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Printing fees

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I have been asked to print a very large piece. It will be a great deal of time and endless babysitting to make sure there are no reel tangles, nozzle jams etc..

I was curious what everyone is charging for print time if someone requests a print. I have done a little research and also know what the local 3d printer is charging around here. I have also taken a look at what it would cost if I were to have it done by shapeways. Anyway, I would love to hear what others are doing and if the community has come to any standardized rate.

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so i charge 4 euro setup costs and 0,21 euro per cm3.. and that makes me an acceptable amount of money :)

how large would you consider a large piece?

i think you might need to tweak your setup a bit if it needs babysitting.. i do 40 hour prints on a regular basis and i just let it go.. my failure rate is around 1 percent..

reel tangles to me means you need to buy better filament ;)

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Agree that you should be charging for the printing skill, but not for babysitting.

I charge depending on the complexity of the project and how much of my printing skill it uses, but then allow for the fact that I am doing something else while it is printing.

I also allow for a return on investment charge for the printing, and the hours I have put in to managing to print at all!

So there is a fairly high set up of about UKP25 and then I work out how many hours to handle the part and clean up and then packaging and delivery - I rarely think too hard about the plastic volume as I think that is a fairly small element in the whole process.

I am never cheaper than the local hub, but almost always cheaper than shapeways unless it is a really small item.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate you sharing. I look forward to hearing other thoughts and experience. Babysitting probably isn't the right term. It seems I could charge either hourly or per cm3.

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I charge $10usd setup cost and $1usd per cm cubed.

Support is extra and support removal is another extra on top of that.

Pretty much any of your time, material usage, power and printer time needs to be considered as charge rate if your doing to make some money.

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I charge $10usd setup cost and $1usd per cm cubed.

Support is extra and support removal is another extra on top of that.

Pretty much any of your time, material usage, power and printer time needs to be considered as charge rate if your doing to make some money.

 

that's a pretty steep price I suppose..

I calculated my pricing as follows;

it takes roughly 8,5 hours to print 33 grams.

33 grams divided by 1,36 (weight per cm3) is about 24,26 cubic centimeters

now we now that 24,26 cubic centimeters costs us 8,5 hours and 33 grams

8,5 hours of printing with a power cost of 25 cents an hours is 2,125 euros

33 grams , with filament cost at 35,95 euros pet 750 grams is about 1,5818 euros

add to that a cost of 100 euros per 500 hours of printing for maintenance , which is 2 cents an hour so that's 17 cents in total

so to print 24,26 cubic centimeters the cost (excluding printer maintenance and write-off) my cost would be 3,88 euros in the worst case scenario (i get a good discount on filament + my printer does not run 250 watts continuously.)

so worst case scenario is 16 cents per cubic centimeter as cost.

then i had to think about do I want to make money with this, or just get a boatload of large prints?

so I just added 5 cents per cubic centimeters and was hoping for large prints (and yes, i do charge support seperately.

with my pricing i get about 5 to 10 orders a week, enough to run 3 ultimakers continuously.

my latest order was 227.8 cubic centimeters. after adding some additional cost for the support material, I walk away with about 20 euros net profit excluding discounts and all other things which i invest in buying new printers and doing dumb stuff ;) this project then keeps my printer occupied for 30+ hours. thanks to the modifications on my printers about 1 in a 100 prints fail.

the average order value on my hub is between 50 and 100 euros. i try to get large prints instead of a lot of smaller prints since that is what actually makes money.

4 euros setup price because that seemed like a good number for some reason

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yeah it is high but i have to import most filaments at higher costs. it costs me the same amount of shipping as one roll of colorfabb. I cant order 2 many rolls at one time or i will have to pay import duties. I put my hubs pricing in the middle of what others here are charging. I don't get many print jobs ( 10 last year ) but I'm ranked 3rd in the most used hubs in the city.

I guess lower pricing could get me a lot more jobs like yourself but i would need to really look at setting up one at least one printer just for that and advertise to get better awareness.

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...

it takes roughly 8,5 hours to print 33 grams.

