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You’re Pricing Wrong: How to Better Price Your 3D Printing Projects

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Do any of you print 3d models to sell?  This is a good article to keep in mind.  

 

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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.
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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.

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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