How to reduce 3D printing costs?

When you upload your 3D file on our 3D printing platform, the price of your 3D printed object is interactively updated every time you make a change of options, scale, or material. We know your 3D printing cost is essential, and we want to help you make your project as affordable as possible without ever compromising on the quality of 3D printing. 

So here are some tips and tools to help you reduce your 3D Printing Price. At Sculpteo, we designed online tools that help you do it easily, without changing your CAD file.

Discover all the tips to reduce your 3D Printing Price.


1 - Reduce your Series Price with Batch Control

The first option to reduce your 3D printing cost is considering 3D printing as a production technique, a real alternative to plastic injection. Batch Control is available if you order at least 20 units of the same 3D file in Plastic. It has an interesting effect on your 3D printing price: it provides an adapted cost that can be reduced by up to 80% compared to the initial unit cost.

It also gives you virtual control of our professional 3D printers: you can decide how to organize the units in the machine's space, thus optimizing the batch volume and reducing the price.


2 - Choose your 3D Printing Material Wisely

Some of our materials are more expensive than others, depending on their quality and properties. If your project doesn't need, for example, the high mechanical properties of our CLIP resins, or the smooth finish of our polyjet resins, consider our high-quality white polyamide, which is our least expensive material, while remaining very resistant, light, and adaptable to a wide range of applications. 

To be familiar with our wide range of 3D printing materials, visit our 3D printing materials catalog.


3 - The 3D Printing Finish that Best Suits Your Needs

3D printing is a great technology and now a perfect challenger to traditional manufacturing techniques. Our finishes sometimes require manual post-processes, which means increasing your 3D printing price. To reduce the cost, consider each finish on the upload page, and choose a finish that takes less time. For example, dyeing is a less expensive way to color your objects than painting because it is faster. However, the color will last longer and be of higher quality with painting. It's up to you to choose which finish is best depending on your priorities.


4- Size your 3D Printed Object Correctly

As for most manufacturing techniques, the size of your 3D printed object directly impacts the 3D printing price. To reduce the cost, we recommend reconsidering the size of your object in your CAD software or with our online resizing tool. If your object needs to be a certain size, remember that the 3D Printing Price is proportional to the volume occupied by your object in the machine's tray. Therefore changing a few aspects of the object to make it more compact might be enough, without needing to change the scale of the whole object. To learn more about how is calculated the 3D printing cost, visit our page Understand your 3D Printing Price.

5- Layer thickness & Resolution

For white polyamide 3D printing, we offer two layer thicknesses: 100 microns or 60 microns. With the 60 microns resolution, your object will be more refined, and the 3D printing layers will show less, but the object will be more expensive. If a price reduction is your priority, you'll prefer a higher  Layer thickness.


6- Hollowing your 3D Model

SLS 3D printing technology uses a powder raw material that will be fused in the 3D printer, thanks to the action of a laser. To reduce the amount of material used, which means reducing your object’s price and weight, we recommend hollowing your model

To make this step as simple as possible, we created the automatic hollowing tool. If your model reaches the correct minimum size, you can automatically hollow it by turning the hollowing option on. You then just have to choose the position of the hollowing holes to let the powder evacuate from your object. In real-time, you will be able to see the 3D printing cost decrease accordingly


7- Economy Mode: Choose Price over Delay

Once you have uploaded your file on Sculpteo, you can choose your production mode. The Economic production mode allows you to save up to 30% on the 3D printing cost if you accept receiving your 3D printed part a little later. With this option, your 3D printing quality is always guaranteed to respect our highest standards, but the production will take a bit longer. The economic mode is only related to the optimization production process, and only the shipping date (displayed when you upload your file) is affected by the chosen production mode. This mode is available only for white plastic, with or without all the finishes we offer.



8- Know your CAD file

This last tip probably sounds obvious, but if you've picked up your CAD file on an online library, or if you had it created by an external designer, please remember that the better you know your file, the better you'll learn how to update it to reduce your 3D printing price. A CAD model designed for 3D printing is very different from CAD models for animation or rendering.

As it will become a physical object, every aspect from the surface to the internal structure of your model has to be imagined, and some design aspects (the inner structure, for example) can change the 3D printing cost considerably without necessarily being beneficial for your application. 

Knowing your CAD file also allows you to avoid mistakes and unpleasant surprises when your package is delivered.  Even if our online checking tools are already very efficient and can correct some of the usual 3D design mistakes, it's always good to have extra safety and control.