...

 

Thanks for your detailed write up, but there must be something wrong I am afraid.

Why does it take 8.5 hours to print 33 grams?

A Marvin, for example, scaled by 3, takes roughly 5 hours @20% infill and weighs ~55 grams

:O

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...

it takes roughly 8,5 hours to print 33 grams.

...

 

Thanks for your detailed write up, but there must be something wrong I am afraid.

Why does it take 8.5 hours to print 33 grams?

A Marvin, for example, scaled by 3, takes roughly 5 hours @20% infill and weighs ~55 grams

:O

 

I'm using an average leaning towards worst case scenario with 0.1 mm layer height..

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I think we take a different approach to most. We start by deciding how much revenue per annum we want a printer to generate. Then we decide how many hours per annum the printer will be printing production work. Dividing the former by the latter gives us our print time per hour cost target.

Then we have a minimum hourly rate which equates  roughly to the legal minimum wage – no point in earning less, you may as well claim benefits 8) .

The hourly print rate we choose will be between the target and the minimum and there will be a variety of business related factors than will influence our choice.  E.g. something that has very tight dimensional tolerances will probably be close to the higher end of the range, indeed we may price the work on the basis that we will probably have to  run the print several times to get it spot on, i.e 2x or 3x target hourly rate.

To the print hourly rate we add overheads, stuff  like electricity and equipment depreciation. Then we add the material price at cost, I.e. we do not try to make a profit on the filament. We know how much a metre of filament costs and Cura tells us how many metres are required.

We add a standard fifteen minutes to the print time to cover setup, sometimes we gain – print after another job using the same filament, sometimes we lose – first job of the day or maybe having to change filament with an atomic pull.

Finishing work would normally be charged circa 40eu an hour.

We may or may not add a charge for what we call “print consideration” which is needed for every part/model. How are we going to print it, in terms of orientation, settings, single part or multiple parts with post processing, to produce the shortest print time (cheapest cost to the customer). If we are designing the 3D model we do not charge as the “print consideration” feeds into the design process.

Baby sitting – well we do a lot of that. We have a dispatch deadline for everything; if we had say an 8  hour print job and went back after 8 hours only to find the printer system had failed we would have lost 8 hours and almost certainly will miss the deadline. We do not charge specifically for babysitting, it is contained within the  annual revenue we expect the printer to generate.

Target hourly print rate is circa 13.5eu and minimum circa 8.70eu; complex prints where failure could occur may double or treble these. Overheads circa 1.50eu per print hour.

Edited by Guest

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... and if you want to run your printer as a business always try to get your customers budget and where relevant current cost. We made that mistake on our very first job where the customer wanted to redesign a part that had been injection moulded and prototype it. We charged circa 75eu. It was only several months later when we discovered that the injection moulding company had quoted 540eu + design :angry:

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..... of course if Boeing came to us with 10 * 200 print hours, we would take a different approach!!

 

yeah but isn't that the thing?

honestly, I think you will never be able to compete with 3D Hubs in that manner..

most people on 3d hubs (even the larger hubs!) are simply people running this from their homes, or, even fablabs which are community sponsored "companies" that provide free 3d printing services or printing for a nominal fee to the community (amongst many other things).

I don't need to take hourly wages into account.. i'm working from home and i just walk to the printer and back.. i enjoy "playing" with the printers so I don't mind.. and while in the end of the year I do declare my income from 3D printing to the government, most 3D Hubs won't..

I have no problems sharing the orders i'm getting via 3d hubs publicly, I am extremely interested, is this your full time job and does this cover your operational costs? how many orders do you get?

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..... of course if Boeing came to us with 10 * 200 print hours, we would take a different approach!!

 

yeah but isn't that the thing?

 

No not really. If you are going to run a business there are a variety of fundamentals you have to have clarity on. What investment and working capital you need, cost and pricing (i.e. subject of the thread). What services are you going to offer. What type of contracts do you want. Understanding your target market and what is achievable and acceptable. How much risk you are going to layer across the various areas. Etc.

