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How to calculate printing costs

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Hey folks,
I have the most stupid basic question ... how do I actually calculate the price if I print something for somebody else? ^^


First of all, I am just a stupid graphic designer, so please forgive me if you have to explain this step by step 1f603.png Here comes my example: This dude approached me and he wants a 15cm tall object printed. I am using the Ultimaker 2+ and a filament that costs 40€/750g. Cura tells me if I use the "normal print" settings, it takes 8h 34min to print, uses 6,19m of filament, weighing 49g. But I could also use the "fast print" settings (which are totally fine in my eyes for the project), which would result in 4h 38min, 5,46m and 43g.


I know that in theory you need to calculate something like a "printing price per hour", using the electricity costs, filament costs and such. But you also need to take the costs for the maintenance of the printer itself into consideration. And I haven't got the slightest idea how to do that. I mean the machine can run smoothly for months and then, bam, the nozzle gets clogged, you need to buy a heatgun to get the molten plastic out of the print head, the whole stuff takes you 3 hours, you accidentially melt one of the printer's fans, you need to buy a new fan and the whole thing ends up costing you nearly 100€ ... happened to me last month. It was a pleasure. But how on earth do you calculate for these kind of things in advance?!


As I said, please forgive me for having to explain this whole thing step by step. But I thought talking to actual human beings, telling me from their experiences, might be far more insightful than looking up that kind of knowledge on Google. I actually did already a while ago but it didn't help me 1f615.png


I am looking forward to your feedback, thank you very much!

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Hi @mmoerders , thank you for your post and welcome to the community! 

I see you already discovered the most basic way Cura can help you with this, as it tells you how much filament your model uses. 

If you go into Cura > Settings > Extruder > Material > Manage materials; you can add the cost of your filament.

Then Cura will not only tell you how much cm it uses, but also the costs. 

In theory, you could add some extra money to this to cover for any future expenses. If you do a lot of print jobs for customers, you can keep these extra costs relatively low and spread it over all customers. If you don't have that many paying customers you could add a relatively higher cost so he covers most of your potential damages. 


An Ultimaker with a heated bed uses 200W of power with the heated-bed enabled. Electricity costs somewhere between 10 and 20 cents per KiloWattHour (depending on where you live). So running the UM2+ costs between 2 and 4 cents per hour, or between 48 and 96 cents per day.


Hope any of this helps!

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A couple of months ago this has been discussed on the forum: one of the regular users gave a good and complete overview how he did his calculations, and they included almost everything. But I don't remember who it was, nor the name of the topic. So you may have to search a bit. Anyway, that description could be a good starting point.


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I did a lot of research in this area a while ago, and while I cannot remember the source, I have this Excel sheet that helped me figure out costs fairly quickly. I remember doing a lot of "how much does 3D printing cost" googling. Let me see if I can find it in the meantime. 




Here's a few resources I found: 

http://3dprinthq.com/cost/desktop.php (I think this is the source for the Excel sheet)

http://3dpartprice.com/ (this one looks neat and open source!)


Edited by starbuck

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