A while back I ran several test with 3Dhubs and found the the best way to stay (mostly) competitive was to charge $15/hr for my machine time with a 5 hour minimum. (Their curve didn’t appear to be linear, but more exponential with the curve starting off steep and then flattening out as you approached larger and larger jobs). I liked this hourly rate because its easy to quantify in QuickBooks, and if a customer needed finer resolution, the extra time appropriately added extra cost (even through the resin I used didn’t change)
However, with every software update, the estimated time in preform varies like crazy, and it rarely matches the ACTUAL build time, so its not a perfect system
So… how do you calculate YOUR costs to charge your customers? (by volume? Time? other?)
My business is small and simple so I started with per hour and is working fine. $15 per hour is about right.
That question is of the essence for all serious businesses.
And unfortunately, Formlabs sent a strong signal to business owners that they could not rely on them for sustained pricing practices when they tossed their workhorse ( the Form 2 ) and introduced an alpha machine to the market 2 years ago ( the form 3 ), putting lots of professional customers in trouble.
Two years ago, I would have told you:
Price of your machine + shipping / 3000 ( number of hours before the technology becomes obsolete )
Price of electricity for 300 W.h
Price of 3 sqft of your facility
800 USD /1000 ( one machine swap every 2 years )
Price of build platform re-seat ( CNC surfacing ) every 300 hours ( approx 30 USD/ 300 )
Volume of resin + shipping fees pro-rata
Price of the cartridge + shipping / 5 ( for all resins excepted Rigids and Grey Pro )
Price of IPA: about 1 liter per 300 hours if your printer is busy every day
Price of ultra-sonic cleaner of Form wash: variable
Price of UV curing form-cure or cheaper: variable
Here is an example of a cheaper chamber:
Interesting, I’ve never heard about platform re-seat I assume that there is a limit on this and it will affect z offset after doing it.