New Insights into 3D Printing Costs: The Updated Fabbaloo Job Calculator

By on May 17th, 2023 in news, Service

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What would this print job cost? [Source: Fabbaloo]

We’ve updated our 3D print job calculator.

In our continued efforts to provide valuable tools to the 3D printing community, we’re thrilled to announce an update to our 3D print job calculator. This handy feature, launched last week, helps 3D printer operators estimate the cost of a print job, including potential profit.

This service is designed to address a common dilemma faced by anyone owning a desktop 3D printer. As soon as people discover you have a 3D printer, requests for print jobs start pouring in. The critical question, though, is “how much should I charge?”

Beyond Material Costs: A Comprehensive Approach to Pricing

Frequently, the answer is “nothing” simply because the operator lacks a clear basis for pricing. At other times, the calculation might merely account for the cost of materials, weighing grams against the price of filament.

However, this approach only scrapes the surface of the real costs involved. While it’s a part of the expense, it’s usually the smallest one. The most significant cost, often overlooked, is the human labor involved, leading to pricing that undervalues the true effort and resources required.

Aiming for a more comprehensive understanding of the cost, our calculator incorporates the critical factors that impact the price of a print job, even including an optional profit component.

Enhancements Informed by Industry Experts: Insights from 3DQue

The improvements we’ve made to our calculator were informed by a valuable discussion about job pricing with the knowledgeable team from 3DQue. As creators of software designed to manage large 3D printer farms, they have a deep understanding of the need to accurately price prints.

One notable change in our calculator is the recognition that the time spent preparing a print job is not repeated for each run – the ‘Slice Once, Print Many Times’ principle. This insight led us to split the job setup time into two components.

Our approach to calculating profit has also been revised. Instead of using the “margin” concept, which can be confusing for some, we’ve adopted a “markup” methodology. With this, you can add a specified markup to the actual job production cost to calculate your profit. Naturally, if you’re working at cost, this can be set to zero.

Understanding the Impact of Automation in 3D Printing

During our discussions with 3DQue, it became clear why they were particularly interested in our calculator: automation. Their products not only automate job dispatching but also job unloading with their specialized print plate.

An examination of a typical job cost breakdown shows that labor is usually the most significant component. For instance, a recent job I assessed with our calculator revealed that almost half the cost was attributable to tasks that could potentially be automated.

This revelation underscores why automation is becoming increasingly appealing to many 3D print farm operators.

Feel free to test out our newly updated 3D print job calculator.

Via 3DQue

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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