So to be very specific - our target market and cost and pricing model that targets that market, does not address getting an order for 2,000 hours of printing from someone like Boeing. If such an order were to arrive we would have to step right back and consider how we were going to deliver it, what profit we wanted, the impact on current customers, what investment in additional printing capacity would be required and is that investment worthwhile if the order is a one-off, etc. etc.

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..... of course if Boeing came to us with 10 * 200 print hours, we would take a different approach!!

 

I have no problems sharing the orders i'm getting via 3d hubs publicly, I am extremely interested, is this your full time job and does this cover your operational costs? how many orders do you get?

 

I should say first of all that we are in this to make a profit, although we do have a community spirit! We now do a lot of work for a local podiatrist who is into giving a better solution to people on low incomes, by providing custom insoles rather than off the shelf standard sizes, which are considerably cheaper. We take a fitment measured to each individual and produce it for him at the price of a standard stock insole, or lower if necessary. Onto your question…

Full time job – No moving to yes. The business has been setup for my son who is a mechanical engineer in his last year of college; it will be his full time job. I was extremely lucky a couple of years ago to be able to take very early retirement. My son does the design with Solidworks and I do the printing. We share the selling and I do the financials. My wife does the marketing and administration. I do not take any money from the business, it all goes to my son.

My son has limited time and I have other things I want to do with my life so it is not a full time job, but it will be for my son when he finishes college in the summer.

Operational costs: In truth no, not everything is covered. The cost of design and 3D printing/tools is covered + profit. Sales and administration are not covered – but right now they have a low spend. The work I and my wife do is f.o.c to help my son get the business up and running and earn some money.

No. of orders – extremely variable; this really is by design right now due to limited time. We do some selling but not that much, most of our work to date has come by word of mouth and currently we run at about 40% production capacity – which allows us to take on emergency repeat business – last year we had a very late order on a Sunday evening to produce some wrist straps (which hold a motion sensor) for the British Elite swimming squad who were leaving for Japan on the Wednesday. We will always want to be able to provide that level of service so will always run below 100% capacity. The volume of orders will change from the summer onwards – we hope!! – once my son is full time. Our medium term plan is to grow to four printers, not necessarily all FDM.

Excluding the podiatry work we normally get one to two orders a week; some weeks we will have nothing but that gives us a slot to do some R&D/testing and printer maintenance if needed. We do design, prototyping, production and we get quite a lot of repeat business on the production side – which is a volume business not a one off. This of course is easy as we have all the relevant print settings and filament and know how we will produce it.

Originally for us we had assumed that our work would be some design and prototyping but in reality it has been design and prototyping leading to production and repeat production business, plus further repeat design and prototyping business for other products or existing product modifications.

Hope that helps.

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..... of course if Boeing came to us with 10 * 200 print hours, we would take a different approach!!

 

I have no problems sharing the orders i'm getting via 3d hubs publicly, I am extremely interested, is this your full time job and does this cover your operational costs? how many orders do you get?

 

I should say first of all that we are in this to make a profit, although we do have a community spirit! We now do a lot of work for a local podiatrist who is into giving a better solution to people on low incomes, by providing custom insoles rather than off the shelf standard sizes, which are considerably cheaper. We take a fitment measured to each individual and produce it for him at the price of a standard stock insole, or lower if necessary.  Onto your question…

Full time job – No moving to yes. The business has been setup for my son who is a mechanical engineer in his last year of college; it will be his full time job. I was extremely lucky a couple of years ago to be able to take very early retirement. My son does the design with Solidworks and I do the printing. We share the selling and I do the financials. My wife does the marketing and administration. I do not take any money from the business, it all goes to my son.

My son has limited time and I have other things I want to do with my life so it is not a full time job, but it will be for my son when he finishes college in the summer.

Operational costs: In truth no, not everything is covered. The cost of design and 3D printing/tools is covered + profit. Sales and administration are not covered – but right now they have a low spend. The work I and my wife do is f.o.c to help my son get the business up and running and earn some money.

