Introduction: How to Reduce the Cost of a 3D Print

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3D printing is becoming popular day by day, and I bet you want to get at least one 3D printed object to add to your collectibles. But the thing is once you start 3D printing it becomes addictive just like having your first tattoo or piercing, you just ask for more the second you get the first one done!

and when it comes for the first time you might feel lost. Moreover, the price of the print might let your wallet scream. In this instructable, I will instruct you on how to reduce the cost of the print from few perspectives.

Step 1: Reduce Cost Using Size

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The first thing is to look at the size of the model you plan to print.

Naturally the smaller the size, the less the cost of material, therefore, the less cost. Choose wisely, and if your 3D prints were for testing, you might consider getting a small model before going big.

Step 2: Find a Cheap Print Shop

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When you decide on a size for the print, you can go to various websites to get your model 3D printed, If you don’t have a printer at home. Price may vary between different 3D printing Bureau, make sure you visit a couple of websites to compare prices before ordering your print. I provided you with links to a few options, and you can use your search engine to find more if you want to do a detailed research before Printing.

1- www.shapeways.com

2- www.sculpteo.com

3- www.ponoko.com

etc...

Step 3: Material Swapping

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Your model may vary in price.

It might cost from few dollars up to thousands of dollars depending on the material used for the print. Usually, the cheapest material is the strong and flexible plastic precisely in white. Coloring the material will take time and more time means more money. You can color it later using various techniques. Just search on Instructables, and you will find ways to color it.

Step 4: Pieces Incur Costs

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Pieces count. Certain models are made of multiple parts when ordering a 3D print each object is considered an order. One way to get around it in one order is to connect the objects in a smart way that allows you to split them later on after receiving the object. There are multiple ways to connect parts for an example; when you have objects with holes such as gears and nuts you use the keychain method with simply adding a loop through the holes of the objects.

Sometimes the objects you made won’t have holes.In this case, you add bridges connecting the objects together. Then, you break them after receiving the print.

Step 5: No to Void Space

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Void space is a problem! What do I mean by void space? Void space is a money waste; it's the built unseen and unusable side of the model that wastes material! Let's take a tuna can for an example, the can is the visible part, and the tuna Represents the Void space. Let’s get rid of the Tuna, I mean the Void Space. when you design a model for 3d printing, make sure to keep it empty from the inside. with a hole in the bottom to let the material channel through, like when using sandstone material. Hence less the material, weight and money spent :D, but be careful and take into consideration the wall thickness. the wall thickness of the model should meet the requirements of the 3D printing process. Or else the thin wall won’t be printed or might ruin the output

If you’re not a 3D designer and can’t afford one to hollow the model for you. You can use this free tool www.makeprintable.com . It hollows and adds the escape hole for the model automatically.

I tested it on some models, and the output was astonishing. watch the video for more instructions on how to use it.

This is my second instructable; I hope it helped you and I’m all ears if you want to request a tutorial on anything regarding 3D printing.

Comments

MikB (author)2016-02-27

Good tips. Another tip: Place parts INSIDE parts, where possible, to reduce the overall swept volume of your print. Some companies charge for the maximum extent of (width x height x depth). By putting smaller pieces inside the voids of larger pieces you can fold up the model and save $$$.

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Bio: I'm a dude who is interested in a lot of stuff. creativity is my thing and nothing is impossible to me :)
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