FUSION3 BLOG HOW MUCH DOES 3D PRINTING FILAMENT COST?
If your manufacturer requires you to purchase their brand of filament, your costs will be higher, sometimes much higher than manufacturers who employ a ‘open source’ or ‘open materials’ philosophy. In those instances, your material cost could range from $45 USD per kilogram (for basic materials like ABS and PLA) to over $250 USD per kilogram for specialty nylons and other engineering-grade plastics.
3D printers like our F410 that use open materials / open-source materials provide more options and sources, encouraging competition and innovation. Here’s a list of the main types of materials and what you should expect to pay if you’re purchasing them on the open market:
PLA & ABS (Generic Formulations)
Generic PLA and ABS are the least expensive materials to print. The average 3D printer material cost for generic PLA and ABS approximately $25 per kilogram from quality suppliers.
PLA & ABS (Specialty & Infused Formulations)
Prices in this category vary as there are a wide variety of unique versions of PLA and ABS that are specially formulated to unique specifications or add materials like ceramics, metals, wood or other materials to create unique visual effects. Materials in the specially formulated PLA and ABS category on average cost approximately $40 to $75 per kilogram.
ASA, a cousin to ABS, is great for using in outdoor applications and is quite inexpensive. You can expect to pay approximately $30 and $45 per kilogram for ASA 3D printing filament.
PETG emerged in 2017 as a very popular 3D printing filament due to its low cost and how it exhibits many industrial benefits. You should expect to pay between $30 and $40 per kilogram for generic versions of PETG and $45 to $70 for specialty formulations.
Nylons are proprietary formulations of plastic, so you won’t find generic versions. Due to the speciality nature, Nylon can be somewhat expensive and you should expect to pay between $80 and $110 USD per kilogram.
Everyone loves seeing a 3D part printed using flexible materials and most flexible materials are based on a materials called TPU and TPE. Generic TPU flexible 3D printing materials can be found from quality suppliers around $35 USD per kilogram. Specialty formulations from manufacturers like NinjaTek are more expensive and run approximately $90 to $110 USD per kilogram.
CARBON FIBER BLENDS
Many filament manufacturers are introducing blends of various plastics, inflused with Carbon Fiber. The addition of carbon fiber, improves certain characteristics of the base material, including reducing weight and increasing strength. These carbon fiber infused materials can run anywhere between $45 and $90 per kilogram.
Generic polycarbonate (PC) has incredible strength and temperature resistance, but is very difficult to print, even with an enclosed 3D printer like the F400. If you’re game to try printing PC, you can expect to pay about $100 per kilogram. There are also blends of other materials with polycarbonate that are easier to print and actually cost less (PC-ABS for example). These formulations cost approximately $75 to $95 USD per kilogram.