No. of orders – extremely variable; this really is by design right now due to limited time. We do some selling but not that much, most of our work to date has come by word of mouth and currently we run at about 40% production capacity – which allows us to take on emergency repeat business – last year we had a very late order on a Sunday evening to produce some wrist straps (which hold a motion sensor) for the British Elite swimming squad who were leaving for Japan on the Wednesday. We will always want to be able to provide that level of service so will always run below 100% capacity. The volume of orders will change from the summer onwards – we hope!! – once my son is full time. Our medium term plan is to grow to four printers, not necessarily all FDM.

Excluding the podiatry work we normally get one to two orders a week; some weeks we will have nothing but that gives us a slot to do some  R&D/testing and printer maintenance if needed. We do design, prototyping, production and we get quite a lot of repeat business on the production side – which is a volume business not a one off. This of course is easy as we have all the relevant print settings and filament and know how we will produce it.

Originally for us we had assumed that our work would be some design and prototyping but in reality it has been design and prototyping leading to production and repeat production business, plus further repeat design and prototyping business for other products or existing product modifications.

Hope that helps.

 

tha;s awesome :)

thanks so much for your reply and candor!

I find it incredibly useful to see how others are doing this :)

I wish you the best of luck, it sounds like you do have the bases covered!

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Great information. I really appreciate everyone sharing honestly their experience and pricing. I am trying to get things off the ground here by offering 3d printing as a service to the local public. Initially, I have offered the printing as an end result of a larger design project not a standalone. Personally, I have not tried becoming a printer on 3d hub yet, but will look into that. I fear that MY biggest problem right now is that the layer height and quality that I find acceptable does not match the poor quality and lower price that I am seeing from my local competition. Deciding whether to drop quality to match price points and print times doesn't excite me. However, I realize that it is hard for the general public to accept a high price when they are used to seeing plastic objects in happy meals and as throw aways. Thanks to everyone here for input, it helps to hear how everyone values the print time and work involved.

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Unfortunately we will never compete with China in general or injection moulding where a piece is from a large run. I designed and made a very nice set of chess pieces for myself but if I were to print them again for sale I would charge 400-500 gbp, too much for plastic :)

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Personally, unless you want to churn stuff out, offer what you think is the best product for you while satisfying a need in the purchasing population!

I bought my printer for prototyping my own design stuff and learning. I went onto XYZ and 3dhubs and only got crazies from XYZ so dropped it. 3dhubs was really interesting - and I loved rising to the challenges that they set - like printing the vertical fairphone case and then going into 'production'. But I always saw these commissions as a way of paying for filament and using the spare capacity of the printer, rather than as a business - if I had back to back orders and had to live off the printing side then it would be very hard - a fairphone case was paid at 12 euros and were extremely tricky to print, sometimes needed cleaning in the model and then post processing and packaging so I stopped after 15 of them. Other orders I used to get 1 or 2 a week, but they are always really challenging prints - either time, quality or cost expectations. They taught me heaps about printing (some that I thought would just fail came out brilliantly, and some that looked easy had challenges) but the time spent in analysing items that came in started growing as the quality of models that people throw around reduced.

Then more hubs came on line that were lower priced and so the projects (apart from repeat work) started to be the ones that had been refused or mucked up by other hubs, so delivery timetables really short.

So I have paused 3dhubs for 6 months as I also started to resent the fact that the printer (now printers) were not available for my own use, and just when I had changed nozzles to do one thing an order for something else would come in and take priority :)

But I rapidly found that my own architectural clients liked having 3dprinted stuff to look at so the printers now work harder and 'earn more' as tools in my daily activity.

I think setting up a business to 'print' for others would be a hard one to make a living, but setting up to design and prototype and educate companies who want internal facilities would be ok.

IMO the printer and consumables are the smallest cost, the overheads by far the biggest.

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I'm curious. What are people expecting one of their Ultimakers 2 to produce in revenue per month/year? How many printers do you guys have to have a sustainable business?

I'v seen the prices of industrial printers, and the cost for those services are quite high. For a small business, it's not recommended or even probable.

Edited by Guest

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