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Why Is 3D Printing So Expensive

Why Is 3D Printing So Expensive

Updated by

William Stone


January 13, 2023

3D printing is an expensive process. So why is 3D printing so expensive? This article is going to provide you with comprehensive answers.

Why is 3D so expensive? What factors play a role in the high cost of 3D printing? What makes this process carry such a high cost?

3D printing is expensive because of the process involved and the quality of materials used. Factors that contribute to this high cost include High investment in initial costs, use of advanced technology, the complexity of the printing process, and the cost of post-processing.

We are going to explain to you in detail why 3D printing is so expensive. We will evaluate the factors that play a role in the cost of 3D printing and why the process ends up expensive. In particular, we are going to discuss the initial investment, technology, and the printing process itself, and how these factors play a role in 3D printing.

Our goal is to provide you with high quality and accurate information on the answers that you seek. In order to do this, we have a competent team of professionals who boast of a high level of expertise in their respective fields. The team has accumulated vast experience in their field areas of specialization. Therefore, when you seek information from us, be sure that the information is authoritative, correct, and reliable.

Table of Contents


3D printing is a technology that has grown and developed considerably in recent years. Today, its growth has seen it being used in different applications including manufacturing, customized art and design, medicine, and many more. Clearly, this is a technology that is different from what has been used traditionally. With it, it’s possible to print different three-dimensional pieces. However, it does not come cheap, it is expensive to do 3D printing. There are multiple items and processes required to come up with a three-dimensional printing. It is for this reason that you’ll find 3D printing being so expensive.

Why is 3D Printing So Expensive

Below is a detailed discussion of the reasons why 3D printing is so expensive.

High Investment in Initial Costs

Before the final price of a 3D printing is set, there are a couple of significant things that are factored in. Eventually, these items have a huge influence in determining the final price of a 3D printing project. Essentially, there are costs associated with the size of the 3D printing project, infill, the type of filament used, and the time it takes to do the printing.

In terms of the size, if the 3D printing is large, it will increase the cost considerably. The larger the size of the printing, the higher you’ll have to pay for it. For large-sized printing projects, there is so much that goes into the printing process. For example, there will be need for more filaments to work on a large printing. Therefore, the cost will have to go higher.

There’s also the initial cost of infill. Normally, a 3D printing with more infill produces a higher quality product. Consequently, such a product will cost a higher amount compared to one with a lower infill intensity.

The filament used also influences the expensiveness of 3D printing. There are different types of filaments used. If you want the highest level of 3D printing quality, the filament used has to be the best, and this means the price will have to go up.

Lastly, the time it takes to print contributes significantly to the final price of 3D printing. If it’s a large object, it will take more time. Normally, the longer it takes to do the printing, the higher the cost of electricity incurred. Ultimately, it will end up being so expensive. So, high investment in initial costs is a major reason why 3D printing is expensive compared to conventional printing.

Usage of Advanced Technology

There is a high level of technology that goes into coming up with 3D printing. As you know, technology isn’t cheap, and depending on what you use, the final price of a product can quite expensive. The printers used to produce 3D printing products use a high level of technology that makes the final product to be costly. As opposed to the normal ink-based printers, it takes advanced technology for 3D printers to come up with 3D objects.

In the case of 3D printers, resin hardens the moment it comes into contact with UV light. There are still other 3D printers that use SLS technology for 3D printing. Indeed, a printer with such advanced processes produces high precision products that normal printers cannot produce. Clearly, the more sophisticated a 3D printer is, the costlier it will be to buy a 3D printing.

A printer that uses advanced technology will make the printing process easier, produce precise products, and deliver high quality prints. Of course, these are aspects that play a major role in influencing the higher price of these products.

The Complexity of the Printing

The level of complexity carries a great deal of significance in determining the price of 3D printing. This type of printing is not like any other. It takes time to prepare and plan for 3D printing. There are 3D printing services that are quite easy to undertake because they are automated. This is the case for simple products. However, it is different for projects that are complex in nature.

For complex models, the story is different. The higher the complexity of a 3D printing project, the more sophisticated the process will be. Obviously, for a complex 3D printing project, there will be need for a higher level of investment in skills to produce the required product. This will eventually lead to the final product being more expensive.

The Cost of Post-Processing

There is so much that goes into 3D printing that most people do not realize. Unlike the traditional type of printing, 3D printing is not an immediate process. Once you do 3D printing, there are other processes that a print goes through before being used. These processes include curing, cleaning, and polishing. These processes are important for the quality of the final product.

While these processes are important for the final product to be of high quality, they are not easy to undertake. It takes a high level of skill, usage of high level of technology, and particular materials to achieve what you want. Some of the models experts in 3D printing work on so complex that polishing them becomes an intricate affair. It requires a high level of expertise and patience to succeed in polishing these prints.

Also, if a client asks for their 3D printing to have a specific finishing, you’ll have to go an extra mile to find what they want. The tastes and preferences of different clients make the post-processing process more demanding, and this contributes towards making the final product expensive.


Certainly, 3D printing is not cheap, and there are reasons why it is not. There are multiple factors that determine the cost of a 3D-printed object. The quality of materials used, the time it takes to do the printing, the type of 3D printers used, and initial costs play a major role in determining the cost of a print. The bottom-line is that three-dimensional printing is applicable in different industries, thus making it a valuable application. For an application of such caliber, it is not uncommon for it to be expensive.


William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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Why Is 3D Printing So Expensive

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