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Printing 3d models/ prototypes affordably? Is there a cheap place to get my cad file printed by a 3d printer?

So I am working on a futuristic design of a ferris wheel and am having trouble finding a company or manufacturer that could make an affordable prototype. My 3d model has the dimensions 100mm x 100mm x 75mm max size with the volume of 5 cubic inches. The school I go to does not have a 3d printer but I was fortunate to find one of my teachers came from a school who had one and she was going to try and see if they would print my model for me. It's been over a month since I heard of that option and I am assuming that option is no longer on the table. So, I am looking for an affordable option to print my 3d model. My budget is under $50. Had I been able to use the school's 3d printer it would have only cost me $4 per cubic inch, resulting in $20 cost to make. Doing a google search for 3d prototyping companies I found a few commercial options yet the quotes end up costing around $375 - $725. I know the Makerbot is one of the most affordable 3d printers out there yet $1000 is not in my price rang.

iceng5 years ago
Here is the perfect ible for you read.

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mcguyverzboss (author) 5 years ago
Thanks Guys! Both Ponoko and Shapeways look to be very promising in making the prototype. The costs are around $2 per cubic centimeter. I have reduced my design files to the bare minimum of what is needed to make a working model and fit within my budget of $50. My design ended up being 20 cm^3. All of your answers have been great in helping me find a solution. I agree finding someone who has a 3d printer would be the most affordable.
Short answer: no.

Longer answer: nooooooooooooooooo.

But really, it's not about the material. It's about the machine time and with that much volume it will take a while.

For your budget, which is quite low, 3D printing is not really an option. Here's what would have to happen for it to work.

- You have access to a 3D printer
- You know how to use it
- You can use it to print it yourself
- You will probably make a few mistakes and use up material in the process

Or, if you're really lucky, you find someone who has one and is willing to help you out as a favor.

As an option, you could prototype it with paper. Hard to say without seeing the model you're trying to print, though.
rickharris5 years ago
No idea where you are or what you might call cheap.

the web is your best bet.