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Pricing out prints

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I am not sure if this is the right place to ask  this. But I do need tips on pricing out prints.

So far, I have been playing in the field of the mind and just making crazy things without worry of making a buck or even a penny off this thing. I got it primarily to learn about 3D printing, materials and how to design for FDM printing.

But, as luck would have it, someone is asking for a price based on what they have seen me do.

I know about the cost of filament. That is easy. But one print that has the same filament (or there abouts) can take either 8 hours or two days.

Then there is the other aspects I am sure I have not even began to consider. I do not want to set a bad precedent, but do not want to go nuts either. This would not be an "Art Job." Like a lot of my prints are....goofy things that if someone wanted it, I could price based on different criteria. But this would be a basic, run of the mill job and I am a bit lost on pricing.....not my strongest suit I can say for sure.

Any tips about this would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by Guest

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If I am doing a one off for a friend then I charge nothing - but I make it clear it is a one off.

If it is for an unknown person then it is a complicated set of questions

How do you value your time

How do you value your machine time

Machine time is easy - write off the machine plus spares plus maintenance over a three year period. Allow for 35 hours of printing a week - then do the maths :)

Your time - well, I assume you are not currently a full time 3D printer ... if you want to be then divide the salary you want over 35 hour week, plus taxes, plus overhead and you have an hourly rate. Use this for set-up time, computer time, difficult part of print time and then things like client relations and packing.

However, you will rapidly find that what looks like a slightly poor injection moulded part is ending up costing $$$ - so most people would only pay that amount if they are prototyping or can't get the product elsewhere.

Or join the hobby printers who more or less do it for the price of filament.

There is no right answer, but I know when I used to do 3d hubs the price valued my time below minimum wage, hence I no longer do those, whereas the printer has been invaluable to me as a tool for my own work (architect) but not a money earner as a tool in its own right.

Hope that helps!

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I've came from creative area so it was a chalenge for me either and still is :)

I think that a good start point is know your operational cost per month. You also need to calculate how long you want to refund your investiments and dilute this value for a certain period, one or two years, something like that.

You should check how much your competitors charge and 3dhubs can indicate it to you.

I would like to have a spreadsheet with all my filaments, resolutions and costs, I will make it just need to find someone with skills (my bastard brother-in-law) to help me :D... but basically I have a setup cost to fix the STL, when possible, and to slice parameters (I´m using Simplify3d so sometimes it's quite a hard work with multiple profiles). An then I add my resolution cost. Normally I use 0.1mm as a standart resolution that I work 60% of the time. For 0.2 resolution I gave a "20% discount" and for 0.06-0.07mm I increase by 20% with no count just market perception. With my operational cost and filament cost (UM PLA from BR UM reseller is U$115) my 0.1 resolution is relative of 7 or 8 times filament cost of a print.

I really wanna introduce a parameter of retractions cause if the print retracts a lot it is propense to fail such as underextrusion so it can cost more or it can take longer to finish with lower speeds and higher temps. Equipament degradetion should count to, higher temps burns coupler and abrasive filaments kill your brass nozzles.

Post processing is also tricky to define but I include a basic sanding and for priming, painting, wax coating and smoothing services I add more bucks.

Since I started to print with variable layer high it's harder to setup the cost, I need to calculate for exemple: 35% at 0.2mm; 40% at 0.1mm and 25% 0.07mm. I really would like to automate it. It's good to be transparency with the costs to get loyal customers.

I hope that helps and I will keep my eyes on this topic to learn more about it 8)

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Those are both very valuable viewpoints. Fortunately, this is a company that I just did some animation for and is a work in progress for both of us.

They are very interested in what I showed them: A crappy prototype print that I took in when I went to have lunch with one of the guys that hooked me up with the job.

They did like it, even though it was really crappy. Just gotta find that price point and as mentioned, valued time.

But, thank you both for helping :) I will have to factor that all in. It is just so strange because I purchased the printer to learn on and have fun with....I never really considered making money with it. 40 years in the biz, in one way or another and I am now thrown for a loop. :p

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Wow....I just uploaded a file to 3D Hubs for a price check.....there is no way I could compete with that.

It could not verify printability though. I know it prints, I am doing it.

But for what I spec'd, 3D Hubs cost $5.00 USD. Not very realistic though. Wonder what type of hack work would be put out by people trying to overcome the incredible price drop. And, I know it would take me about 14 hours to print let alone clean and assemble. And without attention to things like spread, or such, it could render the model unusable.

ugggghhhhh.......

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You can filter by printer or material in 3dhubs to get a more realistic competition. Nowadays people can buy a printer with 99-199 bucks and use the chepest possible filament, it's hard to compete in price.

By the way 3dHubs are turning to a plataform for industrial printers, they are changing the focus as far as I know. My hub is the more expensive in my city, sometimes people find me in 3dHubs and goes to my site, because of that I still with my account there.

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You can filter by printer or material in 3dhubs to get a more realistic competition. Nowadays people can buy a printer with 99-199 bucks and use the chepest possible filament, it's hard to compete in price.

By the way 3dHubs are turning to a plataform for industrial printers, they are changing the focus as far as I know. My hub is the more expensive in my city, sometimes people find me in 3dHubs and goes to my site, because of that I still with my account there.

This reminds me of the time when everybody thought they could make a good website because they could get Dreamweaver and did not need to learn how to hard code anything. Drove the price down dramatically to the point I got out of the biz completely.

And, yeah, knowing the time it takes to print these things, and using a decent filament, and expensing out the amortization of these things, I cannot beat the price.

I do have on thing going for me though: I am experienced 3D modeler and model maker, so I can provide more than just a print service. They did tell me that a few companies they contacted were ambivalent about the prospects because it is not the usual trinket or tool type of output like I see offered on Shapeways or other services.

I have not gone to other places locally though that are more high end. But, I shall endeavor to persevere.....

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Price the part out at shapeways also. But beware it may take a week or two. You won't need to do much cleanup on those prints! They come out much better than an UM and you don't have to worry about support (but you can't have walls/columns thinner than 1mm).

I would definitely not price this out at $5 even if you pay someone else $5 to make it. You have some skills and those are worth money.

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Have you gotten the tour of the shapeways factory?  There's one in NYC - I think it's in Brooklyn - I have been there for a tour.  Interesting tour.  I learned a few things. You can sign up for tours typically on meetup.com.

Edited by Guest

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so here's my 2 cents;

i run 8 UM3s just for other people.. all production work. some of it through 3d hubs, some of it directly.

this is not my day job, i consider it to be a hobby that got out of hand.. i have the ability to work from home so while working i change out glass plates every now and then and create packages to mail out.. the only thing that really takes up time is the whole accounting stuff which i hired an accountant for :)

when it comes to pricing, I've just made a large excel sheet.

I've taken all the factors into account that determine an hourly pricing. cost of printers over 3 years, maintenance, replacement parts, power cost etc. etc. and created an hourly price.

i've also taken every piece of material that I offer, taken a price per gram from the cost I would pay for the material and add a bit of leeway of material loss.

then i've added a multiplication factor for possible failed prints (i'm calculating 1 out of 100 will fail).

when i need to determine a price, i type in the grams and hours of printing time, and it spits out a cost price. then i just double that for a healthy margin and boom, there's my cost.

it does make me one of the cheapest on 3d hubs so i don';t really know why the others are so expensive.

no, this is not enough for me to make a living out of it but it doesn't have to be.. it's a hobby and a nice penny on the side.

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