When i.Materialise introduced stainless steel printing earlier this year they used a very straightforward pricing scheme: price by volume. Now they've announced a new scheme in which you're encouraged to print larger steel models because the price drops as you increase the size of your model.
The new pricing scheme is slightly more complex:
- Up to 5 cm3 model volume : 35$
- For every extra cm3 above 5 cm3 till 40 cm3 : 8 $
- For every extra cm3 above 40cm3 : 7.5$
But wait - that's not quite it. They also offer a discount for "compactness". That is by increasing the ratio of material to space within an imaginary cube surrounding your model, you'll get a break. It's not quite clear to us how this is computed.
But don't worry - they've simplified the computation of estimated print costs by including an online calculator. Upload your model and it will compute an accurate steel print cost for you.
We're wondering if this is the future of competitiveness for 3D print services: increasingly complex pricing schemes. We're hoping this market doesn't emulate other price-competitive markets, like mobile phone plans that often confuse consumers. On the other hand, if it's cheaper, it's better!