Essentium 3D Printing Engineer

What is the Real Cost of 3D Printing?

June 14, 2018

The design of your part, the machine you use, the process you apply, the material you choose, and the post-processing and post-finishing required all factor into the overall cost of 3D printing a part. 

But the real cost comes down to two things: speed and accuracy.

At least, that's what should be the biggest determining factor. The problem lies in material availability for printing processes. Typically, you're not going to get a perfect match material with 3D printing because the technology used to print alters and affects the properties and availability of materials. You might be able to print with ULTEM, but are you going to get the same tolerances and strength of machined ULTEM? Probably not.

Navigating materials adds a headache to an already convoluted highway of 3D printing naming conventions. It's for this reason we at Essentium aren't comparing ourselves to other 3D printers, but rather on other manufacturing processes such as CNC machining and injection molding. We can compare ourselves with CNC and IM where other printers cannot because we can and do deliver the same materials printed with the same properties as machined or molded materials. In this new road we're paving, we have siphoned out the cost of printing into a new category that reduces the price for our users by increasing the speed and accuracy of 3D printing so we can compete with the same materials machined and molded. 

If you are looking to compare prices because you want something 3D printed, you can check out these price calculators. But, if you're looking for a way to print hundreds of functional, market-ready parts while you wait for a tool to get made, keep reading.

The price of the process

The 3D printing process you choose affects the materials available to you. Laser sintering and extrusion processes require very different material preparation - powder verses filament. They heat and fuse materials at different temperatures and within different environments. Laser sintering requires a highly controlled environment whereas extrusion differs depending on the machine. This alone factors into the overall cost of preparing and printing a part. On top of that you have to factor in special equipment for powder removal and storage in regard to laser sintering. And we haven't even begun to talk about the differences in part strength using comparable materials, or standard materials availability. 

What if instead you could decide you want the same material you are going to use for your injection molded part? And then print your part using that material?

HSE: The 3D printer that doesn't act like a 3D printer

We said the cost of printing should be about speed and accuracy because you should be able to print with the material you want and get the same properties. With Essentium's HSE and FlashFuse technology, you can print just that.

Our printer is 10x faster than other extrusion printers on the market. We achieve faster speeds with higher, more controlled temperatures and 10x the extrusion force. This helps you save costs on your plant floor. Instead of taking down your 3-axis to run a first article, you can run it on the HSE. Same materials, same performance. 

Instead of waiting 30 days for your IM tool, you can start running hundreds of parts a day on the HSE. Again, same material and same properties.

Cut out the confusion, cut down the manufacturing time, and cut into a more streamlined manufacturing process. Contact one of our representatives to learn more about how you can trim out costs and up your output with the HSE

Webinar on Demand: Build Faster with HSE

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