Do any of you print 3d models to sell? This is a good article to keep in mind.
If you’re running a 3D printing service, or a product development company where you’re quoting customers on digital fabrication services, there’s a good chance that you’re pricing wrong. Here’s how I know.
In the last five years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of 3D printing/Additive Manufacturing business owners about how they price their services and a vast majority of them undersell their services. The three primary reasons are either a combination or one of the following:
They don’t take into account all of the ancillary components that go into running a business.
They charge purely based on the volume of the CAD model not taking into account exponential price increases or decreases.
Taking their slicer output of time to print and material usage too literal without physically measuring those parameters and taking into account #1 above.
Based on those hundreds of hours of conversation combined with years of industry experience, I’ve developed a holistic methodology on how to price for 3D printed parts and projects that accounts for all aspects of the business (human/machine time, machine depreciation, software, facility cost) the size of the job, and the unique attributes of the parts. I’ll share that methodology with you today, but first, a little more context on how I got here.
Mike Moceri, the founder and CEO of MakerOS.
Back in 2013, while I was running a 3D printing service bureau, my team and I received an order from a Fortune 500 company to print them approximately 15,000 individual parts for a toy line. At the time, we were charging a little less than $1 per cubic centimeter printing in PLA and Nylon PA12, and that’s how we ended up pricing them for the job.
The project ended up being a very challenging one (that’s a whole different story that you should ask me about at some point) and after some time gaining more experience over the years, I realized that, considering how immensely large the job was, we should have priced about 70% more than what we originally quoted.
There’s a lot we didn’t factor for: the manual time it takes to prep, slice, validate, think through how to plate up and pull off parts; the software costs to execute all of those tasks; how long it actually took to print parts accounting for machine depreciation. It was quite a learning experience – in fact, it ultimately changed my life because I decided to do something about it, and I’m still doing it today.
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I remember seeing 3D printed skulls from CT scans many years ago at JPAC, the Joint POW MIA Accounting command based at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It was a pretty cool idea to study the 3D printed models so that the original remains could be buried, thus giving families closure, etc. I think there is great potential in anthropology for this type of technology.
Not all the algorithms are based on different threshold values. I don't mean to get super-technical, but I am a somewhat skilled programmer for a very limited number of things. It's a super-simple algorithm to simply put a threshold on HU. There are a bunch of other approaches algorithmically. You can also threshold based on texture analyses even in 3D slicer. I could go on here for ten paragraphs, but trust me there are a lot. AI based segmentation that is pretty accurate is available for some things...but the ones I have seen were custom built by companies for a particular entity looking to segment something specific e.g. just segment out the lungs into bronchopulmonary segments.
A 3D printed tumour designed and fabricated by 3D LifePrints, a UK-based medical technology company, has aided surgeons in the removal of a cancerous mass in six-year-old, Leah Bennett.
Bennett was admitted to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool after experiencing back pain. Various scans and tests lead to the diagnosis of a large unknown tumour at the bottom of her spine. Additive manufacturing was implemented to establish the optimal approach to extract 90% of the malignancy. Paul Fotheringham, Founder of 3D LifePrints stated:
The 3D printed tumour model. Photo via 3D LifePrints.
3D printing guides high-risk surgery
According to the medical team at Alder Hey, Bennett’s tumour was located close proximity to a number of important anatomical regions including the spinal cord and superior mesenteric artery. It was also observed to be enveloping large portions of vessels such as the aorta and inferior vena cava.
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