or more. The most common costs associated with 3D printer materials are materials needed for printing from a solid to a liquid.

Cheryl Owens

Cheryl Owens

Welcome to Printlitic! 3D printing became a hobby of mine 5 years ago with an earlier model of Anycubic printer. Since then, I have grown to love seeing what people can build & create, and how these printers can change the world.

Comments (0)